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Anti-All-Stars: Eastern Conference

US Presswire

US Presswire


 
The past few seasons here at Hickory-High I’ve handed out a slew of ‘Anti-Awards‘ at the end of each season, recognizing some of the least productive and discouraging statistical achievements. We’ll be taking a look at early favorites for those Anti-Awards on Thursday, but today and tomorrow we’ve decided to widen our channel of snarky negativity. In the spirit of the Anti-Awards, and with an eye towards this weekend’s All-Star festivities, the staff of Hickory-High has made selections for an Anti-All-Team.

The criteria for being chosen was left up to each individual writer. Some players were chosen for a frustrating lack of positive production. Others were chosen because they in some way represent the opposite of the All-Star ideal. There are bad players, disappointing players, oddities, and those with a style of play that is aesthetically repulsive. There were many worthy candidates and winnowing them down to ten starters and two coaches was no easy challenge. Below is the lineup for the Eastern Conference. We’ll be presenting the Western Conference tomorrow. If there’s someone you think we missed, or unfairly included, let us know in the comments!

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uspw_6982248Guard – Jordan Crawford – Washington Wizards 

Jordan Crawford made a name for himself with an outstanding career at Xavier that ended with a great run in the NCAA tournament and a heart wrenching loss at the hands of Kansas State. Despite losing that game, Crawford’s draft stock rose and he gained the attention of the general public in a similar fashion to James Harden the year previous. He was selected 27th overall and, after a draft day trade, was set to begin his NBA career with the Hawks. Crawford was traded to Washington after playing in just 16 games for Atlanta and lived up to the hype, as he averaged 16.3 points in 26 games for the Wizards in his rookie campaign.

Unfortunately for Washington and Crawford, it is possible that the 6’4” guard peaked that season and is destined to continue his downward trend. Last season Crawford’s scoring average dropped 1.6 points and has dropped another 1.5 points in his 43 games this season. A declining scoring average typically wouldn’t worry me from a 24 year old player, but it has been how he is scoring that is troubling. Crawford shots and minutes have declined every season that he has spent in Washington but his three point attempts have increased. That is worrisome when you consider that Washington spent the third overall pick in the 2012 draft on Bradley Beal (who is essentially Crawford with a better jump shot and a bit more muscle). Despite John Wall missing the 68% of the games thus far, Crawford’s percentage of games started is declining for a third straight season (69% in 2010, 50% in 2011, and 28% this season), which reflects the Wizards lack of confidence in Crawford in year four of his NBA career.

What is an All Star? An All Star is a player who contributes on a nightly basis. Crawford eclipsed the 20 point plateau in seven of 13 games in December, but has totaled more than 20 points in only two weeks since then. An All Star is a player that fills a great role and is sorely missed if he is out of the lineup. Washington has won five of the last six games that Crawford has been inactive and has seen their points per game decrease every season in which Crawford has been on the roster. An All Star doesn’t share his starting spot with a journey man (Garrett Temple) and rarely does an All Star share a first initial and last name with a reserve player that impacts the game more than he does.

I do like Crawford as a piece that can help an already good team, but he (both for his career and for this season) is the opposite of what I want in an All Star.

– Kyle Soppe, @unSOPable23

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uspw_7013564Guard – Monta Ellis – Milwaukee Bucks 

There are a couple things that good basketball players do. Take and make good shots, pass the ball to open teammates in positions they succeed, play good defense, play hard, and understand their limitations. There a couple of things Monta Ellis does really well. Take a lot of shots, walk on defense, sometimes pass the ball to open teammates in positions they succeed, and make Milwaukee Bucks fans question why they enjoy watching basketball. Take a couple of numbers for example. This season Monta Ellis is shooting 24% from behind the arc. A good player realizes that, at that awful number they should avoid taking threes as often as possible. But Monta Ellis isn’t a good player. So instead of minimizing his shot attempts from that area Monta guns away to the point of averaging 3.5 three point attempts per game. A good player realizes that as an undersized two-guard he must never fall asleep on defense and always know where his man is so he doesn’t give up easy baskets.

But Monta Ellis isn’t a good player. Watch a game one day and just focus on Monta playing off ball defense. His strange tactic of completely turning his body to his man often leads to cuts and easy baskets, and his even odder tactic of walking leads to even more easy buckets for opponents as Monta’s help comes so slow. Unlike some players on this list Monta would fit in at an All-Star Game on at least one end of the floor, the defensive, since for the first bit of the game none is played anyway. But like the rest he wouldn’t fit on another, the offensive, where his poor decision making would just lead to a ton of misses as he pulls up for contested jumpers. Although, more misses means more chances for tip dunks from LeBron and Wade and others. So maybe Monta would fit into an All-Star Game, if for all the wrong reasons. But ask Monta and he will tell you he deserves to make it for another reason; because “Monta Ellis has it all.”

