Fast approaching is the midseason spectacle that signifies the halfway point of the season for most NBA teams. There will be many events held with the intention of electrifying NBA fans while showcasing the best talent the NBA has to offer.
The three-point competition, rookie vs sophomore game, skills challenge and slam dunk contest are a few of these.
But only one pits the best of the Eastern and Western Conferences at odds for annual bragging rights.
The All-Star Game. Which brings me to my point.
Blake Griffin deserves to be an All-Star.
This is something that some may consider to be an opinion, a personal preference, or point of view.
It is none of these.
It is a fact.
There are several things that stand in the way of Griffin's name being listed on that list of 12 players that will represent the Western Conference. Some of those things are players, some are positional talent imbalances in the NBA. Some are ideals.
All of them should be put to the side in favor of this phenomenal talent representing his team and conference in this year's addition of the All-Star game.
Without a doubt, the forward position is by far the deepest in the NBA.
There are a select few elite guards—Rondo, Rose, Kobe, Wade, Nash, Williams, Paul.
Several stand out as second-tier. Names like Tyreke Evans, Chauncey Billups, Jason Kidd, Eric Gordon, Ray Allen, Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, etc. come to mind. These players are very talented, but for the most part, the upper echelon of guards has a clear, definable line between themselves and those of lesser quality.
The center position is even more thin. It could be said that Dwight Howard is the only true elite center left in the game today.
Several are good, but certainly not great. Names like Shaquille O'Neal, Tyson Chandler, Andrew Bynum, Brook Lopez, etc are dependable big men who can get the job done, but I don't know anyone who would call them elite. Often it is a challenge to even find a suitable all-star reserve for the two conferences...not so at the forward position.
The forward position is an absolute logjam of dynamic talent.
Amare Stoudemire, Paul Pierce, LeBron James, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Josh Smith, Kevin Garnett, Danny Granger, Gerald Wallace and Andre Iguodala are all players that could garner all-star nods.
And if you didn't notice, that's just the Eastern Conference.
But don't let that fool you. Griffin has his work cut out for him fighting for a forward spot on the Western squad as well.
He's fighting for votes against an NBA scoring leader in Kevin Durant. Back-to-back champions in Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom. An MVP candidate in Dirk Nowitzki. A coveted soon-to-be free agent (maybe) in Carmelo Anthony. The NBA's leading rebounder and double-double machine, Kevin Love. Not to mention names like Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge, Luis Scola, Rudy Gay, David West and Paul Millsap.
Oh...and there's also the greatest power forward in NBA history to contend with in Tim Duncan.
Added together, they make for a formidable bunch to overcome, to say the least. The fact that Griffin is a rookie makes the feat even more arduous.
What also complicates the situation is that the Clippers, as a team, started off the season so terribly.
At the close of November, their record stood at a dismal 3-15. Since then, they are a respectable 10-9, a .526 winning percentage which would, at this very moment, be good for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.
There is a school of thought that all-stars must come from winning teams, and if the majority of coaches subscribe to this way of thinking, it may end up being the biggest hurdle towards Griffin's bid to be selected.
Griffin has the talent, drive and right attitude to be an ambassador to the NBA world on the Clippers' behalf. He also has enough highlights in the first half of his rookie season to shame some players' entire career reels.
This may not, in the end, be enough to get him the nod in his first year. And that's unfortunate but understandable.
He may or may not be chosen as an all-star this year, but the NBA, like it or not, has had to take notice for he is truly a once-in-a-generation talent.
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