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All-Star Reserves: Part II

The East was a lot easier than the West because there are so many lousy teams that I didn't feel guilty about leaving off the players from those squads. Here are my choices in the Eastern Conference:

Forwards
Chris Bosh, Raptors
, and Paul Pierce, Celtics


Ya darn skippy I'm an all-star again. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Bosh didn't need to that great commercial to get a spot on the team. But he had to know that with Kevin Garnett in the East, he had no shot at the starting job this season. He's earned a backup role. You've got to give Pierce some credit. He put up with some sorry teams in Boston the past two years, but he never got nasty, never demanded a trade. He just stayed patient and boy, did it pay off. He's putting up his lowest scoring average (20.4 points) since his second year in the league, but do you think the man is complaining? Not at all. Not when he's the leading scoring on a team that is 33-7.

Center
Rasheed Wallace, Pistons


But I don't want to go to New Orleans! (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

I really wish that I could just plug in Shaquille O'Neal and call it day. But the Big Fella is rotting and his team is rotten. Wallace has already stated that he doesn't want to go to New Orleans so that he can use that time off to spend with family. His stats haven't been great, but he showed what he can do that night in San Antonio when he busted Tim Duncan for 23 points and 15 rebounds earlier this month. And, he needs to go just so he can do this. That would be worth the price of admission right there.

Guards
Chauncey Billups, Pistons
, and Ray Allen, Celtics


Rip, one of us has got to make it. I guess it'll be me. I've got more wins. (Photo by Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Unlike the West, it was slim pickings here. Neither one of these guys is averaging 20 points, but they are on the two best teams in the East and don't have to score to win. Billups is still a clutch performer for Detroit, while Allen has adjust his game immensely to fit into the Big Three. Allen's scoring is down, but he has hit some huge game-winning shots in Toronto and Charlotte and he brought the Celtics out of a Wizards-induced funk with a big game against Portland. Either way, since Dwyane Wade and Jason Kidd are on terrible teams, you have to reward winning somehow. Choosing Allen sends a great message to players around the league that numbers don't tell the whole story. Winning gets you something in this league.

Wild Cards
Antawn Jamison, Wizards
, and Caron Butler, Wizards


You da man, Tawn. Nah, you da man, Tuff Juice. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

You didn't think I'd leave these guys out, did you? Both of them deserve to be on the team. Not only are the Wizards winning without three-time all-star Gilbert Arenas, but Jamison and Butler are providing scoring, leadership and all of the other intangibles for one of the more pleasant surprises in the league. Butler and Jamison are the league's highest scoring starting forward tandem at 42.8 points per game. Jamison is one of five players in the league averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds. Butler has improved in almost every facet of the game this season and is one of three players averaging at least 20 points, six rebounds and four assists - Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are the others. That sounds like all-star worthy company to me. If both don't make it to New Orleans, it's a crime.

I Really Hated To Leave Off
O'Neal, Heat. Hedo Turkoglu, Magic. Josh Smith, Hawks. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cavaliers. Michael Redd, Bucks. Richard Hamilton, Pistons.


I'm getting too old for this. . . (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

What is an all-star game without Shaq? Who will make us laugh? Provide awesome dance moves? Bring out interesting Shaq-centered gadgets? I know Shaq doesn't dominate anymore. He has a bad hip and now folks want him to retire. But his stats this season (14.2 points and 7.8 rebounds) are better than just about every other center in the East not named Dwight Howard. It's just a shame. Turkoglu has quietly been the difference maker for the Magic. Smith is putting up ridiculous numbers, but the Hawks don't have a winning record. Z has been solid all year. Redd is in the top 10 in scoring, but his team isn't in the top eight in wins in the East. And, Rip belongs in New Orleans, but somebody had to miss out.

By Michael Lee  |  January 25, 2008; 10:57 AM ET
 
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Comments

Where's Dunleavy??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | January 25, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

What about Joe Johnson? He's averaging 22 ppg. He at least deserves honorable mention.

I have a feeling that Shaq is going to be picked over Rasheed Wallace and Z, even though he doesn't deserve it this year. After all, this might be the last time for him.

Posted by: John Brisker | January 25, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Joe Johnson?

Posted by: J Ep | January 25, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

AAAAAARGH!!!! Darnit Mike, not you too! The Wizards are NOT a surprise, only an IDIOT would think the zards would get only 33 wins like certain mentally retarded columnists predicted to open the season. The only surprise is that even without Arenas they are still good.

