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Tough Juice in '07?

Truthfully all those Vitamin Water "Vote for Gilbert" signs are a little silly at this point. I mean, Gilbert's a lock. Someone needs to start a Caron Campaign. Mister Irrelevant made some noise about launching a Tough Juice '07 Web site, but I haven't heard anything. As far as I know, the leader of the Caron-for-Vegas campaign is Wizards Super Fan Wallace Barron, who was waving his sign yesterday and demanding that people vote.

Wallace Barron, leading the charge. (By Sports Bog)

"That means a lot man, just to look up and see everybody supporting you like that," Caron said of Wallace Barron's campaign. "It means a lot."

Someone asked Antawn Jamison today about Caron's absence in the voting.

"It's difficult to get an understanding of the fans' voting," Jamison said. "I'm disappointed a little bit, because he's not even in the top 10. And I've seen some of the names a couple weeks ago, and I'm like [shrugs]. But you know, the most important thing is that the coaches and the different GM's in the organizations recognize what he does out there, because there's no way, hands-down, he's not in the top two or three forwards in the Eastern Conference, or in the League, period. You know, fans, they like certain players, they tend to vote for 'em, and it wasn't shocking to me that he wasn't a top vote getter. But it was shocking to me that he wasn't even in the top 10 at all."

In fact, AP whiz and Bog tormenter Howard Fendrich wrote a long Caron profile in which he noted this:

Two NBA players are putting up at least 21.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game: Minnesota's Kevin Garnett -- no surprise there -- and Butler.

(Howard also gets on the straw-chewing bandwagon, to wit: "Here's as unusual as Butler gets: When he leaves the court for a breather, he'll sit down and reach back to grab a straw that he chews on, like gum." You're welcome, Howard.)

Anyhow, for the record, here are Caron's stats in those three categories, compared to the top 10 vote-getting forwards in the East.

1. LeBron James (26.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 6.1 apg, team is 23-15)
2. Chris Bosh (21.4 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 2.2 apg, team is 19-21)
3. Jermaine O'Neal (19.2 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 2.9 apg, team is 20-18)
4. Grant Hill (14.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.5 apg, team is 22-17)
5. Paul Pierce (26.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 4.3 apg, team is 12-25)
6. Rasheed Wallace (11.9 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.5 apg, team is 21-16)
7. Andre Iguodala (16.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.8 apg, team is 10-29)
8. Tayshaun Prince (15.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.0 apg, team is 21-16)
9. Hedo Turkoglu (11.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.2 apg, team is 22-17)
10. Emeka Okafor (14.6 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 1.2 apg, team is 12-25)
NR. Caron Butler (20.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 4.0 apg, team is 22-16)

Based strictly on the numbers, you'd say Caron should probably be no worse than fifth or sixth. He has admitted how much he'd like to be selected, and he's often talked about the differences in his game this season. Here's what he said today:

"Just trying to be more aggressive. Always prepared, that's the key, preparation. You can prepare for anything. I think I prepared myself this summer better than any summer and it's showing. I'm not second-guessing myself, I'm just playing. I'm just leaving it all out there and I'm not second-guessing myself, and that has a lot to do with this organization and the coaching staff and my teammates....If I have a bad night, I want to bounce back, whereas before in my career if I started off bad or had a bad night it'd be harder to bounce back emotionally."

I also managed to ask how much he'd been helped by touching Gilbert for good luck.

"It was so funny, because every interview that we had [Tuesday], everybody kept saying, 'What's gonna happen if they double team Gilbert?,'" Caron said. "I'm looking up at the clock, I'm like, 'Man, who is it gonna be?' It just so happened DeShawn and me caught eye contact and the ball fell in the net."

Yeah, but what about the touching, I asked.

"That had a little something to do with it," he admitted.

[Note: Reader Nancy, not content with straw-chewing updates, asked for more substantial Caron Butler info. I'm guessing this didn't help. FYI, in addition to that AP profile, expect major profiles from the Washington Times and ESPN the Magazine in the very, very near future.]

