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Friday, January 22nd, 2010 at 2:28 pm  |  44 responses

Links: My All-Star Teams

Plus, my apology to Vikings fans!

by Lang Whitaker

Before we get to my All-Star selections, a few other things first…

• Just finished a new issue of SLAM about 2 hours ago. Another dope, dope cover. Somehow we keep outdoing ourselves. I think that’s all I can say about it for now. More in a week or so.

• If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you should. Yesterday I tweeted upon the arrival of a box from Li-Ning, the Chinese shoe company, which sent me a pair of signature shoes from Jose Calderon and Baron Davis. The Baron shoes are particularly fresh. A bunch of people on Twitter were asking me how to get a pair. Well, here’s how you do it.

• Here’s this week’s Internet segment of The Beat from NBA TV. I managed to work in a shoutout to The Air Up There (the streetballer, not the movie).

• Last weekend, Wifey was out of town at the Golden Globe Awards for her job, so I spent the entire long weekend sitting on the couch, writing (my book is due March 1) and watching TV. And sometimes doing both at the same time.

On Sunday I was watching the Vikings/Cowboys game, mostly because it’s always funny to watch Tony Romo play terribly in a big game. At one point the Fox cameras cut to a shot of Prince in one of the luxury boxes. Which was amusing because it was Prince at an NFL playoff game, which is kind of like your grandmother going to a strip club or something equally non analogous.

I immediately tweeted that Prince should write a fight song for the Vikings to use during the playoffs, you know, in the great tradition of “The Super Bowl Shuffle” or “The Dirty Bird.” Those were really novelty songs, but imagine what Prince, one of the great music minds of all-time, might do if he wrote an NFL fight song?

My tweet got re-tweeted a bunch, and then the idea I spawned got picked up by a Minnesota website. Apparently people started talking about this idea in Minnesota, and then, last night, the unthinkable happened: It was announced that Prince had written a Vikings fight song! Myles Brown, our man in Minneapolis, emailed me that this was actually happening. I told Myles that the Vikings should bring me in to New Orleans for the game against the Saints this weekend — perhaps I will have more amazing ideas that could help the team — although I allowed that I really didn’t care that much about it. As Myles said: “Yeah, it probably won’t happen. But even if the song is bad, technically you inspired PRINCE. PRINCE!”

I’m not so sure about that; I don’t think Prince follows me on Twitter. And in an email, I told Myles that if the song was terrible, I wanted no credit for it. Well, the song was debuted on the news in Minneapolis last night and…well…listen for yourself…

I’m not sure what happened, but Prince obviously didn’t get what a fight song is supposed to be. The flutes, the choir of voices, the general medieval feeling of the song — Prince may have written this song for actual Vikings. I apologized causing this to former SLAM Ed. Tony Gervino, who is a die-hard Vikings fan. Tony wondered if perhaps the song was actually written by Prince Andrew. To me it sounds as if it should be performed by people in jester costumes. Or people at a Renaissance fair.

Honestly, though, I can’t stop listening to it because it just might be a Best Thing Ever. It makes me laugh every time I hear it. Imagine the Vikings sprinting out onto the field with that playing. L. O. L.

So, I’m sorry Vikings fans. I didn’t mean to cause you grief. Maybe Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis can remix it. Or Morris Day. Either way, I am now cheering for the Vikings to win, just so we can keep talking about this song for the next two weeks until the Superbowl.

• In better music news, the other night, SLAM contributor Bonsu Thompson invited me out to a screening of a documentary called Still Bill, a biopic about Bill Withers. If you don’t about Bill Withers, he recorded some of the biggest songs of the ‘70s and early ‘80s (“Lean On Me,” “Just The Two Of Us,” “Ain’t No Sunshine”), but he hasn’t released an album or performed live in about 20 years. This documentary tries to get to the bottom of why he dropped off the face of the music map.

Check the preview:

Still Bill Trailer from B-Side Entertainment on Vimeo.

Still Bill is coming out on DVD in a few months, and I highly recommend it.

• The All-Star starters were announced last night, and people are all already angry about Allen Iverson being named a starter. But why? Allen Iverson may not be the player he once was, but he is still a star, one of the biggest stars in the League. If anyone is an All-Star, Allen Iverson is an All-Star.

So, considering the starters are now set in stone (unless there’s an injury), here are my picks for the All-Star reserves…

EASTERN CONFERENCE
STARTERS
Allen Iverson
Dwyane Wade
LeBron James
Kevin Garnett
Dwight Howard

I guess there’s a chance that KG won’t be healthy for the game, in which case I think Chris Bosh would/should start for him. Either way, Bosh is one of my seven reserves.

Either way, you want two back-up guards, and I’m going with Rajon Rondo and Joe Johnson, both amazing players on great teams. For two back-up forwards, I think you have to go with Gerald Wallace (18 and 11!) and Bosh. For a back-up center, in my mind it’s either David Lee or Al Horford. Lee is averaging 19 and 11, while Horford is averaging just 13.7 and 10 (on about half the touches Lee gets on offense). Either way, I’m going with David Lee.

