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ESPN insider-Is Blake Griffin a Allstar or Rookie

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ESPN insider-Is Blake Griffin a Allstar or Rookie

Should Griffin play for the rooks or the sophs in the Rookie Challenge?

Griffin was a member of the 2009 draft class, with Tyreke Evans and Steph Curry, and therefore some people question his status as a rookie. To me, it's a non-issue. Look up the word rookie in the dictionary.

Sure, an argument can be made. Charles Barkley has argued that Griffin shouldn't be considered a rookie because while he sat out last season with an injury, he was able to watch games, learn and improve his body. Although he has a point, the reality is that every draft pick comes into the season with a different set of advantages. We lump all first-year players together despite their age and careers to that point.

Griffin's body was NBA-ready long before this season, just as Evans and Derrick Rose had edges physically when they were rookies, too. But Kevin Durant and Brandon Jennings are two examples of skinny and relatively weak players physically who still had impactful first seasons.

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To be sure, watching an NBA season unfold from the bench can have some advantages. The nuances of the game can reveal themselves a bit, the understanding of how much work needs to be done daily, the recognition of just how many players work harder than anyone ever realized. But we're talking small advantages, ones that pale in comparison to having a healthy body with no concerns about re-injury. There is also a lost sense of feel and rhythm when returning from a prolonged injury absence.

A week of training camp and a few summer-league and preseason games in 2009 are not enough to classify Griffin as a second-year player this season. And for what it's worth, had he played last season, my eyes tell me he would have been just as dominant.

So with that out of the way, let's turn our attention to the bigger question:

Should Griffin play in the All-Star Game?

This answer is a bit more complicated and depends on how you want your All-Star Game roster to be decided. If you want the 12 best players from each conference who are having great seasons on good or improved teams and are ticket sellers, then yes, he's in. But if we're following the NBA's rules for All-Star reserves, I think he's on the outside looking in.

This is not at all a slight on Griffin. I've written extensively about just how good he's been and how much I love watching him play. His destruction of Andrew Bogut on Monday -- abusing him with skill, power, agility and want to -- was a shock to see.

Griffin's growth as a player during the first half of the season has been remarkable. He has learned to be a very effective bucket getter and added some nice moves and shots to help in that regard. It's why I think he'll be an All-Star for years to come. In fact, for the first time all season, I now see him as a future MVP of the league because of his continued improvement.

But we're talking about this year's All-Star Game. And if we use the NBA's guidelines for All-Star reserves, we must choose two guards, two forwards, a center and two wild cards. So for Griffin to make the team, he needs to be among those two forwards or wild-cards. That is a tall order.

Dirk Nowitzki has to be one of the forwards selected. He's a legit MVP candidate who has his team unexpectedly chasing the No. 2 seed in the West.

Kevin Love is the second forward on my list. His combination of rebounding and outside shooting is possibly the best the game has ever seen. If his team looked for him more in the post, he'd be having an even better season than he is, which is extraordinary. Although Griffin gets points for his improved team and outranks Love in scoring ability, what Love has done to this point is slightly more deserving of an All-Star spot. It's a close call, to be sure.

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ROOKIE 50 RANKINGS

We're keeping track of every NBA rook. Here are the latest Top 50 rankings.

Rank
Player
Stock

1
Blake Griffin

2
DeMarcus Cousins

3
John Wall

4
Greg Monroe

5
Landry Fields

6
Derrick Favors

7
Ed Davis

8
Gary Neal

9
Wesley Johnson

10
Al-Farouq Aminu

Click here for the complete rankings »

It gets no easier at the wild-card spots. Tim Duncan still doesn't have a spot on our team (Pau Gasol would be my pick for reserve center), and he has to get one; the best defender and second-best overall player on the league's best team has to be an All-Star. He is also one of the best teammates in pro sports and the anchor to an almost dynastic franchise.

So that leaves us with one spot and the following guys to consider: Griffin, Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook, Manu Ginobili and Deron Williams. Do you see Griffin's problem?

If Nash and Westbrook get the two reserve guard slots, Ginobili has to be the other wild card -- the best player on the best team gets in. If it's Ginobili and Westbrook as guards, beating out Nash and Williams is too much for me to do. Nash has been fantastic holding together a declining Suns team. And Williams is carrying the Jazz despite the drop-off in talent around him. I'd pick either guy for the spot before Griffin.

Now, do I think it would be a huge mistake for Griffin to get voted in over any of those players listed? No. They are all having special seasons in one way or another. Of course, in this scenario, perhaps David Stern chooses Griffin as Yao Ming's injury replacement and he makes the team anyway.

But it would not be a crime if it took Griffin one more season before he begins his annual trek to the All-Star Game. It would, however, be wrong to assume that by his not making it, he's being overlooked. As every Clippers fan needs to know, as long as you have Griffin on your team, you'll never have to worry about being ignored again. He's an absolute star, whether it becomes official or not this season.


