Melo was vital to Nuggets’ success

By By Marco Villano and By Marco Villano

By Marco Villano

When I think of this, I get a sharp pain in my stomach, but I need to get it off my chest.

OK, here it goes8212;Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony was the biggest All-Star snub of the 2008-09 NBA season.

Yup I said it8212;the same guy that was suspended for the first two games this season for a DUI. The same off-and-on punk from Syracuse that once upon a time sucker-punched Mardy Collins in the face, then ran away like a third-grader.

Yeah, that guy. And here’s why.

An All-Star should be defined as someone who helps his team to the point that the team would suffer greatly without him. ‘Melo fills that void for his team and although he’s missed 15 games this season, the latest due to a broken hand, he should be playing in Phoenix on Feb. 15.

‘Melo injured his hand Jan. 5 and was sidelined for 10 games. At that point in the season, his Nuggets were in second place in the Western Conference at 25-12, but during his absence they went 6-4, dropping one spot in the standings. As a result, the playoff race has become a lot more interesting with the No. 7 seed in the West only three and a half games behind the Nuggets.

In first place in the Northwest Division, the Nuggets would not be in this position if it weren’t for Anthony.

The former No. 3 overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft is averaging 21 points, 7.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game this season. New Orleans Hornets forward David West, also in his fifth NBA season, took the final forward position on the Western Conference’s roster, making him a coach’s pick.

With his staggering 19 points and seven rebounds per game, I could see why they would pick West over ‘Melo8212;wait, that doesn’t make sense.

And apparently it didn’t to the fans either, as “Melo received 1,337,519 votes from fans, fifth on the list of forwards and about 130,000 short of surprising starter Amare Stoudemire.

I took a look at the other three forwards that made the All-Star team over Anthony.

The two fan picks were Tim Duncan and Amare Stoudemire. Duncan was a lock, but Stoudemire got lucky8212;his numbers are not exceptional at 17 points and 7.7 rebounds per game8212;because the All-Star game is being played in Phoenix.

So that leaves it up to the coaches to pick someone that should have been No. 2 in the fan vote behind Kobe Bryant, but instead had less votes than Anthony8212;Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki. Nowitzki is averaging a hair under 26 points per game and is one of the best players to watch with his combination of height and range. I’m not sure how he dropped to a coach’s pick, but I digress. With that being said, Duncan deserves to be a starter, as well as Nowitzki, and ‘Melo should have taken the spot of either Stoudemire or West8212;most likely West.

West is averaging fewer points and the same amount of boards per game as Anthony, and his two assists per game couldn’t have swayed the votes of the coaches. Maybe it’s because he’s played in 39 games this season compared to Anthony’s 32, but surely those seven games couldn’t have made that much of a difference.

My conclusion: West has a better image and is a more likeable character than ‘Melo. With it being a toss up, the selection should have gone to the guy with the better average, but the coaches used ‘Melo’s time off because of a broken hand as an excuse not to vote for him.

[email protected]

Marco Villano