The reserves for the 2013 All-Star game will be announced on Thursday, and just as always, there's an ongoing debate over who should get the last few roster spots on both the Eastern and Western Conference teams.
Grantland.com's Zach Lowe put together
his "If I Were Selecting The All-Star Teams" list and LaMarus Aldridge makes the cut, despite some fierce competition.
That leaves Lee, Randolph, and Aldridge for two spots. All three rank as average or worse defenders, and Lee is probably at the bottom, even though he's worked harder on that end — and on the boards — this season. He's always going to be undersized and slow, with a short wingspan that limits his ability to protect the rim and contest shots in the post; opponents have shot a robust 48 percent against him in post-ups this season, per Synergy Sports, and the Warriors often have to send him help.
The Blazers don't have to send Aldridge help, and his head-to-head assignments are just 20-of-70 against him in the post, per Synergy. Aldridge's defense has probably regressed or plateaued since his breakout 2010-11 season, but he's still pretty quick, comfortable defending the pick-and-roll in several different ways, and tall/long enough to be a factor down low even when his effort and positioning wane.
Aldridge's jumper-happy start to the season hurt his efficiency, but he has found a bit more balance in his shot selection during the last month or so as he and Terry Stotts develop their player-coach chemistry. Aldridge can be a Randolph-style post bulwark when he wants to be, and he's shooting only two percentage points worse than Z-Bo for the season. He's a better/longer defender in space, though not in Randolph's league on the glass.
Basically: This is an impossible choice. But since I have to make one, I'll reward Lee for his 52 percent shooting — easily the best among three offense-first players — and ability to work as an efficient cog in just about every way the Warriors' offensive system could ask. Aldridge gets the nod over Randolph for working as the clear no. 1 guy on his team, even if Damian Lillard has seized that mantle in crunch time. But if you want Randolph, that's absolutely fine.
Exactly. Lost every year in the arguing about who should make the All-Star teams is the fact that there are plenty of deserving players, but only 12 roster spots. Aldridge, Lee and Randolph are all worthy of the honor, but there's no way all three get in. In the end, it comes down to preferences of the individual voters, though this year, I wouldn't be surprised if one or two coaches employed a coin flip to make the final call.
And for the record, Lowe also lists Nicolas Batum on his "other tough omissions" list.