Bill Simmons: Anderson Varejao, starting PF for the East All-Stars

In his latest feature on, Bill Simmons gives us his opinion on who should make up the NBA All-Star team from both conferences. In a somewhat surprising decision, the Sports Guy lists Anderson Varejao as his starting PF for the East. He writes:

As for that fifth spot: I love the way Varejao is playing this season … and if you enjoy guys who put up 11 points and 12 rebounds every night, grab every big rebound in traffic, take monster charges again and again and shut down opposing big guys, you should, too. Isn’t the whole point of the All-Star Game to pick players who are playing as well as they can possibly play? I never watch Chris Bosh and say, “Whoa, Chris Bosh! He’s something! He’s really turned it on!” Why do I have to pick Bosh as a starter again? And also, why should THREE Miami Heat players be starting on the All-Star team? You don’t find this a little kooky? Are they the ’96 Bulls or something? Please. Besides, Varejao has been more of an impact player this year — he’s the best at what he does, and that’s saying something. You win with what he does.

Sign me up. Who am I to argue?

For the record, I am not of the opinion that Varejao should be an All-Star. I frequently see Chris Bosh making impact plays for the Heat. LeBron thinks he’s the easy target on that team? Chris Bosh is the guy everyone makes fun of despite the fact he was the most consistent Heat player in the Finals last year and has had an all around excellent season this year.

Varejao has played Center all year, and I think Howard and Hibbert are more deserving centers. But if you want to know why Anderson Varejao matters to the Cavaliers and why the Cavaliers shouldn’t trade him, read that paragraph from Simmons again. It’s nice to see Varejao finally getting some recognition for the way he plays this game.

[ The Sports Guy’s NBA All-Star Team]

  • Steve

    It’s tough to make the “he wins” argument for a guy on a 10-14 team over the 19-7 team. And I don’t buy the “best at what he does” argument either. JJ Redick is the best FT shooter in the league, but he’s not making the all-star game. Does Varejao provide more total value than all but a couple big men in the East? With Howard, Hibbert, Chandler, Bosh, Smith, and even Monroe, I have to go with a “no” pretty easily. He’s still a damn good player though.

    And this excerpt makes me glad to have stopped reading Simmons a while ago. This kind of biased and poorly-reasoned analysis allows you to get almost free reign at ESPN and a NYT bestselling book on basketball? On top of my previous criticisms, yes, if you have three of the best twelve players in the conference, you get three all-stars.

  • Grif_E

    I’m glad it’s a glass half full kind of day and this quote made me laugh instead of indignant.

    even Roy Hibbert can’t believe he made it over Anderson Varejao thanks to a little-known “When in doubt, kick the city of Cleveland in the balls” rule that covers all American team sports (including the MLS).”

  • Max

    anyone who criticizes Simmons’ writing for being “biased” or “poorly” reasoned needs to relax a little. I’m pretty sure the reason he became so popular was because he had a different slant on things, never hid his homerism, made up all sorts of fake trades and scenarios most of us never even considered, an never once presented himself as some sort of “authority”

    Then all of a sudden, lots of people start coming out of the woodwork complaining about how he is biased (water is wet–news flash) or makes up complete and total BS craziness that is not well researched (grass called, it is still green.

    Its supposed to be silly. That’s the point. 

    He’s nowhere near as good as he used to be, but it’s not like he’s any different either.

  • Tom Pestak

    For us, Varejao is everything we want in a player.  Defensive master, bring your hardhat and lunchpail to work, consummate teammate, doesn’t try to do things he’s not great at, and underdog on the court.  To guys like Simmons, I think Varejao represents an earlier, more “pure” view of the game of basketball.  He’s the guy that knows how to play.  vs the guy that knows how to run, or knows how to jump, or knows how to shoot.  He just knows how to play.  He’s the guy you always want on your team but its not apparently obvious until you’ve been on the court with him or against him.  I love Varejao and hope we never trade him.  Throw out the fact that I believe he will be a crucial part of the rebuilding process and will add value for many more years – at some point, it’s a game, and it exists in the state it does because we pay for it as entertainment.  I enjoy watching Varejao play – and to trade him for assets would just really turn me off.  It would be like what the Indians did when they got rid of Vizquel to make room for Jhonny only like 10x worse.

  • Steve

    Doesn’t present himself as an authority? Trades and scenarios we never considered? What? We’re still talking about Bill Simmons, right? Does he still think he can run a NBA team?

    Look, I get the appeal of Bill Simmons, its like sports talk radio. It requires no actual thought to follow, and the wilder and crazier the idea, the more welcome it is. But it doesn’t pass for anything useful.

    And that he’s not any different either is an understatement. He wasn’t any different three years ago than he was six to eight years ago. And by not any different, i mean he was the same thin-skinned guy using the exact same jokes and references.

  • crowsfoot

    Anderson doesn’t need to waste his time at All Star Weekend. He’d be out of place trying to play his game at that yearly, go-through-the-motions dunkfest. Real basketball junkies know he’s the hardest working man in the league – just watch a free throw attempt on any other televised pro game and show me one player as determined as he is to get posession of the ball on every shot. I rest my case…

  • sweg

    For whatever complaints people have about Simmons, he does get basketball.  It’s probably not worth much to Andy, but at least one media personality recognizes his contribution.

  • porkchopxpress

    I agree that his columns run a thin, generally the same 3-4 movies (always Shawshank) used to make points about life/sports.
    That being said his book of basketball is as good as anything this side of Pluto’s Loose Balls, and unlike every other talking head at ESPN he has no problem making fun of himself when one of his predictions goes wrong, heck he even posts at least one or two “You’re FOS Simmons emails in his mailbags.

    Point being I find him alot like Howard Stern; nitchy, occassionally brilliant, often insightful, but always needed to be taken with a grain of salt.

  • Jaker

    The NBA is the only league that doesn’t have a TON of All Stars. MLB has like 35 per team, with one from every organization. So many guys back out of the Pro Bowl, whether in the SB or not, so plenty more get added in, even if they dont deserve it (Dalton, really? He’s ok, not a Pro Bowler). Why doesnt the NBA expand the rosters to say 15 or 18? 3 deep at each position and maybe and extra 1-2?

    I think that would be great, because AV would def make it and there would be less controversy over who missed out