Like Kevin Sawyer before him, Mike Payne is making the jump from frequent DBB commenter to occasional DBB guest writer. And, also like Kevin, he's stumping for Chauncey Billups to receive your All-Star vote. It's a good thing, because Chauncey needs your votes: at last check, he was sixth in the East, which is just plain wrong on so many different levels.
By Mike Payne
After spending 19 years growing up in the Detroit area, this Pistons fan spent 8 more in Chicago before moving to Iowa. On January 3rd, I caucused for Barack Obama to represent the Democratic Party as our Presidential Nominee. After a tough, close loss tonight in New Hampshire, I focus my political energies on an altogether different race: the NBA All Star Game and its representation from the Eastern Conference. I hereby submit my vote for the best point guard in the Eastern Conference, Chauncey Billups. Here's why he should earn our vote for the number one All Star point guard on our side of the NBA.
This blogger's passions are evenly split between basketball and politics. It has always come down to data -- in politics, there is likely voter polling, exit polling, and actual hard vote numbers that push a candidate over the edge. In basketball, there are hard performance numbers -- field goal percentage, assist to turnover ratios, the controversial +/- column the NBA has recently added, yet there is another, uglier side to this beast -- popularity. The All Star vote doesn't always rely on sheer performance data, as does politics. The final nomination comes down to popularity. This embodies the touchy-feely support that can't be quantified by hard numbers.
If we focus sheerly on performance data, Chauncey Billups still owns a healthy lead amongst other Eastern Conference point guards. On the season, Chauncey is out-shooting, out-assisting, out-scoring and outperforming his free throw numbers against last season -- and in less floor minutes. Chauncey is tallying a career best assist per game stat in 40 minutes, and career best pure shooting accuracy on the same timeline.
But the All Star vote should not be about individual performance. All Star voting should be based on team performance, and this player's influence on his team's record. Detroit currently holds the 2nd best record in the NBA, barely behind their growing rival the Boston Celtics. With a 76.5% win record, Chauncey Billups' Detroit Pistons are obviously regarded as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference right alongside Boston. But will Chauncey receive the leading All Star vote in this conference?
Likely not. If not Chauncey, then who? With Gilbert Arenas sidelined for most of this season, with Kirk Hinrich playing at his worst, there remains only one other Fan Favorite who could earn a starting spot over Chauncey Billups. Enter Jason Kidd, the proud finger-kissing, feminist's favorite -- whose team barely holds on to a .500 record. There has been much debate about his value within our own DBB community. While his triple double numbers continue to roll on, can NBA fans still praise Jason Kidd as an All Star? Especially over Chauncey Billups?
If it came down to pure numbers -- the performance of this season against season's past, the player's team record so far this season, there is no doubt Chauncey Billups should represent our conference as a starting point guard in the February All Star Game. Even if it came down to sporting conduct (on the court and especially off the court), Chauncey is the clear choice. But this vote will once again come down to popularity, to qualities that cannot be quantified. As the race for Presidential Nominations changed today in New Hampshire, so shall the vote for Eastern Conference All Star point guard fall to the popular status-quo.
What can you do to turn the tables in favor of change in New Orleans? What can you do to bring about positive representation in the Eastern Conference? What can you, a DBB reader, do to change the tide of popularity over performance? You can go to NBA.com, right now, and cast your vote for the best point guard in the Eastern Conference, and perhaps the most accurate point guard in the NBA. Chauncey Billups deserves our votes, Pistons fans or not. Encourage your friends, family to do the same. We owe our team's livelihood to Chauncey, it is time we share our appreciation with him in the ballots for the NBA All Star Game of 2008. Vote Today, Vote Often, Pistons Fans. Our Conference's reputation depends on it.