Modeled after ESPN’s 5-on-5, three of us will answer three questions about a Pistons-related topic. Please add your responses in the comments.
1. The All Star reserves will be announced tonight on TNT. The Pistons haven’t had an All Star since Allen Iverson in 2009. Is there any chance that changes this year?
Dan Feldman: Only Andre Drummond has the slightest chance, and I’d be very surprised if he’s selected. Since Drumond’s stock was relatively highest, Roy Hibbert, Chris Bosh and Joakim Noah have come around strong. Hibbert is a lock, and the other two will likely get more votes than Drummond, too.
Patrick Hayes: No chance. It’s a popularity contest where wins, name recognition and national TV appearances matter more than merit (and that goes for both fans and coaches making selections). The Pistons aren’t exactly doing well in those categories.
Tim Thielke: Definitely a chance, but I wouldn’t bank on it. Even in the East, there are 12 players more deserving than Drummond (the only realistic option in Detroit). But never count out the possibility of injuries forcing the pool to stretch a bit deeper.
2. Which Piston, if any, should be selected for the game this season?
Dan Feldman: Drummond. Hibbert, Bosh and Noah should snag the three backup frontcourt positions. If Kyle Lowry and John Wall are the backup guards, as they should be, Drummond should get one of the two wildcard slots. I’d take Drummond over Arron Afflalo, Lance Stephenson, Paul Millsap, DeMar DeRozan or any other contender.
Patrick Hayes: Drummond. He’s leading the league in total rebounding percentage, averaging a double-double and he’s even improved his free throw shooting this season (OK, so it’s only improved from 37 to 40 percent … but still, progress!). Drummond won’t make it because the Pistons continue to be their irrelevant selves, but he’s having a brilliant second season in the league and he’ll be a fixture in All-Star Games when his basketball IQ catches up to his immense physical talents.
Tim Thielke: If any, it’s obviously Drummond. He has easily been the best Piston this season. Should he be selected? Probably not, but he’s so much more fun than more worthy candidates like Noah.
3. They’re always a polarizing topic, but do All Star games serve a purpose in professional sports or are they just a simple popularity contest that yields a half-hearted game?
Dan Feldman: They should serve a purpose – honoring the NBA’s “best” players at that given moment. After that, let the players turn the game itself into whatever they want. The best measure of who’s had the best season, what many purport All-Star Game selections to be, are really All-NBA teams.
Patrick Hayes: Does anything in professional sports really serve a purpose? Let’s face it, following sports (and I’m as guilty as anyone) is an extreme waste of time that, more often than not, leads to misery. You watch for the handful of times in your lifetime that the teams you love provide incredible moments like the 2004 Pistons championship. Those moments are few and far between though. The rest of the time you’re spending time debating whether or not Mark West should start over Oliver Miller. I don’t like to label, but I would be highly suspicious that someone who is anti-All-Star Games is probably a fascist. Who doesn’t love blocks and dunks? Or even the occasional iconic moment (like Magic getting the MVP in 1992)? All-Star Games are light-hearted fun. Even the NFL Pro Bowl, by far the worst of all pro sports all-star games, occasionally provides you with highlights like this. Anyone who gets bent out of shape about an exhibition game meant for laid back enjoyment is way too into sports. Relax.
Tim Thielke: The fan vote tends to be a popularity contest, but rarely do you get some one egregiously voted in (it does happen, I know, I remember Iverson). By and large, it’s at least debatable that everyone who gets in is a top 30 player in the league at that point for that season. That’s why we use terms like “six time all-star” when discussing how good a player’s career was.