– Matt Cianfrone, @Matt_Cianfrone

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uspw_7034240Forward – Gerald Wallace – New Jersey Nets

While nobody expected Gerald Wallace to live up to his bloated 4-year, $40 million contract, on a bulky 31 minutes per night Wallace is playing his worst basketball in almost a decade. He’s scoring in the single digits for the first time since the 2003-04 season. His rebounding is barely worthy of his nickname, with a mere five boards (and only one OR) per game. His FG% (.430) and FT% (.662) are both significantly below last season’s percentages and his career percentages. Though he’s still a plus defender, Billy King and Mikhail Prokhorov didn’t intend to pay $10 million each of the next four seasons for an aging defensive stopper.

– Michael Shagrin, @MShaggy

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uspw_6946586Forward – Kevin Seraphin – Washington Wizards

When you think of an All-Star game you think of a couple of things first and foremost. Points and highlights. After all this year in Houston, 23 of the league’s best offensive players and Luol Deng will gather to go up and down the floor throwing lobs, and pin-point passes that lead to ferocious dunks and highlight layups. One player that you won’t find for sure in this game, or any offensive exhibition of any kind, is Kevin Seraphin. After all once Seraphin gets the ball it is going in one of two places. Either to the rim, where it probably will miss as Seraphin is shooting only 44 percent for the season, or to the other team as he is averaging almost 2 turnovers a night in only 25 minutes played. For the year Seraphin has only 39 assists despite playing in 48 games for the Wizards. What’s scarier is the fact that those 39 assists show marked improvement for the young forward who in his first two seasons (111 games) totaled only 43 assists. In a game that needs passing to really flourish Seraphin is the last player that should be invited, and that is before even looking at his shooting percentages. What Seraphin has done though is cement himself as an Anti-Award frontrunner for years to come.

– Matt Cianfrone, @Matt_Cianfrone

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uspw_6833400Center – Andrea Bargnani – Toronto Raptors

This former number one pick has not lived up to expectations so far in his career. I can say that comfortably because the guy is 7 feet tall and only averages 4 rebounds a ball game, ridiculous! Although he has scoring prowess, averaging a smooth 15 points a ball game, there are some games where he just doesn’t show up, for example his 2-19 game against the Spurs. For a guy who is paid 9.25 million a year, these are not the stats fans are looking for. Currently there is a rumor going around regarding a swap of big man between the Bulls and the Raptors. That trade would be Carlos Boozer for Andrea. Raptors do it! I know Carlos Boozer has not lived up to expectations as well in Chicago, but he has played All-Star basketball before in Utah, something Andrea has never done!

– Matt Swiman, @MSwiman

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uspw_6911930Coach – Byron Scott – Cleveland Cavaliers

Traditionally the All-Star coach from each conference comes from the team with the best record. However, I couldn’t bring myself to select Mike Dunlap, coach of the cellar-dwelling Bobcats, when Byron Scott presents as such low-hanging fruit. At the beginning of the season I thought the Cavaliers were a team that could contend for a playoff spot in the East, instead they have been driven into the ground.

I’ll acknowledge that the Cavaliers have had to struggle with injuries, and I’ll give Scott some credit for the development of Tristan Thompson, but that’s all the warm fuzzies I have to hand out. His most used lineup this season is Irving – Waiters – Gee – Thompson – Zeller, a group that has been outscored by an average of 7.9 points per 100 possessions. That’s the worst differential of any lineup in the league that has played more than 300 minutes together. He has continued to use that lineup nearly twice as often as any other, despite the fact that swapping C.J. Miles in for Waiters makes them 12 points per 100 possessions better. Or that swapping Marreese Speights in for Zeller makes them 11.8 points per 100 possessions better. Dion Waiters has been given the green light to shoot anytime for anywhere, the perfect recipe for developing control in a young guard. With a talent like Kyrie Irving on the roster, everything should be focused on incremental steps forward. Instead the Cavaliers appear to be hopping backwards as quickly as they can manage.

Lineups mismanaged, useful pieces jettisoned to the end of the bench, young players being handed minutes, but stagnating for lack of structure – Byron Scott can coach my Anti-All-Stars any day!

