All-Star Reserves AnnouncedTNT'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.
posted by David Friedman @ 12:31 AM