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The All-Star Picks

After much internal debate and deliberation, here are the players I think should be going to Phoenix as all-star reserves in two weeks.


I had to be the easiest choice you could make in the East, huh? (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Eastern Conference Reserves

Forwards: Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics; Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers
Pierce hasn't been the dominant force every night that he was during the NBA Finals, but he has had several clutch performances. I picked Iguodala over Indiana's Danny Granger based on how Iguodala raised his game after Elton Brand went down with a dislocated right shoulder, lifting Philadelphia back into the playoff picture.

Guards: Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks; Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic
The Hawks have withstood some serious injuries to Josh Smith and Al Horford and are in the fourth spot in the East primarily because of Johnson. Nelson, freed from having to look over his shoulder, has made a huge improvement from last season and is one of the driving forces behind the Magic's surprising start.

Center: Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
The Raptors have been a huge disappointment this season, but the East needs some size from somewhere, and the 6-foot-10 Bosh is the best big man not named Dwight Howard or Kevin Garnett in the East.

Wild Cards: Ray Allen, Boston Celtics; Vince Carter, New Jersey Nets
Allen has quietly been the best and most consistent player on the Celtics this season. Carter gets the nod over Devin Harris because he has been more consistent all season for the Nets, and he carries the team on nights when Harris can't. Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler are left off because the Wizards are bad and a 9-36 record should only be rewarded with ping-pong balls, not all-star invitations -- especially if a star is teamed with another good player.


Turning around a franchise should get me into Phoenix, right? (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Western Conference Reserves

Forwards: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks; Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
Nowitzki has arguably been the best forward in the Western Conference this season. Gasol has helped make life much easier for Kobe Bryant ever since he arrived.

Guards: Chauncey Billups, Denver Nuggets; Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers
Billups has returned home and completely changed the Nuggets from middling playoff team to an actual contender in the Western Conference. Roy made his first all-star team last season, but he has been even better.

Center: Shaquille O'Neal, Phoenix Suns
O'Neal has been force-fed most of the season, but he also has delivered with a personal rebirth.

Wild Cards: Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets; Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
Before going down with a broken hand earlier this month, Anthony was dealing with a sore elbow but still made huge contributions to a division leader. Parker gets the nod over Steve Nash because of the Spurs' superior record. It was tough leaving off Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Minnesota's Al Jefferson. They deserve a shot on the national stage, but if they keep producing, their day will come -- when their numbers coincide with more wins.

By Michael Lee  |  January 29, 2009; 12:32 PM ET
 | Tags: all-star game  
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Next: The Other Side: Philadelphia 76ers

Comments

The whole debate is bs. What CWebb and Kenny Smith are saying about team standings being considered is crap. Does the Pro Bowl or Baseball All star game count team rankings? Of course not.

This game is a showcase FOR THE FANS. Why else would our voting count? As such, the team should consist of players who are individually talented enough to give the fans a show. If you can score 25 a game and rebound consistently on a poor team, then you oughtta be there.

The 03-04 cavs team was 35-47. Does that mean that LeBron (averaging 21,6 and 5) should NOT have been invited? Nope.

Stop the madness and talk about something else. This issue is a non issue.
The fans should vote for the starters AND backups since the game is for us. If we want to see Muggsy or Spud or Manute or Muresan because they're fan faves, let them go. Bonuses should be tied to ALL-NBA status, not all star game appearances.

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Caron got in.

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

or maybe he's just coaching to rookie squad.

Posted by: original_mark | January 29, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

So Mike,

You know you can never again get the inside scoop from CB right??? LOL!

Posted by: jones-y | January 29, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: sargeantmofo | January 29, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

...finally the era has passed where x-Wizards on other teams are routinely allstars.

Posted by: oddjob2 | January 29, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

PLEASE READ:

I read a very inspired suggestion for the next coach of the Wizards on the ESPN.com/wizards board, Kareem Abdul Jabbar for coach of the Wizards.

