The 2012 NBA All-Star Game rosters have been set (barring any last-minute replacements). Who should've made the cut? Which selections were the most suprising? Our panel answers all the lingering questions leftover from Selection Thursday.
1. Who is the biggest All-Star snub in the East?
Larry Coon, ESPN.com: So many to choose from. I think Tyson Chandler has done exactly what was expected of him in New York, and thought the coaches would have voted him in. Brandon Jennings deserved a spot. Josh Smith deserved a spot. But Chandler probably deserved it the most.
Nate Drexler, Magic Basketball: Despite my instinct to say Ryan Anderson, I have to go with Danny Granger. If you're going to take one guy and not the other from Indiana, I take the guy who puts up the numbers, the guy with the flash, and the guy who is probably more responsible for Indiana's success this season. In a word, I would take Granger over Roy Hibbert any day of the week.
Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes of Hell: Greg Monroe. Given the fact that he underachieved slightly in college and plays for a struggling Pistons franchise, Monroe has spent his young career toiling in anonymity. But make no mistake: He's currently playing better than a couple of the more famous guys on the East's roster.
Ian Levy, The Two-Man Game: Greg Monroe. Team success is and has always been part of the All-Star equation, but you can't ignore the pillar of strength Monroe has been in Detroit's maelstrom of ineptitude. His terrific production isn't pushing the Pistons into the postseason, but could anyone besides LeBron, Howard or Rose make this a playoff team?
Royce Young, Daily Thunder: Kyrie Irving. Yes, he's a rookie. Yes, he's playing for a sub-.500 team. But as Blake Griffin proved last season, if your play is outstanding, those things aren't supposed to get in the way. Look at Irving's 21.66 PER. That's top 25 in the entire league. And he's exploded over the last month too.
2. Who is the biggest All-Star snub in the West?
Nate Drexler, Magic Basketball: James Harden. All-Star voting is a popularity contest, and I could've sworn Harden was one of the most popular guys in the league.
The worst part about this snub is that it comes in the name of allowing old veterans into a game they don't belong in. I'm looking at you, Steve Nash and Tony Parker. I guess we'll wait until next year to make some room for the young guns.
Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes of Hell: Paul Millsap. Although the Jazz came in with muted expectations, they are in the hunt for the West's very competitive playoff spots. That is in large part a result of Millsap's efforts. His workmanlike style has always been underappreciated and this season is no different.
Ian Levy, The Two-Man Game: Paul Millsap. In just four seasons he's gone from contributing just energy and physicality to being the versatile and skilled heart of a surprisingly successful Jazz team. He contributes at both end of the floor, and plays hard every night. Nowitzki was chosen based on previous accomplishments, Millsap deserved a spot for what he's done this season.
Royce Young, Daily Thunder: Kyle Lowry. I think any time a guy is getting solid consideration for MVP, he should probably be an All-Star. Maybe that should be a new voting rule. The West went heavy on point guards so swapping Dirk Nowitzki for Lowry would've meant five point guards, so I understand the snub. Doesn't make it right, though.
3. Which East All-Star selection is the biggest surprise?
Larry Coon, ESPN.com: You mean besides Carmelo Anthony as a starter? Even though you could argue that Chandler, Smith and Jennings all deserved to make the team, none of the reserve selections were really a surprise. Maybe Deron Williams because of his team's record (but that's certainly not his fault).
Nate Drexler, Magic Basketball: Even though he deserves it, I didn't think Luol Deng would get the nod. Whether it's defense, rebounding or offensive execution, so much of what he does slips under the radar. To be clear, it's a pleasant surprise to see him headed to Orlando. As far as guys who I simply can't believe got voted in? Well, that's Joe Johnson.
Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes of Hell: Roy Hibbert. Hibbert is a better NBA player than I thought he would be. But he's still not a better player than Monroe. Hibbert's selection strikes me as an attempt to recognize Indiana's achievements this season, not choose the best player at his position in the East.
Ian Levy, The Two-Man Game: Luol Deng. It's great to see Deng's all-around game finally being recognized, but I'd be more comfortable if it was being noticed in a season where he hadn't missed a quarter of his team's games while shooting 30 points below his career average.
Royce Young, Daily Thunder: Roy Hibbert. I won't lie, I was a little caught off guard when I heard his name. Not because he's undeserving, but just because he's not a traditional All-Star kind of player. He got the benefit of playing on a top Eastern team. You can certainly make a case for Josh Smith being more deserving.
4. Which West All-Star selection is the biggest surprise?
Larry Coon, ESPN.com: Dirk Nowitzki. I understand why he's there, but he's really not having an All-Star level season (not that I don't expect him to be back at that level for the playoffs).
Nate Drexler, Magic Basketball: Marc Gasol. If I were going to bet on a Grizzly player getting voted in my money would be on Rudy Gay, or none of the above. It's especially surprising considering big brother Pau was left off the West roster.
Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes of Hell: Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk is a terrific player. I would argue he is one of the top 10 players in the league. But he hasn't played at an All-Star level so far this season. He's below his career average in points, rebounds, blocks and several other categories.
Ian Levy, The Two-Man Game: Dirk Nowitzki. Even Dirk admitted that he didn't deserve a selection this year. He's been woefully impotent offensively and took four games off to try and get his body right; not exactly the stuff All-Stars are made of.
Royce Young, Daily Thunder: Dirk Nowitzki. Even Dirk said he shouldn't be on the team! It's obviously a selection to honor what he did last season and during the playoffs, but Dirk has not had an All-Star caliber start to 2011-12. I almost wonder if he would've preferred the four-day weekend.
5. Which roster is better: East or West?
Larry Coon, ESPN.com: I'm going with the East here, if for no other reason than this will be a statement game for Dwight Howard. A very loud statement.
Nate Drexler, Magic Basketball: Pound for pound, the East has a better roster, and it starts with the starting five. LeBron James is a better overall player than Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard is better than Andrew Bynum, and at the moment, Derrick Rose trumps Chris Paul.
Graydon Gordian, 48 Minutes of Hell: The West. The East is littered with big-name players who aren't having their best seasons, while the West is largely composed of the best players from that conference. I especially love the depth of the West's frontcourt: Griffin, Bynum, Love, Aldridge, Gasol and Nowitzki.
Ian Levy, The Two-Man Game: Splitting hairs, but I'll take the West. I'm intrigued by their athleticism and the four-headed point guard monster of Nash, Westbrook, Parker and Paul.
Royce Young, Daily Thunder: East. The West has a better bench, but the East has a better starting five. A first five that includes Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Dwight Howard is Charles Barkley-in-a-thong scary.
ESPN.com and the TrueHoop Network
Larry Coon covers the NBA for ESPN.com. Nate Drexler, Graydon Gordian, Ian Levy and Royce Young contribute to the TrueHoop Network.