If that's what you mean I apologize. I'm just sensitive to all this irrational wizards hate from around the league, particularly ESPN.

Posted by: Zonker | January 25, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I would change Caron to a reserve, and make Paul Pierce a Wild Card.

Posted by: LooseCannon | January 25, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

What, no Camby?

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 25, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I would make Opech a starter. The all star game needs more diversity.

Posted by: JSchon | January 25, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Zonker,
The Wizards are a surprise - now. If you check the record, I picked the Wizards to win the Southeast Division back in October - when I thought that Gilbert Arenas was going to form a lethal trio with Jamison and Butler. I thought they'd win 49, 50 games.
I didn't think they'd still be in contention for the division title or homecourt advantage in the playoffs WITHOUT Arenas. Who did? Seriously. You did? Well I hope you are cashing all that money you won in Vegas, because you know it all. Even Eddie Jordan said he didn't think this team would be 19-13 without Arenas.

Posted by: Michael Lee | January 25, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Michael,

My only real beef is your pick of Ray Allen. He's scoring 18 ppg on 42 percent shooting, and not doing much else. Not exactly All-Star numbers. His main value has been in getting Garnett to come to Boston (most folks say that he wouldn't have come if Allen wasn't there first). In terms of team impact, it's been minor. It's Pierce and KG that have made the Celts so dominant.

Posted by: Keithinator | January 25, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Ray Allen? That's a joke. There has got to be someone better than him and not just because of individual numbers. Truth is, he's below average defensively. If he's not scoring a lot of points, he's a liability. He's not scoring a lot of points, therefore....

Posted by: mark | January 25, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse


Good calls on all accounts...

Josh Smith is great, but he's a sour-puss. No All-Star for him until he appreciates what he's got.

Redd's team is too bad.

The Pistons are too inconsistent for Rip to make it on his team's merits.

Big Z came on too late.

In ranking the next round of those who should be considered if someone gets injured and cannot play:

1. Turkey-Gloo
2. Joe Johnson

Posted by: TruthAboutIt.net | January 25, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Where's Jose Calderon?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 25, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"Unlike the West, it was slim pickings here. Neither one of these guys is averaging 20 points..."

Neither is Ray Allen, but you picked him. Hamilton should get the nod over Allen. He's shooting a higher percentage from the field and from 3 and averaging more assists. I can understand having more than one guy from teams that are doing esp. well. But do the Celtics really deserve to have 3 guys while the Pistons only get 1?

Posted by: kalorama | January 25, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

EDIT:

Okay, you gave the Pistons 2 (Rasheed and Chauncey). In which case, I'd argue that the third guard spot to go to Joe Johnson and that neither the Pistons or Celtics get 3 guys on the team.

Posted by: kalorama | January 25, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Here here on Joe Johnson, the Hawks even being in the playoff race ought to merit a spot for a forgotten great guard like Johnson.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 25, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"The Pistons are too inconsistent for Rip to make it on his team's merits."

Inconsistent? Really?

They have the second best record in the East and the third best in the NBA. They're on pace for their 6th straight 50 win season and are considered strong candidates to make it to their 6th straight conference finals appearance. The Pistons have been one of the most consistent franchises in the NBA for most of this decade.

Posted by: kalorama | January 25, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Actually, George, the guy on the Hawks I think really deserves a spot is Al Horford. his inside presences has made a huge difference to that team. But there's no way the coaches would select a rookie for one of the reserve spots.

Posted by: kalorama | January 25, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

George, Horford is 2X as much of a balla as Johnson.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 25, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Mike, that's what I said, the only surprise is that they're still doing well without Arenas.

I was thinking of that ESPN guy, whatsisname, who said the zards would be lucky to get 33 wins this season with a healthy arenas.

Now that I think about it though (after you challenged me, why didn't I put my money where my big mouth is):
On the team without Arenas -- If they are a 50 win team with Arenas, why is it surprising they are still a playoff bound team without him? If you consider that before we played Boston the zards had the league's easiest schedule, it's not even all that surprising they are above .500. Does losing your superstar usually cost you 15 wins? It's tricky because our bench was complete garbage last year and it's halfway decent now, so you'd expect them to pick up some of the slack.

What's REALLY surprised me is the two wins over Boston. Now that's surprising.

Posted by: Zonker | January 25, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Zonker,
There were a couple of ESPN's guys that thought the Wizards weren't going to be very good even with Arenas. I think you are thinking of John Hollinger, ESPN.com's resident math-a-lete. He was the guy that got most of the hatred from the bloggers here at the start of the season.

