With Yao Ming out for the season to recover from foot surgery and Shaquille O'Neal being traded out of the Western Conference to Cleveland, who is likely to be voted as the starting center for the western conference all star starting lineup? (Above photo from JoshqPublic).
2005 All Star West Center Voting:
- Yao Ming - Hou - 2,558,278
- Brad Miller - Sac - 429,413
- Marcus Camby - Den - 313,214
- Yao Ming - Hou - 2,342,738
- Marcus Camby - Den - 859,086
- Mehmet Okur - Utah - 494,261
- Yao Ming - Hou - 2,451,718
- Amaré Stoudemire - Pho - 1,209,333
- Erick Dampier - Dal - 385,179
- Yao Ming - Hou - 1,709,180
- Amaré Stoudemire - Phx - 998,969
- Marcus Camby - Den - 412,563
- Yao Ming - Hou - 2,532,958
- Shaquille O'neal - Phx - 1,850,018
- Andrew Bynum - LAL - 549,131
- Mehmet Okur - Utah - 437,106
- Greg Oden - Por - 359,318
- Andris Biedrins - GS - 357,984
- Al Jefferson - Minn - 310,643
- Tyson Chandler - NO - 242,356
- Chris Kaman - 231,928
- Marcus Camby - 158,491
Nene Hilario (Den), Al Jefferson and Kevin Love (Minn), Greg Oden and Lamarcus Aldrich (Por), Mehmet Okur (Utah), Andris Biedrins (GS), Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol (LAL), Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby (LAC), Amaré Stoudemire (Phx), Erick Dampier (Dal), Luis Scola (Hou), Emeka Okafor (NO), Tim Duncan (SA)
2009 All Star BALLOT for Centers (who you were allowed to vote for at Center):
Andris Biedrins, Golden State; Andrew Bynum, LA Lakers; Marcus Camby, LA Clippers;
PROBABLE 2010 ALL STAR BALLOT FOR WEST CENTERS:
Nene Hilario (Den), Al Jefferson (Minn), Greg Oden (Por), Mehmet Okur (Utah), Andris Biedrins (GS), Andrew Bynum (LAL), Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby (LAC), Amaré Stoudemire (Phx), Erick Dampier (Dal), Luis Scola (Hou), Emeka Okafor (NO)
Read between the baselines:
Well Yao Ming sure brings in the votes with well over 2 million almost every year, he now won't even suit up this season or be on the all star ballot due to his foot injury sustained in the playoffs against the Lakers. Based on the 2009 voting and who is probably going to be C eligible for the all star game, the top candidates for the Yao replacement is Amaré Stoudemire (unless the Suns find a replacement for Shaq. Listed as a forward at 2009 ballot), and Andrew Bynum (3rd in voting behind Shaq and Yao last year).
Amare, a 4 time NBA All Star, was a starting F for the 2009 all star game after averaging 21.4 pts, 8.1 reb, 2 ast, a steal and a block and before having surgery on his eye that took him out of the rest of the season. Those are all star numbers and he's exciting to watch and popular among fans. The all star starters are VOTED in by FANS. That's something to keep in mind because sometimes, the more popular player gets voted in over a better player who may be more deserving of the all star spot.
The Suns, however did take a step backward last season and didn't make the playoffs. Trading Shaq away and resigning Nash could possibly make the Suns more of the run and gun team we saw in the pre shaq seasons. From those days though, the Suns are minus Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, and Joe Johnson. They now have Leandro Barbosa, Nash and Amaré joined by Grant Hill, Jason Richardson, Robin Lopez, and Earl Clark. If they get back to their run and gun offense, Amaré's numbers could jump back to 25 pts and 9 rebounds shooting 59% FG he averaged in 2007-2008. If he's on the ballot as a C, and has a good year like he had before Shaq came, he has more than a good chance at getting the West starting C nod.
Case for Bynum
(Photo from Andrew-Bynum.net)
Again, Bynum was third in voting behind the 2 guys that won't be on the ballot this year. Before wrecking his knee again against the Grizzlies (again), Bynum had scored in double figures 12 straight games, including a 42 point career high against the Clippers. Of those 12 straight games, he had double figures in rebounds in six of them including at least 14 in four of those six. Then he got injured at the end of January, a few weeks before the all star game. When he came back, he was worked slowly back into the rotation and had a sub par playoffs where he couldn't get any time on the floor due to foul trouble.
In the 2007-2008 season before he got injured for the first time, he scored in double figures in 16 times out of 18 games before he wrecked his knee in the middle of January. In those 18 games, he got double figure rebounds 10 times and 9 rebounds 4 times. For that season, which lasted 35 games for him, he was AVERAGING a double double at 13.1 pts and 10.2 reb.
If he gets back to form and that knee finally is at 100%, he can probably get back to averaging a double double and having a shot at the starting west C position come all-star weekend. As stated, the fans vote for the starting lineup and the Lakers will have a lot of air time on TV for all fans to see. After winning the championship and getting Ron Artest and Lamar Odom, the Lakers could have the best record in basketball with Bynum getting a lot of attention from the media and fans. The Lakers will be a great team and Kobe and Pau could be considered locks to make the all star team (Kobe starting, Pau probably a reserve). If Bynum can put up his pre knee injury numbers, he could definitely make the team and possibly be voted in to the starting lineup by the fans.
Other players who could get it are Nene Hilario who was 2nd in the the league in FG% and has some flash and flare with his energy and slam dunks, Mehmet Okur who has been an all star reserve, averaged 17 points last year and can shoot the 3 pointer, and Al Jefferson, who before his injury, averaged 23 points and 11 rebounds (!) but plays in Minnesota where the Wolves don't win a lot of games and aren't as popular league wise as the Lakers or the Suns are.
The showdown for the All Star west center started when it was announced Yao was out for the season.
Those are the facts, and that's one way to read between the [base]lines.