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My All-Star Ballot: Part II

I agreed with the fans' picks in the East this time around but it wasn't without some serious internal debates. How do I fit in Caron Butler or Antawn Jamison? What about Paul Pierce? Just like there are too many guards in the West, the East is loaded at the forward position. That made for some difficult decisions. One thing for sure, we are going to miss some personality from the event in New Orleans since Gilbert Arenas isn't there to jump off trampolines and Shaquille O'Neal isn't there to be Shaq. Anyway, these are the guys I chose:

Eastern Conference All-Stars

The fans will likely select: Dwyane Wade, Heat, and Jason Kidd, Nets
Who I picked: Wade and Kidd.

Ohhh, it ain't my fault. . .It ain't my fault. (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)">

This was really tough. I sat at my computer for a while with this one. All that I could conclude was that the guards in the East don't stink, but their teams do. Now that Allen Iverson is in Denver, all the good guards in the East are doing their best imitations of his final days in Philly. And the guards on the good teams in the East don't stink, they just aren't spectacular. I had to go against what I wanted to do (reward winning) and look at the best individual performances. I really wanted to write in somebody like Paul Pierce or Caron Butler since both could play guard, but I stuck with the ballot. Wade is a tad out of shape and still working his way back from off-season surgery, but he gets a pass this season because he has a ring and I blame Pat Riley for that mess in Miami. Wade should get the invite to New Orleans just so he can see what it feels like to be surrounded my some talented teammates again.
As for Kidd, I was debating over him and Chauncey Billups. I thought about Billups because the Pistons have the second-best record in the East, but then I saw that Kidd is almost 1 ½ rebounds shy of averaging a triple-double this season. I know he has issues with migraines, but when you channel Oscar Robertson, you should be among the stars.

The fans will likely select: Kevin Garnett, Celtics, and LeBron James, Cavaliers
Who I picked: Garnett and James

I'm looking down on all of you. The view is pretty sweet up here. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)">

I really, really wanted to get Caron Butler in here, but I just couldn't. Kevin Garnett has completely changed the fortunes of the Celtics. I know they added Ray Allen, too, this summer, but this team would not have the best record in the NBA, maybe not even the Atlantic Division, if not for the arrival of the most intense, relentless and emotional player in the game today. You can tell that he's elated to no longer be pulling a Wade (i.e. carrying dead weight) in Minnesota. His numbers aren't staggering or mystifying (19.3 points, 9.8 rebounds) like they were when he won the MVP in 2004 (24.2 points, 13.9), but that 33-6 record is something else.
As for LeBron James, the guy has been great. He's leading the NBA in scoring and is averaging career highs in rebounds and assists. No matter what the record says, the Cavaliers are the third-best team in the East right now. They have won 9 of 11 and Bron Bron is plowing over everybody in his path (Get up, Fabricio Oberto! Get up.).

The fans will likely select: Dwight Howard, Magic
Who I picked: Howard

Do you like this dunk, Mr. Jordan? (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)">

This is a man in need of nickname. Can he hire Shaq to market him or borrow one of his old monikers? How about Wilt Chamberneezy Part Deux? Dwight Fu? The Big Hybrid (He's half-man, half-beast, but former Redskin Sean Taylor already owned the name, "Meast." Plus, since Al Gore has everybody going green, Dwight could be a new age dominant center who can run on Diesel fuel and eletric energy)? Big Baby Jesus Worshipper? I know those stink. Somebody help the man.
He got snubbed twice last season - first when the fans elected Shaq as the all-star starter and again in the Slam Dunk contest when Michael Jordan and his fellow judges refused to give the man his 50 for that ridiculous sticker dunk. But Howard came back with a vengeance this season. He has the Magic in first place, he's leading the league in rebounding (15 per game!), and averaging a career high 22.1 points.

I'll be back with the reserves later this week. I think you know two Wizards who should definitely be in New Orleans.

By Michael Lee  |  January 23, 2008; 1:30 PM ET
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Next: Cavs game thread


I actually think Toronto is a team that matches up well and tends to give us fits.

Sportsline has the Wiz # 8 behind cleveland and did a little piece on the wiz for their power rankings. He says Etan is back on the bench, which I think is an error.

But my thought is, I'd rather play Cleveland or Boston than Detroit or Toronto in the playoffs.

Can you believe how bad Chicago has been?

Every year a team turns up or down, but I didn't see that coming.

Last thought, As good as boston is... I could see them quickly turning into a Miami... or worse. At least Miami has Udonis and Wade. Guys you can build around long term. But when the big three in Boston start to show some wear and tear it might get pretty ugly.

I'd like to play them in a 7 game series, cause I think with each game your chances get better.

Still a long way away. It would be great to win the division.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast: Gilby-thon 08

Posted by: g | January 23, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

bring anyone on. we have the skills to match up with any team in the league.

Posted by: mark | January 23, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I would agree that it is hard to make a case for Caron over Lebron or Garnett...

Garnett certainly helped turn boston around, but I also feel like boston maybe played down a bit in hopes of landing Durant or Oden.

That said, I know I should want our guys to go tot the game, but I'd almost prefer they didn't until they have really proven themselves in the playoffs.

I would rather avoid creating a Vince Carter culture.

Posted by: g | January 23, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

People are hittin' the Kool-aid early today.