Posted by: The Yawn Dude | January 25, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I vote for Al Jefferson because he's just cute like that.

Posted by: Lisa | January 25, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Ah, right, Hollinger. That's the guy.

Posted by: Zonker | January 25, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Ivan is both blind and a traitor. How could he leave off Caron and Jamison from his second team but then cite the fact that we have the highest scoring forward tandem in the NBA AND that Jamison is one of just five players in the NBA averaging 20 and 10 AND that Caron is just one of three players in the NBA averaging 20, 6, and 4? Ivan relegates them to wild card status? I don't think so. That is terrible.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 25, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Caron Butler: More points, steals, and rebounds, and a better shooting percentage than Pierce. Yet Ivan picks Pierce ahead of Caron? Caron has owned Pierce this year. What is going on here?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 25, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Horford is a heck of player and I am not questioning his impact on the Hawks. But Joe Johnson's 22 ppg and 5.4 assists per game are critical to the Hawks putting together a competitive and you know that accounting for him helps free everyone else on the floor up. I would say Johnson's impact on the offensive end is equal or close to Horford's impact on the defensive end, but I imagine some of you would say Horford's impact at the defensive end is much higher.

Posted by: George Templeton | January 26, 2008 1:04 AM | Report abuse

They're both deserving George. But the fact remains, they were one of the worst teams in the league last year, routinely getting killed on he boards and beaten inside, even with Johnson playing at a high level. The addition of Horford has had a dramatic impact on the Hawks.

Posted by: kalorama | January 26, 2008 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Michael Lee is the guilty party for picking Caron and AJ behind Bosh and Pierce.

I wonder if Ivan agrees.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 26, 2008 2:43 AM | Report abuse

You idiots! Caron and Antawn are still listed as reserves for the all-star game. It doesn't matter if they are listed as forwards or wild cards. They are on the list. It doesn't matter how the list is constructed. You just need SEVEN reserves - and Antawn and Caron are among the seven!My goodness people. There is no hate. Relax.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 26, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Dudes, this is a post by Mike Lee, not Ivan.

Posted by: Zonker | January 26, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Mike Lee is angling for a better job somewhere. That's the only reason I can think of for picking Pierce over Caron, so Lee doesn't look like a homer to his journalist peers. Lee, the only thing you mention about Pierce is he scores -- So what? Caron shoots better, and dominates him in rebounds and steals, and is close in assists.

Posted by: DC | January 26, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

It was a beautiful read when Ivan reported after the Boston game that CBut wasn't taking any trash from PP and gave him some in return.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 26, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody here understand how the all-star reserves are picked? Does anybody see that Mike Lee put Caron and Antawn on the all-star team? Isn't that all that matters? Caron is on the team. Paul Pierce wasn't picked over Caron. He was picked WITH Caron. I swear, some of the comments on here are moronic, idiotic, stupid. . .

Posted by: KD Fan | January 27, 2008 2:36 AM | Report abuse

Er...KD Fan, Lee clearly prefers Pierce over Caron and AJ, whom he listed as "wild cards," with Pierce listed first. That criticism of Lee is based upon the meaning of his post; it's "idiotic" to read it any other way.

Posted by: DC | January 27, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

It's "idiotic" to act like Paul Pierce isn't deserving. You guys get so caught up in your guys, but you have to realize that Pierce has a decided edge over Butler in the wins department right now. Yes, the Wizards beat the Celtics twice, but I bet you it would've been different if we had Rajon Rondo those nights.
Boston has the best record in the NBA! Hello!
You guys act like Pierce doesn't belong. Pierce is the leading scorer on a team that has 10 more wins than the Wizards. Okay. I don't care if Butler averages one point more or whatever. Pierce has earned his spot. He's been an all-star three times. He's been to the Eastern Conference Finals. Get back to me when Caron or Antawn take their team to the conference finals.
I bet you the Eastern Conference coaches are thinking just like Mr. Lee. Pierce AND Butler belong. It doesn't matter how they are listed. They both will probably be in New Orleans, as teammates. This is so petty. Stop with your whining, people. It's okay to give some love to a non-Wizard.

Posted by: Four Leaf Clover Lover | January 27, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Did anybody see this?

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/bk/bkn/5488770.html

This guy left Caron Butler off the team completely. He has Hedo (Whodo?) Turkeygloo as a reserve. At least Mike Lee has Caron on the team.

Posted by: misguided bullets | January 27, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

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