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NBA coast to coast: The league should name more players to All-Star team

New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver should pay a tribute to predecessor David Stern by increasing the rosters from 24 players to 30.

February 01, 2014|By Ben Bolch
  • Suns point guard Goran Dragic is averaging 19 points and six assists a game this season.
Suns point guard Goran Dragic is averaging 19 points and six assists a game… (Mark Duncan / Associated…)

Starry-eyed idea

Adam Silver's first official act as NBA commissioner should be a tribute to David Stern and to common sense.

In honor of his predecessor's 30 years as the league's top boss, Silver should increase the number of All-Star players from 24 to 30.

Such a move would constitute a win-win-win by reducing the number of real and perceived snubs, increasing exposure for more of the game's top players and adding intrigue to a game that is often lacking in new faces.

The current crop of All-Stars has only four first-timers in Golden State's Stephen Curry, Washington's John Wall, Portland's Damian Lillard and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan.

Here are the six most deserving players (three from the Western Conference and three from the East) that could have been All-Stars this season under our proposed roster expansion:

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento: Yes, he's a head case who reportedly grabbed his crotch and yelled an expletive at a fan who badgered him during a game in December. He's also a statistical marvel who is averaging 22.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.2 blocks per game, an aggregate of 40.2 that's higher than those of All-Star frontcourt players Blake Griffin (37.9), Dwight Howard (34.9) and Dirk Nowitzki (32.4).

Goran Dragic, Phoenix: In the man-bites-dog department, the Suns are probably going to make the playoffs in a season when most thought they would vie only for top draft prospect Jabari Parker. Dragic is one of the biggest reasons why.

Anthony Davis, New Orleans: Grooming issues aside, the "Unibrow" has a player efficiency rating that's fifth best in the league. He's also a sentimental pick as the best player on the team hosting the All-Star game.

Lance Stephenson, Indiana: So what if he rubs a few people the wrong way by gyrating after big shots? The Pacers' breakthrough star has four triple-doubles, more than the rest of the East roster combined.

Kyle Lowry, Toronto: He's the best point guard in the East this season and is certainly more deserving than Brooklyn's Joe Johnson.

Al Jefferson, Charlotte: The Bobcats are fringe playoff contenders largely because they finally made a shrewd free-agent pickup with the former Utah Jazz big man, who has outperformed onetime teammate Paul Millsap of Atlanta, an All-Star selection.

What about 'Thunderstruck'?

Selected items from a "Late Show With David Letterman" top-10 list of things Stern learned in his tenure as commissioner:

10. Dr. J. is not a licensed physician.

9. The swish sound is made by a guy standing behind the basket.

5. No NBA star has ever made a bad motion picture.

4. The lowest-paid mascot in the league makes $5 million a year.

2. I am an inspiration to short, unathletic kids everywhere.

And, we'll add one of our own: I will always have a 50% approval rating inside Staples Center in the wake of the vetoed Chris Paul trade.

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