All-Star: With Wade injured, Silver has choice between Korver and Knight

jacob eisenbergNBA: Washington Wizards at Atlanta HawksWell, it happened. The Eastern Conference coaches left Kyle Korver off the All Star team. The boss vented on Twitter.

However, if things proceed as they should, Adam Silver can right the wrong and send four Hawks to represent the Eastern Conference in New York.

On Thursday, Dwyane Wade told the media that he was “going to be out for a little while.” That will include the All Star game. So now Adam Silver gets to choose Wade’s replacement.

For Silver, it’s a fairly interesting choice if he’s considering appeal for playoff ratings. With Korver, the more deserving of the two candidates, Silver can ameliorate the buzz surrounding Atlanta by having four All-Stars on one team. That’s a great publicity to the fans of the NBA in the playoffs. In the last 10 years, only the 2011 Celtics (Rondo, Allen, Pierce, Garnett) and the 2006 Pistons (Billups, Hamilton, Wallace, Wallace) have had four All-Stars.

The Hawks are a good team. A historically good team for the season’s first half, judging by the longest winning streaks in NBA history:

18 game win streaks NBA history

However, with the Hawks already generating plenty of attention from the basketball community, Silver may want to distribute the wealth of attention to other teams in the Eastern Conference. In Milwaukee’s Brandon Knight, Silver could grant star recognition to player who is poised to lead his team to the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks are a good team. They’re one of only two teams to have defeated the Hawks in Atlanta’s 32-2 streak — and Milwaukee’s win was an eye opening 30-point blow out on the road. Knight’s having a nice season and his team has legitimate upset potential in the playoffs if given the right matchup.

So the question becomes: is Silver ready to double down on Atlanta as the Eastern Conference’s team of 2015 or would he prefer to promote and reward the underdogs of Milwaukee.

Knight puts up more points (17.9) and assists (5.2) per game than Korver and is tied with the same amount of rebounds per game (4.2).

Still, Knight’s season, in comparison to other point guard’s around the league, is merely above average. Knight doesn’t place within the top 25 in either points per game or assists per game around the league and probably doesn’t crack the list of top-10 point guards in the league. He’s certainly not a top four point guard in the Eastern Conference (Wall, Lowry, Teague, Irving.)

Meanwhile, Korver’s season in comparison to other shooters is unprecedentedly historic. No player with enough shot attempts for qualification has finished the season with 50% shooting from the field, 50% shooting from three and 90% shooting from the free throw line. If Korver missed his next 35 three point attempts, he’d still be leading the league from distance at 47%. If he missed his next 100 three point attempts, he’d still be shooting a better percentage from deep than James Harden, Dirk Nowitzki or Damian Lillard. He’s the only wing player ranked in the top-15 in field goal percentage and is averaging 1.64 points for every shot attempt. That rate is surpassed by only DeAndre Jordan and Tyson Chandler, who both generate 90% of their offense from dunks.

Simply put, no shooter has ever been this hot for this long and this dominant over the rest of the league. If you gameplan to shutdown Korver, he’s crafty and smart enough to find the open man with a good pass. The Hawks are at their best when Korver is on the court and there is a very serious argument to be made that he is actually their MVP for what he brings them in terms of offensive efficiency and spacing.

For those reasons, it is Korver — not Knight — who should be an All-Star.

Jacob Eisenberg is a college senior at Emory University and covers the NBA for Follow him on Twitter and check out his website.



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