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Friday, January 30, 2009

All-Star Reserves Announced

TNT's pregame show about the All-Star reserves being announced kicked off with a very interesting comment by Kenny Smith: he said that being selected as an All-Star is a great honor and that this is a special night for those players, so he would never say who should not have made the team, though he may bring up the names of some players who were also worthy of consideration. I think that Smith provided an excellent perspective about how to view this whole All-Star selection process; it is not cool to disrespect anyone who made the All-Star team but it is perfectly acceptable to mention other players who are also worthy of being honored.

Chauncey Billups, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Shaquille O'Neal, Tony Parker, Brandon Roy and David West are this year's All-Star reserves for the West, as selected by the coaches. Interestingly, those are the exact seven players who Smith chose during last week's TNT pregame show about the All-Star starters and those are also the exact seven players who I selected. Obviously, since I agree with all of those choices I don't really have anything to add to what I wrote last week.

Chris Bosh, Danny Granger, Devin Harris, Joe Johnson, Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson and Paul Pierce are this year's All-Star reserves for the East. Chris Webber and Gary Payton each chose six of these seven players, while Kenny Smith and I only selected four of them. There is not a true center in the group that the coaches chose, which is why I nominated Zydrunas Ilgauskas. That said, I almost feel like taking a bit of a mulligan regarding my selections last week, because I left Chris Bosh off of my list and upon further consideration I really feel like he does belong on the team. So, even though the coaches' selections do not exactly match my original list I must say that the seven players who made the team are all indeed quite worthy of the honor. Sticking to Smith's credo, rather than disrespecting anyone from that group I will simply reiterate why some other players also could have been selected:

Zydrunas Ilgauskas is the second best center in the East. While the Cavs have certainly weathered the injury storm since he has been sidelined by a broken bone in his foot, they are not nearly as dominant as they were with him in the lineup, as shown not only by their won-loss record but also by the stark decline in their point differential during his absence. Sticking to the literal guidelines that the reserve squad should have one center, he would have been the most logical choice at that position.

Mo Williams has made a major difference for Cleveland this year. His ability to score and be a playmaker has taken a lot of pressure off of LeBron James and Williams has also proven to be a much better defender than advertised. The Cavs probably would not be contending for the best record in the NBA without his contributions.

Vince Carter has seemingly been cast aside in terms of national recognition but he is still a highly productive player. He is actually shooting better from the field and from three point range than Harris while only averaging .1 ppg fewer than his new teammate, who certainly deserves his first All-Star selection. It is tough to vote for two All-Stars from a sub-.500 team but Carter is playing at an All-Star level this season.

Ray Allen is actually playing better this season than he did last year, when he earned his eighth All-Star selection as an injury replacement and then almost won the All-Star Game MVP. Taking nothing away from Orlando's worthy All-Star trio, it is interesting that among the Champion Celtics, Finalist Lakers, perennial contender Cavs and rising Magic only Orlando placed three players in the All-Star Game this year.

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posted by David Friedman @ 12:31 AM

6 comments

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6 Comments:

At Friday, January 30, 2009 2:12:00 AM, Blogger Steve said...

Good choices in both conferences.

I agree that Mo Williams probably should have made the team. Like you said, his stats are down, but he's a key reason why the Cavs are running away with the Central Division and have the 2nd best record in the league.

I also think Ray Allen should have made the squad. He's having a terrific season for the best team in basketball.

My only complaints really with the official results are David West and Rashard Lewis. West because it doesn't make sense to me in that Carmelo is having a better year. Sure he's been injured, but still. David West? Lewis just because I feel Allen should be there over him.

I found it very interesting that two of the best PGs in the NBA (Kidd and Nash) both didn't make the team. And they were both starting these games not too long ago and now they can't even get on as reserves.

It's ironic that the player Kidd was traded for, Harris, did make it.

 
At Friday, January 30, 2009 8:51:00 AM, Blogger Joel said...

I would have taken Al Jefferson or maybe Paul Millsap over David West based on their performances this season. Like Steve, I would have chosen Ray Allen over Rashard Lewis as well. Those are the only picks by the coaches that are different from mine.

 
At Friday, January 30, 2009 11:45:00 PM, Blogger Steve said...

I agree Joel.

West in the game just seems really wrong to me.

Millsap has the stats but his team record hurt him. Another name that comes to mind is Durant. He has great stats and his team is playing much better as of late.

And what about Carmelo? Sure he was injured, but is he not one of the best 12 players in the western conference?

 
At Saturday, January 31, 2009 2:23:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Steve/Joel:

At this point I still think that West is a more skillful player than Jefferson, though Jefferson is certainly continuing to improve. Jefferson is an All-Star caliber player but I don't have a problem with West being selected.

As for Durant, he really has only been playing at an All-Star level since Carlesimo was fired and Coach Brooks finally switched him to sf, a move that I advocated from day one of Durant's career. If Durant plays like this the rest of the season and then starts out strongly next year then he definitely merits consideration but right now I would not take him over the players who were selected--or even some of the guys who did not make the team, such as Jefferson.

I've never been a big fan of Melo as an NBA player. He did a great job leading Syracuse to the NCAA title and he really showcased an all-around game as a scorer, rebounder and passer but in the pros he has focused much more on scoring than anything else. His defense is really bad and that sets the tone for everyone else on his team. He's been out for a while and it looks like his team does not even miss him. Honestly, I don't think that he is one of the 12 best players in the West.

 
At Saturday, January 31, 2009 9:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

marcel

melo is top 10 in league better than david west no doubt to me al jefferson belong over west as well or someone else shaq or gasol but he belonged on team over them 3

in the east the best celtic was ray allen this year and vince carter is playing great ball with devin haris mo willams belonged too they need to get these right they have been wrong for most part.

 
At Saturday, January 31, 2009 11:36:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Marcel:

West is a player who can score on the block or facing up, plus he rebounds, defends and is a good passer. There is no way I'd take Melo over him.

A case can certainly be made for Jefferson. As always, there are a few more All-Star caliber performers than available roster spots. I'm comfortable with who was chosen--as I said in the post, the coaches selected exactly who I would have taken in the West--but there is no doubt that Jefferson is having a good season, too.

 

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