That leaves room for two more players, and I’m taking Josh Smith and Derrick Rose. The main guy getting screwed here would be Paul Pierce, but the Hawks are basically even with Boston in the standings and are 3-0 against them this season — again, it’s not a rivalry, though. And I don’t think the Celts deserve to have 3 players and Atlanta only 1. I would probably pick Mo Williams over Rose, but he’s out for a month with a bad shoulder. So no Mo. The other Eastern Conference power that gets screwed is Orlando, with just one player, but . The only other player who I think could be considered deserving is Antawn Jamison. He’s averaging 22 points per, but he’s doing it on a horrible team, which to me isn’t that impressive. Also, he’s boring.

BTW, there’s a very real chance that Mike Woodson could end up coaching the Eastern Conference All-Star team, which could be another Best Thing Ever. Mike Brown’s Cavs have the best record, but there’s a rule a coach can’t coach in back-to-back All-Star games. And the Hawks and Celts are basically tied for second-best record in the East right now. I’m not sure I can appropriately  process this if it were to happen. Would Woody only play 8 guys? Would he get upset about the team’s defense? Would he get into an argument with Josh Smith if he makes the team? Would Woody get a T? Would Joe Johnson log 40 minutes?

Looking further, I think the possibility of Woody ending up as coach is pretty remote. The coach is picked based on their team’s records as of January 31. Right now the Hawks are 27-14, but between now and Jan. 31, they have games at home against the BETcats and the Celtics, and on the road at San Antonio and at Houston. The Celts are currently 27-13, and between now and the 31st they host the Clippers then have a back-to-back at Orlando and at Atlanta. What if that Hawks/Celts game next Friday decides who gets to coach the Eastern Conference All-Star team?

Anyway, with my roster, the East has at least one All-Star from each of the top eight teams, and 9 of the top 10 teams. And imagine if the ran a lineup of Rose, Wade, Wallace, Smoove and Bron?

WESTERN CONFERENCE
STARTERS
Kobe Bryant
Steve Nash
Carmelo Anthony
Tim Duncan
Amare Stoudemire

It’s hard to argue with any of these starters, although Mark Cuban did, tweeting after the starting line-ups were announced that because Dirk didn’t make the starting line-up, we need to change the way starters are elected. Um, sorry, but no. I assume Mark wants Dirk in over Duncan, but as long as the greatest power forward in the history of basketball is playing, even if he is playing mostly center these days, I will vote for him over any other power forwards.

Anyway, Dirk is a lock to be a reserve, and I’m picking him and Kevin Durant as my two back-up forwards. My reserve guards are Brandon Roy (leading the 26-17 Blazers in PPG and APG) and Chris Paul. Paul just missed getting voted in, leads the NBA in assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio, and has the Hornets 3 games over .500 despite the team literally giving away players to get under the luxury tax).

For a reserve center, I’m sorry Pau Gasol, but I’m going with Chris Kaman. Kaman is averaging 20 and 9 and has played 38 games. Gasol is averaging 17 and 11 and has played in 25 games. Kaman will be much more fun on interview day, and if the NBA is concerned with getting more foreign guys on the team to increase worldwide appeal, well, Kaman joined the German national team a few years ago.

We need two more players to round out this team, and I think Zach Randolph deserves a slot. Zach is going at a 20 and 11 clip, and he’s got the Grizz playing over .500. To me, the last slot comes down to Gasol, Billups or Deron Williams, and I’ll go with Deron. His 19 and 9 are tough to ignore, and to me, Pau and Chauncey don’t make my roster because their teams are already represented.

So, my Western team has a player from 9 of the top 10 teams, just like my Eastern team. I know there are deserving guys who I did not choose. Hopefully I did not hurt their feelings.

• That’s it. Fri-Day! Yes! Have a great weekend everyone and catch you all next week…

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  • http://slamonline.com Mo Money Bizzes

    A few things before I get to my All-Star talk:
    –Thanks for telling me I have to follow you on Twitter. That’s some shameless, baseless selfpromotion; I unfollowed you immediately.
    –I’m pretty sure the Prince thing was in the works before you tweeted anything about it. Flatter yourself much?
    –And funnily enough, I just saw Bill Withers with the USC football on ESPN about 3 months ago. They adapted Lean on Me as their team song.
    –ASG picks sucked.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    That might be my favorite comment of the week.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    I dont honestly think that Lang inspired Prince. But apparently the girls choir at mother McAuley did.

  • Brian

    Kevin McHale is playing in the ASG?

  • Hangtime Hec

    Mo Money Bizzes, may just be my favorite commenter period.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Th3_R3al_Chris

    With Mo Williams out and the Cavs challenging Lakers for league’s best record, does Shaq make the team again, despite his drop in production (i.e. drop in minutes)?

  • http://www.humanhighlightblog.com/ THHB

    I like how MMB started his riff with “before I get to my AS talk” and then his AS talk was that the picks sucked.