Who can challenge his knowledge of the game, his accomplishments as a champion? He is a career winner at every level!!!!
Played with some of the very best and was coached by some of the very best!

I revered him as a player, and yes in the early days he was a little aloof, but the man has done a damm good job with Andrew Bynum, worked with Kwame (don't hold that against him) and coached a high school team on an native american reservation, and he coached them to a winning record. Rather than hire a talking head, and recycle one of the old rerun, why not invite Kareem to coach the Wizards. He once had ties to the Washington area, and the whole area would support, I believe, this move. Any thoughts?

Posted by: zbopjazz | January 29, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Will Arenas ever make another all-star team?? Did Ernie needlessly overpay?

Free Fire Ernie T-shirt

email address to

ErnieGone@Hotmail.com

Posted by: erniegone | January 29, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Oddjob, very true. I have a feeling Roger Mason might make a run at the three point title, though.

Posted by: patience-is-key | January 29, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Erniegone, I don't think he'll be a bust. But there's a solid chance his allstar days are over, no? What do you think? I'm guessing by your posing the question and your tagline that you don't think he'll ever return to his old form.

Posted by: patience-is-key | January 29, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

David Lee should of made it.

Posted by: jeremydvid | January 29, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

"David Lee should of made it.

Posted by: jeremydvid | January 29, 2009 11:39 PM "

Nope, no homegrown white guys made it. Two white Euros made it in the West.

Where's the EEOC when you need them? Where's Rainbow Push? ;-)

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3870364

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | January 29, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

"Neither Butler nor Antawn Jamison were named to the Eastern Conference all-star squad as reserves last night, an outcome that was less an indictment of their play than the team's poor record."

Really, Ivan? It must be hard for you in a season like this to curry favor with those you have deemed necessary on this team, but you sure are giving it your all. Kudos. You think Jamison and Butler are two of the twelve best players in the Eastern Conference? And if it weren't for that bad record -- caused by other Wizards, not them, of course -- they would be all-stars?

Maybe you are sitting too close to the court, or maybe you are just sitting at the offensive end of the court each game.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | January 30, 2009 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Hilarious, disgruntledfan.

Posted by: original_mark | January 30, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Your tone makes you seem a little perturbed. You must be a disgruntledfan with season tickets.

LOL

But to piggyback on your comment, surely Ivan knows that they aren't in the top 12. I think you're absolutely right in that he has to be cool and not speak his mind for fear of losing his 'insider' status.

Posted by: original_mark | January 30, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Swap either Butler or Jamison with any of the names mentioned below, and the Wizards record would still be the same:

Allen Iverson
Paul Pierce
Danny Granger
Rashard Lewis
Jameer Nelson
Devin Harris
Joe Johnson

I agree they haven't played like one of the 12 best, but as we all know, basketball is not an individual sport.

Posted by: psps23 | January 30, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"I'm delighted," Tapscott said. "Simply because he knows how to play. He knows how to play both ends. He's got veteran savvy, and he also has the type of verbal communication I like to have on the floor. He's very verbal. If you're not talking to each other on the floor, you are minimizing your chances for success. We've got too many guys who I think are afraid to speak and maybe that's because they are unsure of what to say. But again, that comes with experience, and having another experienced guy out there will help a lot."

- Ed Tapscott

And this is why he retains the title of Ed "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott. You are 9 and 36 and you are talking about giving major minutes to a dude who has a slipped disk in his back and a bum knee. These two injuries alone will have adverse effects on your jump shot and playing defense.

Ed "The Waterboy Coach" Tapscott kills me with all of this "veterans" can do no wrong stuff. That is the whole problem with the team now. So now he is telling me because "certain young players" are not speaking out there gives him another reason to bench them??????

This dude is a joke. He would do best not to answer anymore questions about playing time for his players because the more he talks, the dumber he looks. This guy has to be learning how to coach on the fly, or he picked the wrong Coaching 101 book from the library...........

