Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim is in Las Vegas this week preparing for the Greatest Sporting Event in the World … the NBA All-Star Game. It arrives today.
Boeheim is in Vegas because he’s one of the nearly 500 college coaches who, thanks to the new College Basketball Association, have a team to coach and to play in the NCAA’s greatest amateur game. That game, although a draw that would make president Obama proud — the first since 1973, as I’ve always declared — needs a better division.
Here’s an idea: How about the best mid-major teams in the country, like No. 10 Kansas, facing Big Ten teams like No. 15 Maryland and No. 24 Indiana? Or instead of the big four, the second five or six, the best 10 in each conference, slug it out. And yes, think of it like those old Maritime games, with the best of the U.S. against the best of the United Kingdom.
Actually, something similar happened recently. In an unofficial and largely irrelevant All-America way, the best mid-major teams and the best high school teams in the country met at Madison Square Garden in the Big East/A.C.A. Challenge. That’s one of those All-Star games that’s better for the sport, and not just because I love Jack King. (And big deal, he won one of those games.)
Without further ado, the 2019 NBA All-Star team:
Stephen Curry, Warriors
LeBron James, Lakers
James Harden, Rockets
Anthony Davis, Pelicans
Russell Westbrook, Thunder
Is there a better shooting guard in the league than George? Not even close. I saw him in a low-scoring game against Washington’s Marcus Morris, and I’m still calling the game. Oh, and the final score? Team LeBron 115, Team Wade (Team Dwyane Wade) 102.
The Magic piddlers
So with an all-star nod, we’re trying to get the new “Most Valuable Amateur Basketball Program in the World” official, OK? Let’s play a game of three-point shoot-arounds on Feb. 28 at Pennsylvania’s Penn State University, which is conveniently situated in State College in the home of Joe Paterno (and whose own basketball program blew up).
Here’s one place I’d put Tony Parker: He’s more along the lines of a multi-year stable leader than a one-hit wonder, as defined by Ben Wallace.
Markieff Morris: Nothing short of deadly.
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