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i think this is when everyone

i think this is when everyone needs to overlook Blake Griffin's numbers (even though that is EXTREMELY hard to do). He's still a "rookie" and last time i checked, rookies are ineligible for all star competition. and look at all the other PF's in the western conference:

David West

Lamarcus Aldridge

Lamar Odom

Dirk Nowitzki

Tim Duncan (might go in as a C)

Paul Milsap

idk just how i feel

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Since when have rookies been

Since when have rookies been ineligible?..Rookies have made the Allstar team before

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oh...well then i stand

oh...well then i stand corrected (he comes the dislikes)

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rookies are ineligible for

rookies are ineligible for the all-star game? SInce when? ANyways, griff should be in there. I would leave out either duncan, manu or nash before leaving off griffin. SPurs defenitely deserve 1 all-star though.

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I think it depends on the

I think it depends on the criteria they go by. If its just by numbers and individual then Blake makes it. If wins and team success is taken into account then he doesn't make it

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People won't like it, but Tim

People won't like it, but Tim Duncan is going to make the All-Star team. The Spurs have had the best record in the NBA basically all season... That's good enough to get them at least two All-Stars.

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i have duncan making it also.

i have duncan making it also. Persoanlly i would leave nash out although the suns are now turning it around and he also will get a lot of the respect vote for being a hall of famer.

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Center: Pau

Center:

Pau Gasol

Forwards:

Dirk Nowitzki

Tim Duncan

Guards:

Deron Williams

Manu Ginboli

Wildcards:

Lamar Odom

Russell Westbrook

David Stern's Replacement For Yao:

Lamarcus Aldridge

Snubs:

Blake Griffin

Kevin Love

Zach Randolph

Monta Ellis

Steve Nash

Kevin Martin

David West

Nene Hilario

Luis Scola

Eric Gordon

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Personally

I am cool with Tim Duncan making the All-Star team. To me, he is still one of the best players in the league, and until the Spurs start slipping in the standings it is hard to prove otherwise. People will not like hearing this, but they should wake up and smell the fresh fallafel. Also, I think Blake Griffin is going to make it as well. I was not sure about a rookie making it, especially one from a losing team, but Blake's team has gotten better and his numbers are the most impressive we have seen from a rookie big since Tim Duncan. So, I think people are totally overreacting to this, "should he or shouldn't he make it". If he does indeed make it, and leaves the Rookie team, they get flat out destroyed. From all I have seen and heard, these look like the probable ASG reserves come tomorrow:

East: Horford, Bosh, Pierce, Allen, Rondo, Garnett, Boozer (Just guessing, not who I would necessarily choose, as I have those choices down already, look on my profile for topic "All-Star Reserves". These are also not in any particular order, so if someone says "Rondo should be higher" and means it, they more than likely have had a labotomy.)

West: Gasol, Griffin, Nowitzki, Ginobili, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Tim Duncan, Kevin Love (Though if I had to guess the person chosen to replace Yao, it would be Tim Duncan)

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Indiana

Are those your choices or who you think they will choose to make it? If they are yours, than I am super surprised you left off Griffin. It is a likely scenario though, Odom making the team over Griffin. It is hard to say he deserves it more though, the battle for the final few spots at PF is fierce. I believe Aldridge will get screwed, though people on here seem to think otherwise. As I said, my picks are in that topic I made, and I stick to them as people I believe should make the team.

http://www.nbadraft.net/forum/nbadraftnet-all-star-reserves

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regardless of who makes it,

regardless of who makes it, there are more then 12 all-stars in the west who deserve to be there. I know we say that every year, but this year more so then usual.

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I want to go with Griffin,

I want to go with Griffin, but I think instead of snubbing Griffin or Love, they'll just snub them both since they're both on losing teams. I mean, the Timberwolves have won 11 games and are the worst defensive team in basketball. The Clippers have improved, but their record is still far below .500.

I think choosing between Aldridge and Randolph for Stern's replacement will be the toughest.

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In response to Chuck. He's

In response to Chuck. He's totally a rookie, Arvidas Sabonis was a 32 or 33 year old rookie in the late 90's after being drafted close to 10 years prior to his first season in the NBA, Chuck actually played against Sabonis, too many trips to Vegas for Sir Charles, lol

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I go with LA

He is the better defender on the team with even more injuries. I know Z-Bo's numbers are better, but I think LaMarcus has really taken that next step this year. Out of all the people who I think are fighting to make the All-Star team, I hope he makes it more than any of them. Hope that 40 on San Antonio was a statement, though I am guessing the votes have already been cast. Nonetheless, I do not know if there are 12 players in the West that deserve to make it, but if we did a NHL like All-Star draft, I think it might be 70/30 as far as All-Star reserves in favor of the West.

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I really think Aldridge will

I really think Aldridge will make it. The Blazers' injury issues are well known around the league and for them to still be in playoff contention is amazing.

Aldridge will get credit for that and represent the Blazers in his first All-Star appearance.

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