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 18, 2007; 5:23 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: Be back soon


Let it be noted that I said it first. Caron "Tough Juice" Butler shouldn't worry about making the All Star team--he's a shoo-in for a spot on the squad. I can't imagine coaches selecting for the team anybody below number three in the aforementioned list, except, of course, for CB. The situation Gilbert had to go through last season notwithstanding, I don't think Caron will have to wait for intervention from David Stern to make the Eastern Conference team. Unless, of course, politics enters the equation. Then, who knows?

Posted by: melwdc | January 18, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

What a fun thing you do -- picking up those posters. LOL. I love my donut poster, which I got at the game and would never never part with. Have no idea what this new poster is supposed to be. A little too LA for me.

Thanks Sweetie!, that you guys are going to write up more on Butler. Yup, the fans are hungry for more 411 on Caron.

As I stood in line at the Caron Butler autograph signing last week (after his coat drive), Caron came out from a 26-point game to chants of "All Star! All Star" from the gathered crowd.

Vote early. Vote often.

Posted by: Nancy | January 18, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

P.S. A lot of Wizards fans may also be Terms basketball fans. If they are, they all probably remember their first real introduction to Tough Juice: watching him score 40 points against the Terps in the Sweet 16 game in Syracuse (Carrier Dome) the year the Terps went to the final four. Terps won notwithstanding his 40 points, but that's when I learned to think: "Wish Caron played for my team!" And now he does!

Huge bonus points for Caron for choosing to go to UConn rather than Duke. Because Duke, well, you know . . .

Posted by: Nancy | January 18, 2007 6:30 PM | Report abuse

i chew straws as well. im gonna say its an indicator of better than average swag and but in order to make the leap to phenomenal swag would require breaking the habit. this would be due to the fact that during phenomenal swagness, one would choke on the straw, leading to a grand death (death by swag), but still death.

Posted by: Ed Lee | January 18, 2007 6:46 PM | Report abuse

My friends can vouch for me but Wednesday night, in the span of three quarters, I filled out 130 All Star ballots. I literally stuffed the ballots with votes for Agent Zero, The Butler and Jamison. I only wished every fan that attended the game did the same.

Posted by: Eric | January 19, 2007 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Hedo Turkoglu has more votes than Caron. HEDO TURKOGLU. Let that marinate with everyone for a second.

What a travesty.

Posted by: AV | January 19, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Pierce has better numbers but has been injured for the last few weeks and lord knows the C's don't deserve anyone on the squad this year. Caron should take PP's spot. But yeah, if he doesn't make it, it'll be a traveshamockery of epic proportions.

Posted by: leafblower | January 19, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

C'mon Paul Pierce? Hedo? AI2? You have got to be kidding. These guys are on losing teams...I vote everyday for our Wizards players. But I have a feeling CB is going to be voted in by the coaches, especially how well we are playing..

Posted by: CB3 | January 19, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

A lot of people forget that for some time before the 2002 draft, Caron was projected to be the No. 1 draft pick, and there were a lot of oohs and aahs as he kept sliding until he was drafted by Miami at 10 (we were hoping he would slide down one more time so we could grab him at No. 11 (where we took Jared Jeffries). My understanding is that he slid so far only because of his reputation as a knucklehead. He obviously made the 180 turn and is himself on the verge of superstardom.

Go Caron. We love you baby!

Posted by: bpybay | January 20, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

If Caron Butler doesn't make the squad it would be as big of a travesty as Melo not making it last year. Butler is the most underrated player in the league. Too bad lousy Wiz fans aren't voting for him on a daily basis.

Posted by: Closjavi | January 21, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

He just got named Eastern Conference Player of the Week!

Posted by: Galit | January 22, 2007 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Caron is going to make the ALL-STAR team we have faith in that baby your fam here in Racine going to have us a CB ALL-STAR PARTY here for our Superstar

Posted by: Shawn J | January 30, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

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