The All-Star game is right around the bend, and the starters have been named. (Long live AI!) The reserves, though, have yet to be chosen.
Do I have opinions about who should be picked? Of course. Am I going to share them with you? Absolutely. I’ll go with the East today, the West tomorrow.
And here we go…
Rajon Rondo – Watching Rondo play every night this season, it should be impossible for him to be left off the team. Not only is he first in the NBA in steals and third in assists, but he’s a game-changer each night on both ends. I would even argue Rondo has been the C’s MVP so far. He’s been that good.
Joe Johnson – Another no-brainer. Johnson is the best player on the Eastern Conference’s rising contender. He’s a matchup nightmare and his team’s unquestioned go-to guy. He makes shots, finds open teammates, and helps his team win games. Enough said.
Chris Bosh – In a just world, Bosh would be starting the game in Kevin Garnett’s place. But All-Star voting is anything but just, and Bosh will have to settle for being a reserve. Bosh could stand to play a little (read: a lot) more defense, but he’s done everything else to help Toronto win games: 23.9 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 52.4% shooting.
Josh Smith – The difference between Smith this season and Smith last season is what has HASN’T done, rather than what he HAS done. Smith hasn’t jacked up bad shots, he hasn’t become enamored with the three-point line, and he hasn’t given anyone a good reason to keep him off the All-Star team. He could always fill up a box score, but Smith is just now beginning to realize that sometimes basketball’s about a lot more than well-rounded statistics.
Gerald Wallace – To average 11.1 rpg as a 6’7″ small forward is simply silly. That he added 3.3 boards on top of his previous career-high average in his ninth season is nothing short of ludicrous. But to do all that while spearheading perhaps the top defense in the NBA and leading the Charlotte Bobcats to a surprising 21-21 record? That’s All-Star worthy.
Paul Pierce – Stats-wise, Pierce hasn’t had his best season. His numbers are down almost across the board. But he’s leading the Celtics in scoring and doing it in a cooly efficient manner, including a scorching 47.0% from behind the arc.
Joakim Noah – You might think I’m nuts for this pick, but hear me out. There are plenty of centers in discussion to be an East reserve but, really, none is truly worthy. A lot of people will say David Lee, due to his 19.2 ppg and 11.4 rpg, but I’m here to remind you that there are two sides to the game of basketball. Of all the centers being talked about in the East, Lee is the worst defensively. And, in my eyes at least, it’s not even close. Noah has done everything the Bulls could possibly want from him. He rebounds, plays ‘D’, is an underrated passer, and can even score a little bit. Besides Noah, Kendrick Perkins and Al Horford are both viable options to be picked. Really, as long as Lee doesn’t win it, I’ll be happy. Please, coaches, value defense and winning above gaudy statistics.
Andre Iguodala, Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, Kendrick Perkins, Al Horford, Mo Williams