NBA voters swing, miss on most All-Star Game starters
Published: January 26, 2014 12:06AM
Updated: January 25, 2014 11:41PM
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Steve Luhm

Baseball players who hit .400 are Hall of Famers.

All-Star voters who hit .400 should go back and try it again.

The Eastern and Western Conference starters for the NBA All-Star game were announced Thursday night and the group of 10 players included six who I would not have backed with my vote.

All are worthy, of course. All are great players.

But I would have voted differently.

Let’s start with the players who were accurately selected by the voters: LeBron James and Paul George in the East and Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry in the West.

No-brainers.

They are this year’s Fab Four.

The Beatles in sneakers.

Beyond James and George, the fans voted Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving into the Eastern Conference’s starting lineup.

Oops.

Despite Wade’s outstanding play for the two-time defending champion Heat, Anthony’s brilliant 62-point performance Friday night at Madison Square Garden and Irving’s emergence as one of the game’s most dynamic young stars, I had it differently.

I would have voted for Indiana’s Roy Hibbert instead of Anthony and point guards John Wall and Kyle Lowry instead of Wade and Irving.

Hibbert is being penalized for the goofy new voting system that eliminates center as a single position and, instead, lumps everybody together as “frontcourt” players.

This is silly.

Do baseball fans vote for “infielders” instead of position players? Does the NFL pick “secondary” players instead of cornerbacks and safeties?

It was a bad idea — one incoming commissioner Adam Silver needs to correct next year — which also played a role in the Western Conference voting.

Whether you like the way he has operated the last couple of years or not, Houston center Dwight Howard is having an All-Star season with the Rockets. He deserves to start for the Western Conference instead of Griffin or Love.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey thinks so, too.

On Twitter, he said, “NBA all-star voting process set up well for Iowa high school girls basketball. Offense only & only guards and forwards.”

Later, Morey added, “It’s a house election right now w/centers gerrymandered out.”

Nobody should argue with Morey, although my biggest problem with the voting in the West involves Bryant and Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge.

Kobe, of course, has been injured for all but six games this season.

As a revered veteran and one of the game’s all-time great players, he received nearly 890,000 votes for what he’s done in the past. But that’s a disservice to guards like James Harden, Tony Parker, Damian Lillard and even the currently-injured Chris Paul.

Among “frontcourt” players in the West, Aldridge was super-snubbed.

He averages 24.7 points and 11.6 points for Portland, which is 32-11 after being picked to miss the playoffs by almost everyone in the preseason.

While voting Love and Griffin as starters isn’t nearly as egregious as picking role-player Laker A.C. Green over Karl Malone in 1990, it was a defeat for deserving, small-market player who should finish among the top-five in this year’s MVP voting.

Three-point play

Durant doing it all for Thunder

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant is making sure his MVP race with LeBron James ends in a photo finish by doing everything for the Thunder, from scoring to rebounding to defense. “That’s what makes him a special player,” coach Scott Brooks said. “He does it all. He wants to be a complete player. He wants to be a two-way player. He wants to be a multi-dimensional offensive player. He doesn’t want to just score points.”

Spurs’ Parker has a big fan in Layden

Who is the best player in NBA history at getting to the basket, getting a shot off in traffic and finishing? Former Jazz coach, general manager and team president Frank Layden’s nominee is San Antonio point guard Tony Parker. “I don’t know if it’s the spin be can put on the ball or what,” Layden said. “But he’s the best I’ve ever seen. … He’s just unbelievable.” Parker averages 18.2 points and 6.3 assists. He should be an All-Star.

Love has love for Jazz fans

Speaking of the All-Star Game, Minnesota’s Kevin Love will be a starter for the first time in his career. In back-to-back wins over the Jazz last week, Love finished with 37 points, 26 rebounds and 13 assists. Before the Timberwolves’ 112-97 victory in Utah, Love had kind words for the fans at EnergySolutions Arena: “They’re great. They’re right on top of you. The fan base is good. They’re always talking trash. … It’s a very tough play to play because of that.”