The Blanched and the Bristling
All-Star reserves are in, and I have a few sanguine thoughts on the subject. Most notably, wow there are a lot of All-Stars in this league. This does kind of go back to the never-ending MVP question—i.e., what exactly defines an MVP—and we spent a lot of time on it in the wake of Piston-gate '05. But if you go by that old smut criterion, there really aren't enough spots for all the guys who strike me as having that kind of season.
It's not just that the omissions are tight calls; some of them, like Melo, Randolph, Camby, Howard, and Joe Johnson, are plainly inconscienable. I honestly don't know how much better of a year these three could have, and without a clear definition of "All-Star" there's no way that this kind of snub won't smack of mismanagement. Like Arenas last season, these undermine the integrity of the honor, and reduce it to something semi-arbitrary. And don't give me that injury replacement line; it only quickens the insult.
The preempt: no shit Melo got suspended. Last I heard, though, the coaches of the West were banding together to get him on the team. The fuck happened with that one? Did someone get to them? Did they worry about what it would mean for their image to stand up for the Association's great human? I've meant to say this before, and here it comes out for the first time: no player embodies the cycle of fall and redemption like Melo, and no public figure has ever made me fathom mundane Christianity like he. The world relates to him not because he's a role model, or because he's an Iverson-like outlaw, but exactly because his peaks and valleys are almost uncomfortably familiar. Anthony will never fully cross over to the dark side or be coopted by the foamy authorities; his entire usefulness to the NBA's public face rests in this muddled—not conflicted—radiance.
And one more thing: holding injury against Redd is just bullshit, at least when the fans can voted in players who have been on the shelf for months. It seems more like an excuse for excluding the league's least interesting star; I don't see anyone arguing that Iverson's banishment and limbo would count against his chances. Or Amare's halting start.
Plan for action: let the fans vote on the Dunk Contest. Then we wouldn't end up with dead weight starters that the coaches have to scramble to correct.