Rafe Bartolomew wrote in his famous book, “Pacific Rims: Beermen Ballin’ in Flip-Flops and the Philippines’ Unlikely Love Affair with Basketball“, about Roselle “Roe” Ellis’ frustration on Alaska players when he was playing with them as an import, which I am assuming was in 2007. Roe was madly concern as his local teammates were not really serious in getting the job done and win games. One statement of Roe that darted Willie Miller’s way was this:
“Willie thinks he’s a star, but if he’s so great why he has been traded two times?”
Roe’s evaluation of a PBA star player weighed on how a team valued a player and not trade him to other teams. A star player, in this case, may play for a team for the rest of his career or for a long time and have supporting role players built around him, at least in his prime.
In a new book, Scorecasting, the authors defined an NBA star player as someone who has been voted within the top ten of the MVP balloting in a given season. Wages of Wins, a blog about NBA players production metric evaluates a star player according to the player’s wins produced.
Let us focus on Roe’s measure. During that time, Miller has played with Red Bull and Talk and Text before coming into the Alaska’s roster. As of this writing, Miller is playing for Barangay Ginebra Kings, his fourth team in his 10th PBA season. On the other hand, Willie has garnered 12 PBA awards including winning the MVP twice, two Best Player of Conferences and various Mythical Team memberships.
Currently, there are many PBA players who have been traded with four different teams. As shown in the word cloud below, created from Wordle, Willie Miller is in the company of many, with Rich Alvarez and Mark Telan as top honors for having played for seven teams.
So who are the star players according to Roe? I offer the graph below of some notable PBA players. With this, we can see that a star player is a PBA player:
- who has not been traded
- who has been traded once
- who has been playing/played for a PBA franchise for a long time even when traded at least two times
Jimmy Alapag and Harvey Carey has only played with Talk and Text in their eight years in the league. Likewise with Caguiao and Helterbrand, playing only for Ginebra, though they differ in number of years. Eric Menk has stayed put also with Ginebra for ten years now. Kerby, PJ Simon and James Yap have been playing together with the B-MEG/Purefoods team for a long time. Kerby
and PJ have has been traded once while James and PJ have not been on the trading block. For thirteen years, Danny I has been with SMB and has not been traded since. Dondon Hontiveros, traded to SMB when Tanduay disbanded, and Danny Seigle were traded recently by SMB to Air21 yet their long tenures at SMB qualifies them as star players. Sonny Thoss has played with Alaska only for seven years.
An important observation with these “star” players is that the team they play or played for has been a contender in the past PBA seasons. The teams they play or they played for were always on the run for the crown. Looking at a star player to play for good amount of years for a team may give stability and contention for PBA championships.
Roe’s definition of a star player in the PBA maybe justified. However, this may not be the only way to evaluate who can be considered a star player since Miller has garnered awards more than the players indicated in the graph above. There will be a lot of opinions on how to measure who is a PBA star player or not. It can be based on the number of championships won or based on the individual awards received or statistical production on the floor.
The discussion above was, who is the star player according to Roe. Join in the discussion, who is the star player according to You?