The NBA All-Star Game reserves were unveiled last Thursday (Feb. 3rd) on TNT. With all the talent in the NBA and only seven reserve spots to fill by head coaches of the Eastern and Western conference there will be some players that are deserving that will be left off the team. However this year there were some glaring omissions which makes you wonder if all the head coaches even voted. Below are some of the players that should have been All-Stars this season.
Beginning with the Eastern Conference you can’t go wrong with the starters the fans voted in: LeBron James, D-Wade, Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudamire are all deserving. The reserves that were chosen were only from three teams. Eastern Conference coaches cannot vote for their own players so the results were a little surprising. The entire Boston Celtics starting lineup minus Shaq (Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett) was selected, Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, Atlanta Hawks Al Horford and Joe Johnson round out the East reserves.
The argument can be made that Bosh shouldn’t be on the team and somebody has to be better than Ray Allen and Al Horford, right? Looking at the teams in the East, Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls had so many mysterious injuries that kept him out of action that he can’t complain, a case could be made for Raymond Felton of the New York Knicks, but his production started to decline in January, Andrew Bogut in Milwaukee? The team has been disappointing and Bogut isn’t putting up the numbers he did in his breakout year last season. Who else in the East is in the top ten to fifteen in scoring? Danny Granger in Indiana? Stephen Jackson in Charlotte? Both of those teams are inconsistent. So while it may look like the Boston Celtics versus the West All-Stars late in the first quarter on Sunday February 20th, in a testament to how weak the Eastern Conference is after the top four teams, I think the coaches got it right.
Looking at the Western Conference, here is where it gets ridiculous. Again, the fans got four out of five right in the starters: Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant deserve to go, but Yao Ming has been out of action since November. There was no other center in the Western Conference that could have been voted in? Congrats to Blake Griffin on making the team as a rookie.
The fact that Kevin Love was not voted in as a starter or selected as a reserve initially is a travesty. I, like Charles Barkley, do not believe a team’s record should go against a player. Love is leading the NBA in rebounding with over 15 a game. That is Dennis Rodman numbers. The last time he did not have a double-double (double figure points and rebounds) was November 19th! Sure Minnesota only won 11 games to this point, Love has three games with 30 points and 20 rebounds this year! He shoots threes like a shooting guard. Thankfully Commissioner David Stern did the right thing and in about 24 hours, too. Which means he was probably equally shocked. Still I wonder how Love feels to be added as a replacement. Hey, Ray Allen made the All-Star team twice that way and he’s not complaining. Okay, lets move on to the true snubs:
If the coaches are going to vote another Laker on the team it should be Lamar Odom, not Pau Gasol. Odom has been consistently good, foul on “Big Baby” Glen Davis at halfcourt at the end of the first half last Sunday (Jan. 30) against the Celtics aside. In that same game Kevin Garnett was constantly beating Gasol and Andrew Bynum down the floor for easy baskets. Those guys stopped playing.
LaMarcus Aldridge has carried the Portland Trailblazers this season without leading scorer Brandon Roy. The fact that Portland has a winning record without their superstar should have stamped a ticket for Aldridge and keep coach Nate McMillan open for Coach of the Year consideration. Tim Duncan, who made the team, is not even the second best player on the squad (Tony Parker holds that honor) and his scoring numbers are way below his career average.
Because the West is still heavy on guards, Monta Ellis, Steve Nash and the aforementioned Parker were left off. Ellis is automatically the more egregious of the two snubs. He has single-handedly been responsible for over half of Golden State’s 19 wins to this point including their most recent triumph over Milwaukee (Feb 3rd). In spite of that, who i he going to replace? Hard to argue with Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams here.
Unless the rosters are expanded to 15 players instead of 12, the Western Conference will have this problem every year. It is rare that all the players chosen for baseball’s All-Star team get to play. With the amount of TV timeouts I am sure the coaches can get 15 players some burn in the All-Star game.
Let’s see if David Stern makes this happen.