Posted by: kalorama | January 23, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I don't see the Cavs as the third best team in the East right now. Not at all. They've been pretty mediocre for most of the season. Yeah, they've won nine of 11 games. Only two were against premier opponents -- San Antonio and Dallas. The rest of the wins are against middling teams like Toronto or awful teams like Miami. The Wizards have won eight of their last 11, and most of the wins have been against some bad teams, but they did have quality wins against Boston (twice) and Dallas (by 18 points). So I can't understand why Cleveland is ranked ahead of the Wizards in power rankings and why, Michael, you would say the Cavs are the third best team in the East. I don't see it. Yeah, LeBron heats up the fourth quarter and saves his team from losing, but give me a break with Cleveland. All this fawning over the Cavs is ridiculous. When push comes to shove, they're a largely mediocre squad with no depth and no real transcendent talent outside of LeBron. I'll take this year's Wizards team over LeTravel and his bunch of average ball players.

Posted by: Colin | January 23, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Laurel, Md.: What do you think about Gilbert coming back as the 2-guard and Daniels starting at the point?

Ivan Carter: Gilbert needs the basketball in his hands. Just ask him.

Posted by: DC Man88 | January 23, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Michael, you continue to be horrible at coming up with nicknames.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Kal, I'm not saying no team can stop us. BEAS had said that if we are the sixth seed, we're gonna lose in the first round. I just don't think there's anyone you can point to in the first round and say 'we can't beat them'. This team has a good shot against anybody. I would have said Boston but we proved that we're able to beat about anyone. I'd still like to see us beat Toronto consistently, though. They seem to give us fits.

Posted by: mark | January 23, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Who's the East backup center in the all star game? Seriously, who deserves it? Shaq and ONeal are hurt. I guess beyond Howard, there's a serious void. Is Okafor worthy? Bosh at Center?

Posted by: mark | January 23, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Rasheed Wallace, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Chris Bosh, and possibly Al Horford will all likely get the nods before Haywood.

Posted by: kalorama | January 23, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

To clarify:

If it was just based on numbers and impact, Horford might have a shot. But the coaches aren't likely to select a rookie as an All-Star reserve, regardless of how well he's playing.

Posted by: kalorama | January 23, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Laurel, Md.: What do you think about Gilbert coming back as the 2-guard and Daniels starting at the point?

Ivan Carter: Gilbert needs the basketball in his hands. Just ask him.

I think it is a mistake to dismiss the possibility of AD at point and Gil at 2 guard. The Nuggets have Iverson listed as 2 guard with Anthony Carter at point. Am I mistaken or are not GA's and AI's style similar enough to make the comparison? Any other historical precedence come to mind anyone?

Posted by: Myshkin | January 23, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Laurel, Md.: What do you think about Gilbert coming back as the 2-guard and Daniels starting at the point?

Ivan Carter: Gilbert needs the basketball in his hands. Just ask him.


Is this on topic? I thought this board was moving on. Did someone bring this up in here or are we just fixating again?

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Yeah I thought dismissing Arenas and Daniels in the same backcourt was odd also. Especially when in the same chat Ivan said that Daniels might not be willing to give minutes back to Gilbert if he comes back. I've never heard of Daniels being anything but a great teammate. Maybe he told Ivan something off the record?

Posted by: The Yawn Dude | January 23, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

One other contemporary point guard, 2 guard, parallel. D Wade at the 2 and Jason Williams at point. I think it safe to say that D Wade needs the ball in his hands as well. Miami of course is horrendous right now but not because Wade is at the 2.
Sorry if I'm off topic but I find it hard to take the all star game seriously.

Posted by: Myshkin | January 23, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

kalorama, mark, Rasheed would be the more popular fan choice over Ilgauskas. I think though Ilgauskas would be the better "real" center. Wasn't Rasheed listed as forward just last year? I understand that he plays a lot more center this year, but oh well... it's entertainment.

Posted by: rgz | January 23, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Isn't this great we're worrying about divying up minutes with the depth of the team, when just a few weeks ago the worry was are there enough players for practice? Any coach would love to have these problems, and as Ivan said that's why Eddie Jordan makes the big bucks. He'll figure it out.

Go Wizards!

Posted by: rgz | January 23, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I was by no means suggesting that Haywood deserved it. He doesn't have the numbers. If he played 40+ minutes a game, he'd probably be at 15 and 10 or something close and then might merit consideration. I was just trying to figure out who they'd plug into that position.

Posted by: mark | January 23, 2008 6:51 PM | Report abuse

ivan/michael/readers of the wizards insider-

Where do I get a new Wizards replica customized jersey? Yeah I know you can last year's online, but I want the one from this years (the one online doesn't look to be this year's model).

As you can tell, the lettering is a bit different (more bronze, different blue?). I've seen a few fans walking around with them at games. Can we get them online or at the verizon center?


Posted by: jerseyman | January 23, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I see that Ilgauskas has 17 points already in this game and I see that Haywood is not on the floor. Given how well Haywood plays Ilgauskas, doesn anyone have an explanation as to why in the hell Haywood is not out there! He only has one foul!

Posted by: George Templeton | January 23, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, the defending Eastern Conference champs Cavs are no good. Essentially the same players again this year. Swept us. Beat us again today. They're no good.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Haywood does not deserve an All-Star spot. That is absurd.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 23, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse


But you have suggested it before, so it was a reasonable assumption that it's what you were hinting at this time.

Posted by: kalorama | January 24, 2008 1:48 AM | Report abuse

"BTW, I was by no means suggesting that Haywood deserved it."

But it's been suggested before, so it was a reasonable assumption that it's what you were hinting.

Posted by: kalroama | January 24, 2008 1:50 AM | Report abuse

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