Who are this season’s BBL All Stars?

Remember when the All Star Game that Nick Nurse coveted most took place in venues then called the NIA, the MetroArena and the MEN?

It’s a ten years since the British Basketball League’s mid-season gathering of its great and good last took place, abandoned due to a diminishing return on investment in its cost and a lack of enthusiasm from players with the removal of additional financial incentives for taking part.

Its zenith – in my humble opinion – was the 1999 edition in Newcastle with Ted Berry hit 29 points but the South, helmed by Billy Mims, edged Nurse’s northerners 158-156.

A veritable A-List cast in an era where it was infinitely more common to see Americans remain in the UK for multiple seasons (and, yes, there wasn’t a single Brit in either line-up).

Amid Covid, the NBA All Star Game still proceeded last weekend.

This would definitely not be the year to revive the BBL All Star clash, as much as the idea has been intermittently re-floated over the past decade.

But, it’s as good a time as any to ask: ‘What would the two teams look like in 2021?’

When the last one was staged, it had moved to a Great Britain vs Rest of the World format but North against South was infinitely more fun.

Among the eleven clubs, there is an obvious geographic “northerliness” that starts above Leicester so that’s our arbitrary cut-off.

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But how to pick the team?

Rather than going for personal choice, let’s use the best available metric.

PER (Player Efficiency Rating)

With a few qualifications. A player needs to have started the majority of his team’s league games. And played more than 20 minutes on average (inevitably one and the same). Plus they must still be in the country (sorry, Breaon Brady).

We’re also capping by position – 2 smalls, 3 bigs for starters. And five reserves of any mix.

That’s it.

So here are MVP’s BBL All Stars 2021.

Back court: Jeremy Hemsley, Kahron Ross

Front court: Ron Delph, Jimbo Lull, Antwon Lillard

Reserves: Jordan Whelan, Evan Maxwell, Justin Gordon, Rahmon Fletcher, Jalen Hayes

Sharks star Hemsley is the highest-ranked PER-wise among the five northern clubs, weighted towards his shooting percentage. In a starting line-up, Rocks big Delph might seem an outlier for the strugglers but his shooting and blocks propel him upwards. Newcastle have three reserves but Cortez Edwards just misses out with Brady’s decision to go home blowing up his chances despite topping the rebounding charts in pure numbers.

Back court: Geno Crandall, Justin Robinson

Front court: Marcus Delpeche, Chris Taiwah, Darien Nelson-Henry

Reserves: William Lee, DeAndre Liggins, Dirk Williams, Mike Morsell, Connor Cashaw

Yes, the Lion who might be the league’s MVP is on the bench. Phenomenal all-round but the former NBAer is trumped in efficiency by Bristol’s Marcus Delpeche and his own team-mate Chris Taiwah.

Crandall leads the BBL in PER at 28.5 – five points to the good over the Flyers goliath.

And although Brandon Anderson of Worcester is 12th ranked he hasn’t played enough with his late arrival to be eligible, leaving the Wolves as the lone team without an All Star.


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