While its not quite an all-star selection, it's nice to see Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph gets some well deserved national recognition. Randolph was selected as the Western Conference player of the month based on his performance in 17 January games. LeBron James of the Miami Heat received the same honor for the Eastern Conference.
Randolph put up averages of 22.4 points and 14.2 rebounds in the month of January, while shooting 48% from the field and posting 14 straight double-doubles. While those are spectacular numbers, they are not all that different from his season averages. The additional two points is probably what made him a prime candidate for the award - as well as the Grizzlies' 11-6 record - but on the year Zach is one of only five players in the league averaging 20+ points and 10+ rebounds - he's averaging 20.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per contest.
The only other players with similar averages are Kevin Love, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin and Carlos Boozer. Three of those guys are all-stars and the other, Boozer, would be one had he not missed a good part of the year due to injuries. The most notable player to make the all-star team over Randolph is Tim Duncan, who is averaging 13 points and nine rebounds on the year. All-star selections are supposed to be based on individual performance, which makes a Duncan over Randolph selection somewhat insane.
But so goes the life of a player on the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis is not one of then nation's top markets, the Grizzlies aren't one of the league's top teams and rather than getting his 20-10 with insane alley-oops or gobs of rebounds, Randolph simply does the dirty work - getting offensive rebounds and putbacks galore - to get his numbers. Though Randolph is just as or even more productive and effective than the other four 20-10 guys in the league, his style of play wasn't enough to attract the attention of coaches that voted the all-star reserves.
I think Grizzlies fans can understand seeing Griffin and Love making the all-star team. They have both been excellent individually, sometimes carrying their whole team every night, even if neither of their clubs is all that successful. But nobody in their right mind could justify placing Duncan on the all-star team over Randolph. The only advantage Duncan has over Randolph is his team's record and, again, that shouldn't matter when selecting players for an all-star game, an event designed to showcase player's individual talents.
Barring injury, Randolph will likely be at home during all-star weekend, but at least he'll be up for another Conference Player of the Month award. Randolph is currently averaging 25 and 14 in three February games while shooting 58% from the field.