By Zagrieb Zano
The past few months have really shined with the WBA once again rising from the dead. The players of yesterday begin their swan song, as they look to enjoy the all-star weekend playing a little hoop and partying like its 1999. It is a celebration of the best talent on the planet, a treat for the fans. Who can forget the early years where players such as Boom-Boom Casey and Aaron Black dominated the court? Who has received the vote of the fans? Who will be snubbed, there are so many worthy players, that not every one of them can get the all-star love that they desperately want. And let’s not forget the added value a player has for being an all-star. It is a payday in the making. And what new super stars will emerge into the holy trinity that being an all-star allows them into.
As is common we will look at the western conference.
It’s the age old question, do you want a point guard who makes others better with great decision making and superb passing ability, or one that simply shoots the lights out. Regardless, there are few point guards that can match up with Bishop Stein. A legitimate MVP contender. 24.6 PPG 6.5 Assists and 5.8 rebounds a game. He is a nightmare to attempt to guard. He oozes all-star.
Parker Mason from Cancun has been a perennial all-star since he entered into the league. While his assists have gone down this season to 5.5. He is scoring over 23 points a game with an astounding 6.1 rebounds a game not to mention nearly 3 steals a game. His all-around game puts him into a league that Alaska Snow bears players dream about.
Charlie Meyers is a big reason why Gabon is one of the most dangerous teams in the league. Like the previously mentioned point guards, he is scoring well with just shy of 18 points a game. With 7.1 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists. He is just entering into the prime of his career, one that will pay him over 80 million as a corner stone for Gabon for years to come.
Colorado isn’t having the season they would have hoped, but their future looks bright. Mark Carr would be included in the all-star discussion, though he recently broke his leg that will keep him out a minimum of six weeks. But he is worth mentioning, as there is no other reason to mention the Pioneers.
Austyn Williams is the floor general of one of the best teams in the league. While he doesn’t score as much (14.5 points a game), he is arguably the best passer in the west. With over 7 assists a game and nearly 2 steals. He is a fan favorite both in Salt Lake and around the league.
Sticking with SLC, Eugene LaMaitre is no stranger to all-star games. Despite being 32, he is having one of his best seasons as a pro. Averaging 20.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2 assists and a steal in each contest this year. He isn’t a flashy player, as he fits the mold of the blue collar mold that the Fanatics pride themselves with.
Ahmed Doughtery is the 2nd part of Cancun’s terrific backcourt. 21.5 ppg, 6.5 rpb along with over 3 assists per game. He may not be the sexy pick, but he is good enough to be in the midseason classic. He is an emerging star in this league. He certainly has the contract of a star.
Sacramento’s Bobby Egan is having his best season as a pro. Nearly 18 points a game, 2.6 assists, 2.6 steals and 4.2 rebounds. He is their team leader, and being 30 years old, he may get the call for his first all-star game.
You don’t hear much about Harold Gil, but he has quietly been one of the most consistant guards in the league. He is having another solid season with Omaha. 16.1 ppg, 6 rpg, 2.8 apg and 1.9 steals. Will it be good enough to make the all-star bench?
Casey Pointer of the Mexico City Hellcats is proving to be one of those who takes over the mantle of prime time scorers. While some may scoff that his 21 points, 5 rebounds and almost 4 assists a game are surpases by some of the others on this list. Let’s keep in mind that Mexico right now is a very bad team. And anytime you can help your teams actually score when you are on a bad team, that has to be worth something. Casey could easily make his first all-star appearance. And if it happens this year, you will see his name there for the next 10 years in a row.
Sacramento’s beloved Samir Sheth could easily make another all-star game. His 24.6 ppg is third in the league for scoring among small forwards. He can rebound and do a little passing. He is the reason that Sacramento has a chance for making the playoffs
Zachariah Salera who was recently traded to Gabon, which is too bad because Budapest could have used the positive PR should he make the all-star team. His 19 points a game are solid, although that is about all he does, partially because of the struggles on being on the worst team of the league
Chad Archer may not make the all-star game, but he is a shoe in for most improved player. Last season averaging 4 points, 2 rebounds a game. He is the life blood for Las Vegas with 18.6 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists a game. At 24, he is going to be scary good, hence his max contract.
It’s a good thing the all-stars are not restricted to the top teams. 2nd year Small Forward Dan Kincaide of Arkansas is a border line also. 18 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists and a steal each game. He could be the core of this team in years to come. Are those impressive stats good enough to push him above the others?
Cordell Parks came into this league 7 years ago, and he has steadly improved. He has always been a border line all-star. He is known as a defensive small forward but he has quality become a very well rounded player. 20 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and almost 2 steals a game. Oddly enough this is the first season he has been a started. Will the fans vote him in for simply working for the nod and earning it?
Marquez Houston is the only SF in the west that is averaging a double double over 16 points 10 rebounds, 3.9 assists. Marquez does it all, while being in the shadow of Stein.
Mark Miller may not be scoring as much as he is used too, but he still continues to rebound and play defense. He is still managing to put up 14 points a game along with 8 rebounds, and 1.5 steals. This Sacramento
Chanticleers Fighting Cocks PF easily is worth consideration
Gabon’s John Devine has steadily ground into a premier power forward. This year is no different and he makes an argument as being the best power forward in the league. 24 points, nearly 10 rebounds a game. This is the first year he has gotten the starting nod. Nobody puts Devine in a corner.
Capetown very much has a team concept and as such their players don’t get a lot of GSPN highlights. Abdiel Gordon doesn’t ask to have his highlights shown. He demands it. With 22 points and 8 boards a game he has become the go to guy in Capetown when they need a score. He deserves to be in the all-star game if you ask me
Roy Base is all that is remaining of the once championship contending Sun Warriors. He continues to play well in only 33 minutes of action. 21.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, plus a block and steal each game. At this point in his career he is auditioning for a top tier team to get a championship. Making the all-star game could help with that promotion.
Simeon Hill, may be out scored by other centers putting in only 10 points a game but his 13 rebounds a game is unmatched. He is the only center in the league to average a double-double. Though the fact that he is not a scoring center per se may hurt him from consideration.
Jarrod Roe. Who? Admit it unless you’re a Gabon fan, you had no clue who this guy was. He is putting up 15 points and 6 boards a game. This third year player doesn’t ask for the spot light. But considering his salary is 1.5 million for the next 5 years, people will be calling it a crime when he dominates the league in 3 years.
Pat Stephenson who was recently revealed to be on the trade block, is averaging over 19 points and 9.8 rebounds a game. He is a defensive with 2 blocks a game. Some have said that he was over the hill. At 30 he has proven that he simply continues to get better every year.
Sacramento again shows up on the big board with John Van Horne. This former high lottery pick is still getting it down. With 12 points and 8 rebounds a game. And when was the last time a 7 foot man shot .920 from the free throw line.
While there are other players who deserve to be mentioned on this list. I have listed those that I believe are making the biggest splash. So my official prediction for starter and reserve.
1: Bishop Stein – Oregon
2: Charlie Meyers – Gabon
1: Casey Pointer – Mexico City
2: Eugene LaMaitre – SLC
1. Cordell Parks – SLC
2. Samier Sheth – Sacramento
1. John Devine – Gabon
2. Abdiel Gordon – Capetown
1. Pat Stephenson – Arkansas
2. Simeon Hill – Nebraska