As of right now, it seems as if starting center Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat will be getting the nod from head coach Erik Spoelstra to replace point guard Rajon Rondo as a starter on the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. After going down with an ACL injury that will keep him sidelined the rest of the season, a vacant starting spot opened on the Eastern Conference squad – which includes starters Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Carmelo Anthony.
After hinting that Spoelstra would name him as a starter following a win over the Charlotte Bobcats last Wednesday, it became noted that Miami could become the first team in 23 years to have three All-Star starters.
Is that even fair?
Spoelstra gained control of head coaching duties after leading his team to the best record in the East as of Feb. 2, so it’s common sense that he would pick his own player to be a starter. Obviously James, Wade and Bosh want to be a part of history; history that includes Magic Johnson, James Worthy and A.C. Green.
Even though the three members from the 1990 Los Angeles Lakers team were all voted into the All-Star game as starters, Bosh did end up finishing fourth among frontcourt players. That means he missed the cut as a true starter by just one player.
But even if you have the chance to plug your own player in as an All-Star starter, shouldn’t it be a positional change or kept within the same backcourt/frontcourt category?
On the other hand, Spoelstra believes that the players on his team are “position-less,” which is a fair argument because James can play any position on the court if he wanted to. But Bosh is the farthest thing away from a backcourt player, so a point guard or shooting guard should be taking Rondo’s spot on the roster instead of a player who will earn the honors due to close ties.
So why not put in the player who deserved to be in Bosh’s position in the first place so we can clear this whole thing up?
I would say that there is not much separation in the level of play between Rondo, Kyrie Irving and Jrue Holiday. Any of those three aforementioned players had the ability to be among the elite of the East, but one of those players will not suit up and (it looks like) the two latter players will be watching from the bench to start the game.
Now I don’t want to get into any conspiracy theories, but this could be a ploy by Spoelstra to limit the time that James and Irving will be on the court. It’s no secret by now that with the way the CBA is structured that LeBron could be packing his bags and moving away from Miami in the summer of 2014. Due to the overflowing cap space that the Cavaliers have and the appeal that Irving brings, Cleveland will be a very attractive place for free agents in the near future.
Most Wine and Gold fans should be intrigued that Irving and James could – and most likely will – see some playing time together this coming Sunday. Some may take it as a look at the future, and that’s why Spoelstra may be weary of giving the two stars too much playing time together. This may be an overreaching claim, but I wouldn’t put it behind the Heat’s head honcho.
I’m not trying to take anything away from Bosh here, as he is putting together an applaud-able season. But I think it should be set in stone somewhere that the coach must choose a player within the area in which they were listed on the ballot to replace an injured starter. In that case, Irving should be selected as a starter. Despite minimal national attention, the Cleveland star has jumped from rookie phenom to perennial star status in the short matter of a year. He is currently the sixth highest scorer in the league and has continued his clutch ways of finishing off games from a season prior. It’s not set in stone that Bosh will take Rondo’s place, but everything is pointing in that direction as of right now. Hopefully Irving will still see plenty of playing time if that is in fact the case.
Here are how the four players mentioned in the article match up statistically:
Chris Bosh – 17.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.2 BPG, shooting 54.4 percent from the field and 80.9 percent from the free throw line
Rajon Rondo – 13.7 PPG, 11.1 APG, 5.6 RPG, shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 64.5 percent from the free throw line
Jrue Holiday – 19.3 PPG, 8.8 APG, 4.2 RPG, shooting 45.6 percent from the field, 34.6 percent from three
Kyrie Irving – 24.0 PPG, 5.5 APG, 3.7 RPG, shooting 47.4 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from three