Ask Mike D’Antoni, and no, the Rockets don’t speak much about the Warriors. Solicit one from his players
“You generally need to center around them since they’ve been to the Finals three years in succession they’re as yet one of the groups you generally need to center around,” Rockets watch Eric Gordon said Saturday at NBA All-Star media day. “They’re not by any means the only group we’re concentrating on, however we realize that we could meet them in the Western Conference finals.”
Gordon was there on the grounds that he was partaking in the 3-point challenge. Sunday night, however, the group with the NBA’s best record may be spoken to by one All-Star: James Harden. The Warriors, then again, have four.
“They ought to have four,” said D’Antoni, who will mentor Team Steph in the exhibit, including Harden and three Warriors. “They’re the world champs. So that doesn’t trouble me. Presently, we ought to have two, at any rate, so – ”
Paul’s case was an intriguing one. He’s been undeniably excellent — when he’s played. But for the second year in a row, the superstar point guard was omitted from the All-Star Game because of health. Paul is averaging 19.2 points, 8.3 assists and 5.7 rebounds a game with his usual excellent efficiency, but he’s also missed 18 of the Rockets’ 57 games.
Then again, they’re 33-6 with him and 11-7 without. And it’s basically impossible to argue that he’s not one of the 24 best players in the league — or even one of the 12 best in the loaded Western Conference. Fun argument in Paul’s favor: More than half the selected All-Stars in this year’s field have played in fewer wins than him, though they’ve all played in more games. In other words, if Paul had played in 10 more games and the Rockets had gone 0-10 in those games, he’d probably be an All-Star right now.
Team success doesn’t equal All-Star bids, but the math is weird. The Warriors have had the best record at the break each of the past three seasons and had at least two All-Stars each time. The last time a team with the best record at the All-Star break only had one player in the game? That would be 2010, when LeBron James led the Cavaliers to a 43-11 mark at the break and had no coworkers selected with him to the game, despite Shaquille O’Neal and Mo Williams having made it the year before.