– Ian Levy, @HickoryHigh

  • http://twitter.com/nichobert nich obert

    Fwiw, Seraphin is leaps and bounds better than anyone else in the NBA at hook shots.

    • http://hickory-high.com/ Ian Levy

      Better than Roy Hibbert?????????? (sarcasm)

  • Ctown27

    Strongly disagree with your criticisms of coach scott. Consider the goals of the season: develop young talent. Guess why those 5 play together the most: they are the future. We want them to take their lumps together. Doesn’t make sense to give miles or speights their minutes. The goal is not to win the most games, the goal is to develop the talent. Kyrie is amazing, thompson is better and better, deon needs to play a lot and take some bad shots, that’s how young players improve

    • http://hickory-high.com/ Ian Levy

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I completely understand your point, but I think it takes a lot more than just minutes and the opportunity to take shots to spur player development.

      Certainly young players need an opportunity to play, try things, and make mistakes. But they also need structure, scaffolding, examples and modeling from more experienced players. It seems like Byron Scott is just running those young guys out there and expecting them to figure it out. Mixing in Speights and Miles more gives those players a safety net and another level of experience on the floor; plus those lineups are successful. I think Zeller and Waiters could both learn more by playing a little less, if it’s in lineups that work a lot better together.

      As far as Waiters, 20.2% of his possessions this season have been isolations, possessions on which he is shooting 32%. It seems like Scott could be doing a lot more to help him build good frameworks for shot selection and offensive decision making. Young players don’t just get better by playing, they get better by playing in certain types of settings.

      In the end it’s just one man’s opinion, and I certainly could be proven wrong. Lord knows that happens often enough. The post was just meant to be fun and Scott stood out to me as someone who was begging to be poked a little. I certainly didn’t mean to offend, and I hope this doesn’t turn you off of Hickory-High or any of our other writers.

  • Yup

    In Dion’s last 24 games he’s shooting 42% from the field and averaging 15ppg. His season stats are equal to Beal’s and he’s been better than MKG and Barnes. Dunno what yr smoking…

    • http://hickory-high.com/ Ian Levy

      I think Waiters has the potential to be really, really good. My fear is that he turns into Randy Foye or Toney Douglas and I don’t see Scott doing much to prevent that from happening.

      Among the 25 rookies who have played 500 minutes this season Waiters ranks 20th in TS%, 20th in eFG%, 23rd in Win Shares per 48 minutes. He attempts 5.1 three pointers per 40 minutes, shooting 31.1%. He attempts 4.6 long two pointers per 40 minutes, shooting 36.0%. Not saying he doesn’t have potential, or hasn’t had solid stretches this year but what exactly is Byron Scott doing to keep him from drifting into the rut of being an inefficient, volume scorer?

      • Yup

        Cherry pick stats much? I compared apples to apples. He is as good as any rookie not named Davis or Liilard. And in 2013 he is shooting 44%, an increase of 8 points compared to 2012. His FT% is up 5 points as well. He is doing this while playing 5 less minutes per game. More efficient, in other words.

        Clearly Scott deserves credit for his improvement over the season. The same kind of credit he gets for TT and Kyrie having superior 2nd years to their rookie seasons. Your argument has been easily refuted.

        • http://hickory-high.com/ Ian Levy

          You’re right. I focused on some stats that Waiters hadn’t performed well in. I think those stats are extremely important and specifically addressed my concerns about him heading down a high-volume scoring path (low shooting efficiency, not much overall contribution in other areas). But if we want to look at the whole picture we can:

          http://bit.ly/VT8Twj

          That link takes you Basketball-Reference and compares all the season stats for Waiters, Bradley Beal, Austin Rivers, Harrison Barnes, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

          Clearly he’s outplaying Rivers, but are we really going to say he’s been convincingly better than the other three.

          But again that’s neither here nor there. My argument is that he’s getting a lot of repetitions playing a low-efficiency brand of basketball that’s not going to help him maximize his potential. I think Scott should be helping him chase different goals not encouraging him to isolate one out of every five possessions. I could be wrong. I hope I’m wrong. I like Waiters a lot, watched him a ton at Syracuse, and would really like him to do well. But I also liked Randy Foye. . . and Rodney Stuckey. . . and Jordan Crawford . . . and Jerryd Bayless . . . and Marcus Thornton. There is a scary precedent for talented players who get boxed into the ‘scoring is my job, at any cost’ box. If I was Scott I would be taking extreme measures to keep Waiters off that path.

      • Yup

        Oh and it is ludicrous to lump Zeller in with Dion. The only thing they have in common is being Cavs rookies. Zeller has been atrocious…

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