The Anti-All-Star team
Marbury, Big Ben among biggest disappointments
Posted: Wednesday February 13, 2008 9:30AM; Updated: Thursday February 14, 2008 12:20PM
The NBA All-Star Game may be a time to celebrate some of the world's greatest athletes, but we've always been a glass-half-empty sort of fellow. With that in mind, let's take a look at the NBA's Anti-All-Star team, or 12 players who have distinguished themselves for all the wrong reasons.
G: Stephon Marbury, Knicks -- Time was Derrick Coleman held the imaginary honor of being the player with the most talent with the least to show for it. Congrats, Steph, the crown is yours now, after burning the bridge with perhaps your staunchest defender, Knicks coach Isiah Thomas; persuading your teammates to vote you out of the starting lineup after bailing on them in Phoenix; and having season-ending ankle surgery over the team's doubts. It's no surprise, then, that the Knicks reportedly aren't generating any trade interest in Marbury, who has one year and $21 million left on his contract.
G: Kirk Hinrich, Bulls -- While Ben Wallace is a prime suspect in the death of Scott Skiles' coaching tenure in Chicago, Hinrich was the one in the library with the candlestick, helping Colonel Mustard do the deed. Hinrich averaged 10.1 points on 33.1 percent from the field in November, when the Bulls went 3-10 to dig a hole from which they've yet to recover. Though Hinrich has played better lately, he's still shooting only 40.8 percent and a career-low 31 percent from three-point range for the season.
F: Boris Diaw, Suns -- Who says the French don't love America? Not the Suns' versatile forward, who parlayed his Most Improved Player season in 2005-06 (13.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 6.2 apg) into a five-year, $45 million extension in October 2006, and then proceeded to do his best Michael Olowokandi impression last year (9.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.8 apg). The optimist in all of us said that Diaw struggled last season as a result of the pressure he felt to play up to his new wealth. The realist in us sees that Diaw is affixing an even bigger stamp on this season, with his averages of 7.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 44.6 percent shooting. And to think that if Diaw had played more to his potential than his inner Tim Thomas, Shaq might still be in Miami.
F: Jermaine O'Neal, Pacers -- Yes, officially he's injured, out indefinitely with a knee injury. But his body language before he was sidelined suggested a general unhappiness in Indiana. He almost said as much last summer in expressing his willingness to be dealt if the team decided to rebuild. Producing his lowest scoring average (15.3) since his first season as a Pacer, in 2000-01, and lowest rebounding rate (7.0) since his last season in Portland, O'Neal's 33-game run this season has gone a long way toward helping Indiana make that decision.
C: Ben Wallace, Bulls -- No one can argue Big Ben hasn't been busy this season -- posting his worst rebounding and blocked-shot marks in nine seasons, butting heads with former coach Skiles and getting into a spat with rookie teammate Joakim Noah. That's leadership most teams couldn't pay enough to avoid; the Bulls, though, get the privilege of paying $15 million this season to call Wallace all their own.