    I’m still laughing—

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Im loving this. Wallace being an all-star plus Lang’s usual great writting = fantastic read. Plus the first semester ends today for me, so i am having a real good day thus far.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Th3_R3al_Chris Th3_R3al_Chris

    I’m naming my first born, boy or girl, Mo Money Bizzes.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    See THHB, that comment made you less angry about me not picking Horford.

  • http://www.yahoo.com Logues

    wait, so theres gonna be a new SLAM ish already in the next couple weeks?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Good stuff, Lang. Logues, we have had a new issue every 4-5 weeks for the last five years or so.

  • Bruno

    I saw that segment from the beat last tuesday and I hope David Stern was watchin that too so next year they follow your idea for the dunk contest

  • http://www.humanhighlightblog.com/ THHB

    That’s true, Lang. MMB is a healer.

  • http://www.twitter.com/NotebookNick thesubwayconnection

    Hilarious. And I don’t agree with Mo Williams being an All-Star, or Amare Stoudemire being a center.

  • http://www.boogiewillaims.com Boing Dynasty

    ^Well its not Channing Frye…

  • http://slamonline.com Sandy Dover

    I love Prince. This is hilarious. Thank you, Lang.

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    love your picks lang, except derrick rose, maybe. him or josh smith will be left off for pierce, you know its going to happen. i would love to see smoove in the big game, oh the dunks!

  • http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    Now if we can just get one of the contestants on American Idol to audition with that song … I know, it’s already been recorded, but I’m just sayin … it would be awesome.

  • http://fjkld.com Jukai

    No Carter or Gasol? Gotta disagree Lang.

  • TONEY BLARE

    Crazy, since your new, dressy clothes have been inspired by Prince. Seems like you’re even.

  • Kendo

    So you get to hang around pro athletes and your wife gets to hang out with actors? That must make for some interesting dinner talk.

  • serevei

    Question: Bogut?

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    BOGUT!

  • Jose

    SHAQ!lol

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    One more time: BOGUT!!!

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Damn, MMB let Lang have it. Funny stuff. Speaking of funny stuff, this part of the article slays me each time i read it: “The flutes, the choir of voices, the general medieval feeling of the song — Prince may have written this song for actual Vikings.” nice. Oh and, Lango…. Cubes was right, Dirk was freaking robbed, greatest PF of all bla bla is producing, sure, but getting DNP’s on back to backs… THAT’S better than the only player on In Texas having an MVP-like season. Puhleeze.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    TRACY MCGRADY USED TO BE SO GOOD! WHAT HAPPENED?!

  • http://sportzin.com Joey E.

    Stephen Jackson deserves some serious consideration. I’m not hoping anyone gets hurt, but I hope if there needs to be a replacement, he gets the nod.

  • David

    It’s not all star weekend without Shaq.

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com The Hoopistani

    wtf is up with that song?…hahahahahah

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ Tariqُُ

    Nice picks, Lang. I agree with all of them, pretty much. I do think, however, that the all-star process should be changed. That way we could vote Kaman in as a starter, have Zach as the reserve “center,” and then sneak Aaron Brooks in as one of those two extra players to round out the team. Actually, I may have picked Brooks ahead of Randolph.

  • serevei

    no but seriously how can a player which is third best on a team ,horford, getting not that amazing numbers be picked of Bogut?

  • serevei

    *instead of

  • http://www.another48minutes.com Gerard Himself

    I need to see that Still Bill doc

  • http://www.slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Actually, Bogut (15/10) and Horford’s (14/10) numbers are nearly identical. Horford shoots a much better percentage, though.

  • therighttoremainsalient

    Your allstar teams need to essentially be ‘personalities’, funny guys that can give a decent quote (thats why Kaman, Nash, Scalabrine and A.I. get in: With the centres, Bogut wins hand down, Al Horford looks like he’s just going to flitter his babyfaced-eyelashes at everyone. Bogut is straight up Shelden Cooper out there.

  • therighttoremainsalient

    Rasheed wallace, stepheh Jackson and Brad Miller should also be there.

  • Jon

    @Lang Whitaker

    Finally someone with some sense. I agree with almost all your picks except Rose.

  • serevei

    @Lang Whitaker … Lets not forget he is also averaging 1 more block per game too… and is playing slightly less

  • serevei

    and 8% aignt that much when you consider how much more bogut does for the team…

  • http://IdontthinktheLakersneedanymorescoring.whattheyneedisacenterthatfillsinalltheintangibles.AcenterlikeNoahwouldbeperfectforthelakersbecausehewoulddoallofthedirtyworkthatGasolOdomdontwanttobeaparto drock

    Derrick Rose deserves to be an All Star. He’s averaging almost 24 points 6 assists and 5 boards since December. One NBA player of the week award and wins over Orlando, Boston, Houston, and Atlanta in recent weeks. Its not about how you start, its how you finish headind into the break. I also forgot he completely dominated Steve Nash in their recent matchup. Any team that loses by 50 points does not deserve an All Star(David Lee)

  • http://250aspirin.blogspot.com DJ Leon Smith

    Horford over Bogut as an all-star this season is as preposterous as Horford over Durant for ROY.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    nice Lang, you missed just 1 each on both teams.

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