Allen Iverson is on medical leave from Turkey. Before that, you have to go back to 2002 and Dikembe Mutombo to find the last Sixers All-Star. So, it’s been awhile.
For the fifth straight season, the Sixers will not be represented in the NBA All-Star game. Coach Doug Collins believes it’s a sign of his team’s increasingly effective balance. But he’s also aware that playing without a true star can prevent teams from being elite.
“That can also pose problems sometimes, where you need that key basket, maybe you don’t have that 20-something point per game scorer,” Collins said. “So it can work both ways.”
Andre Iguodala is the Sixers’ closest thing. Not because of his inconsistent offensive game, but because of his status as an elite defender and distributor. Iguodala has always longed to be recognized as an All-Star, but quickly realized it wouldn’t happen this year.
“I knew the way we started out, that wouldn’t be a possibility. But it would be a possibility for our team to improve,” Iguodala said. “So we got that part of the job done, which is more important.”
The Sixers have certainly improved. They have gone 24-16 since that 3-13 start, including wins in 10 of their last 14 games. The style of playing without an All-Star is working.
“We play a system where everybody touches the ball and it’s not dominated by any one person,” Collins said. “The basketball is meant to be shared and that’s what were trying to do.”
Holiday trying to have fun
The Sixers might not have an All-Star, but they’ll have a presence at All-Star Weekend.
Jrue Holiday will play in the Rookie Challenge, which pits the NBA’s top nine rookies versus the top nine sophomores. He’ll be playing for the sophomore team.
“I know everybody out there is going to go for MVP or whatever, but I’ll just really try to have fun,” he said.
Holiday, who is from L.A. and played at UCLA, said he’s “ecstatic” about playing in his hometown.