Baron, T-Mac lead disappointments
The Anti-All-Star team includes Baron Davis and Tracy McGrady in the backcourt
DeShawn Stevenson and Ricky Davis are shooting a terrible percentage
Tyson Chandler's numbers are OK, but he has regressed from last season
As the NBA prepares to celebrate its best, let's take a moment to recognize a few of those who made it possible. No, not the coaches and fans who selected the teams for Sunday's All-Star Game in Phoenix. Rather, the players who make the All-Stars look even better by comparison -- the Anti-All-Stars.
Simply put, these are the players (and coach) who have failed to deliver on the floor and, in a few cases, in the locker room. Despite excluding the two bad-boy, deactivated point guards (you can sit down now, Mr. Marbury and Mr. Tinsley), there were plenty of options from which to select this year's honorees. On to the "winners."
PG: Baron Davis, Clippers
It took only a handful of games for the freewheeling Davis to clash with his more buttoned-down coach, Mike Dunleavy, over the Clippers' offensive philosophy. The two would clear the air, but Davis' struggles mirror his team's. The 10-year veteran is shooting a career-low 35.2 percent from the field, the worst mark among the 122 players who qualify on the NBA leaderboard. And his dismal 28.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc hasn't stopped Davis from launching 5.5 three-pointers per game. The Clippers, who enter the All-Star break with a 13-40 record, expected much more after signing Davis to a five-year, $65 million contract last offseason.
SG: Tracy McGrady, Rockets
Given his statistical decline and frequent absences, and the Rockets' 12-6 record without him, criticism of the seven-time All-Star has become increasingly pointed. Teammate Ron Artest recently challenged McGrady to improve his "inconsistent" defense, and earlier this season some in the Houston media accused T-Mac of quitting on the Rockets during a bad loss at Toronto. Slowed by a knee injury, the 29-year-old McGrady is shooting a career-worst 38.8 percent from the field and his scoring average of 15.6 is his lowest since 1999-2000. There was no better example of his lack of explosiveness than last week's botched breakaway dunk at Milwaukee.
SF: Mike Miller, Timberwolves
Miller wasn't expected to be a savior after he was acquired in the Kevin Love-O.J. Mayo draft-night swap, but Minnesota was counting on more than 10.6 points per 36 minutes of play and a career-low 9.1 points overall. The 28-year-old swingman is shooting a respectable 47.2 percent from the field, but he has often looked tentative in passing up shots that he seemingly had little trouble pulling the trigger on in the past. Miller's 34.2 percent accuracy from three-point range is a career low, well off his 40.3 percent mark in his first eight seasons.
PF: Shawn Marion, Heat
You have to wonder if somewhere in the back of his mind, Marion doesn't regret pushing for a trade from the Suns. Phoenix's up-tempo style was a good fit for his talents, and helped him average at least 17 points and nine rebounds for seven consecutive seasons. In Miami, where the Heat play at the league's ninth-slowest pace, Marion is the proverbial fish out of water, too small to bang for shots deep in the post and not enough of a ball handler to create his own offense. "You can't score without shooting," Marion told the Palm Beach Post last month. "I'm getting five shots a night. What's that going to do?" It's getting Marion 12.0 points a game, a 20.5 percent shooting mark from three-point range and a place on the trade block as the Heat consider dealing the Matrix and his $17.8 million expiring contract before next Thursday's trading deadline.
C: Samuel Dalembert, Sixers
Before the season, Dalembert said, "Personally, I expect to be an All-Star this year." Nice sentiment, but the inconsistent 7-footer hasn't measured up: He is averaging 6.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks and playing nearly nine fewer minutes than last season (down to 24.6 from 33.2) . Dalembert struggled right from the start as he and the 76ers adjusted to power forward Elton Brand's arrival. But with Brand now out for the season, there is more room to operate for Dalembert, who responded last week with 18 points and 20 rebounds against Indiana -- an All-Star-type performance, at least for one game.