VOICE OF THE VOICELESS – ALL-STAR VOTING WITH WES

Nothing like voting for the All-Star participants approximately two weeks after the season has started. It’s a bit tough to build a resume or make a case for yourself in such a short stretch of time, particularly coming off of a labor stoppage and all that. With that in mind, this year’s game stands to be the product of a popularity contest even more than it usually is, so I just decided to vote for guys based on a unique of set of fluctuating criteria. What the hell – to the picks…

THE WESTERN CONFERENCE

 Forward: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland

– Nevermind the fact that he keeps getting better and is a holy terror for big guys to handle. Forget that he out-finesses the finesse guys and responds to attempted bullying from the likes of Kendrick Perkins by dropping 30. Simply put, Aldridge is better than Kevin Love and it was somewhat of a robbery when Love was selected over L.A. last year. That can’t happen this year. Speaking of Love…

 Forward: Gerald Wallace, Portland

– … I’m not voting for Kevin Love. I’d rather see a guy like Wallace, a dynamic whirlwind of a player who looks cool and has the deepest voice in the NBA, than Mr. Pick-and-Pop, worthless-stat-accumulator-on-a-garbage-team. I don’t even feel as strongly as Hathwell about Love, either. I think he’s a good player, but to me, he’s kinda like the decent-looking fella who goes out and beds a bunch of broads that frequent Buck’s Bar & Grill. Like, “… have you seen these girls?” I was always more impressed with quality, but if you must take that quantity approach, the small pond pull isn’t a good look. Again, don’t get Rubio’d into thinking that Minnesota ain’t still trash – put CRASH out there.

 Guards: Steve Nash, Phoenix; Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

– This is the all-heart, all-willpower backcourt. Both guys are beyond broken, and still playing at a high level (to say the least). Nash is about as refreshing of a player as you’ll find. To hear him express his desire to stay in Phoenix for the city, his fans, and his teammates is a nice change of pace from the Lebrons of the world (not that it isn’t somebody’s right to leave and go where they want, but still). Additionally, make no mistake about it: without Nash, the Suns go nowhere.

 As for Kobe, hate all you want (and I do), but what he’s doing is nothing short of amazing. That’s a word that gets thrown around way too often, but it’s more than appropriate in this case. He’s still an elite player despite a set of injuries that would likely spell the beginning of the end of CAREERS for most players, as well as doing so on a team that is full of holes.

 So, that’s my backcourt. I love Chris Paul, but I had heard enough about him before the season even started.

 Center: Al Jefferson, Utah

– Big Al, 25, got assaulted by his girlfriend, 38, a few weeks back. He also plays in the disoriented hell known as Utah. I’m trying to give him something to feel good about.

THE EASTERN CONFERENCE

 Forward: Chris Bosh, Miami

– I figured I basically had to vote for somebody from the best team in the league, and I sure as hell won’t vote for either Paris or Nikki, so I went with Bosh. I like Bosh, I think he’s better than given credit for, and he speaks outside of cliches and disingenuous ramblings. I’ve said it all before, and it hasn’t changed.

 Forward: Corey Maggette, Charlotte

– Leader of the Bobcats, right?! I mean, how could you not? I even used NBA.com’s little Twitter app to tell the whole world about it.

 Guard: Derrick Rose, Chicago

– Not much needs to be said.

 Guard: Jason Richardson, Orlando

– J-Rich has sort of sucked this year, but I just wanted to see what it would have been like to have a backcourt of D-Rose and J-Rich, as opposed to the already-hurt Rip Hamilton.

 Center: Greg Monroe, Detroit

– Not voting for Dwight. Not going the oft-traveled Roy Hibbert route. Monroe shows good potential and passes well, so there it is.

 Optional Write-In Vote: Al Harrington, Denver

– Al Harrington gets buckets. I just have loved his play and his demeanor out there. Also, I love the headband. In one of the first few games of the year, Al hit a three in front of Denver’s bench as time was running out in the first quarter. He held the hand up, and then did this sweet, MJ-like kick in front of the bench, proceeding to high-five Ty Lawson (who was on the bench) after that. Keep in mind, a couple of seconds remained on the clock and he probably should have been getting back on defense, but whatever. Also, Hathwell hit me with this story the other night:

“… I was sitting next to him when he signed his new contract (with Denver). We were at Summer League and he answered his phone. Few minutes later, he hung up and looked at his boy and said, ‘yeah boy, 5 years, 30-mil…,’ and they knuckle-touched…”

 So you better believe I’m voting for Al. If I could write-in the entire Nuggets squad, I would. They’re easily my favorite team in the league to watch, for certain. In addition to the lethally-deep roster, full of interchangeable yet effective parts, we’re now getting crazy, Fernandez-to-Faried lobs. Hell, I even think Kosta Koufus is prime-time baller.

 You can vote for your favorites, once a day, at NBA.com. I doubt I’ll change these picks, unless Lou Williams becomes a voting option.

– Wes Lilliman

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