The All-Star Game is an exhibition – a time for fans to enjoy the league’s top talents on the same floor and players and coaches to get a much-needed respite from the regular season grind. As a result, All-out effort and in-game strategy will be understandably fleeting on Sunday night. Steve Kerr won’t be chastising Steph Curry for failing to navigate ball-screens, basically. But the Golden State Warriors and Western Conference All-Star coach still had a major decision to levy concerning this weekend’s main event, and Blake Griffin’s sudden elbow surgery made it far, far easier. At his team’s shootaround yesterday before its 94-91 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kerr said that Klay Thompson would join Curry and James Harden as starters on the Western Conference perimeter.
There was much speculation regarding Kerr’s chosen opening five once it was revealed that fan-voted starter Kobe Bryant would miss the remainder of 2014-2015 with a torn rotator cuff. Would the Warriors head man reward Harden, perhaps the frontrunning MVP candidate? Or Thompson, his league-leading team’s rising star and second-best player?
Griffin’s staph infection ensured he didn’t have to choose at all. A backcourt of Curry, Harden, and Thompson? Talk about firepower.
Given Anthony Davis’ recently announced absence, though, Kerr will be forced to name another starter. As was his prospective decision between Harden and Thompson, there’s no wrong answer here – each remaining Western Conference All-Star is deserving of a starting spot. Considering his legendary career, excellent season, and status as the event’s older player, though, we’d love to see Kerr opt for Tim Duncan alongside Marc Gasol at tip-off.
But this is semantics. Every All-Star won’t only play, but will largely be afforded the minutes they prefer until the game’s waning moments when players buckle down, rotations shorten, and coaches actually strategize. Like during regular games, what really matters is who’s on the court then – not 47 minutes prior.
What do you think?
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