Ernie please come in and correct your mistake man before you lose the last small fraction of the Wiz base you and Abe have left.....Give Randy Ayers a shot as long as he is not going to call games like Eddie J' and The Waterboy call games.

Posted by: BulletsFever | January 30, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I hope that this all-star snub will wake up CB and AJ to work harder in the off season and to motivate them to be a better "all around" player.

Posted by: Dave381 | January 30, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"Swap either Butler or Jamison with any of the names mentioned below, and the Wizards record would still be the same:

Allen Iverson
Paul Pierce
Danny Granger
Rashard Lewis
Jameer Nelson
Devin Harris
Joe Johnson

Posted by: psps23 | January 30, 2009 8:42 AM"

I would be in favor of all of those trades, except for Iverson and maybe Lewis (because he has a horrible contract). Also would take many non all-stars, like Elton Brand, Iguodala, and Derrick Rose, to name a few.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | January 30, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I would be in favor of all of those trades, except for Iverson and maybe Lewis (because he has a horrible contract). Also would take many non all-stars, like Elton Brand, Iguodala, and Derrick Rose, to name a few.

Posted by: disgruntledfan

------

I would too, mostly because the guys you filtered out are just as old as CB and AJ, and I'd much rather take a young all-star than an aging all-star.

However, that's not the point. The point is that for this season, none of those guys would have made the Wizards any better (if they swapped places with CB or AJ). Butler and Jamison are definitely in the top 12-15 players in the conference, just happen to be playing on an awful team, with awful philosophy and awful coaching. The entire thing is a mess, and this situation does not entirely define who AJ or CB are as players.

Posted by: psps23 | January 30, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"Butler and Jamison are definitely in the top 12-15 players in the conference, just happen to be playing on an awful team, with awful philosophy and awful coaching."

I find thinking like this amusing. It's like saying today would be sunny, if only it weren't so cloudy. How could a team with two of the top 12 or 15 players in the conference have a 9-36 record, and a 4-27 record in the conference? I'm glad you like your team and your players, but take off the sunglasses.

In seasons past, the Wizards were doing so well, so the arguments would be, "The Wizards are doing so well, they deserve at least two all-stars," and they got them. Some fans use that line of thinking only in winning seasons, however, because now that they stink, well, Jamison and Butler are still top 12 in the conference. No, they are not.

I won't bother to debate the point that none of your (psps23's) listed players would have made the Wizards any better, because neither of us can know that, and I think you are wrong. But the broader point is that your opinion and my opinion are subjective, and in basketball, there is one key objective measure to determine who are the best players -- who puts and helps his teammates put the ball in their hoop the most, while stopping the other team from putting the ball in their hoop. And the Wizards' record accurately reflects how well Jamison and Butler measure up against that objective standard.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | January 30, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I posted this yesterday to another story (the Heat game), and I don't believe anyone was still posting there. I would like to get some feedback on whether others feel like this or not:

I know that NBA players receive bonuses for All-Star appearances, and Caron feels quite a bit of pride in being an All-Star the past few years. And his numbers are good. However, give me a break! He is making more $ than anyone on this blog is making already, and his team stinks this year. I would not be lobbying for an All- Star appearance! The coaches are correct. If your team stinks it up, you probably should not be on the All-Star team, with some exceptions. I like Caron a lot, but he is not one of the exceptions this year!

I realize that the coaching is horrific, and it seems like we are stuck with Taps for the rest of the way. I understand that teams focus on him and AJ. However, they need to be able to inspire their teammates, share the ball, hustle, play good defense, and set an example for the younger players. Bad mouthing the young players and selfishly campaigning for an All-Star selection are ridiculous! Worry about the team first and your abysmal record!

I don't recall KG, KB, or Dirk campaigning for the All-Star team when their teams were down. Caron don't worry about that. Focus on your team and changing it from being the most disappointing and underachieving team this year in the NBA.

Ron

Posted

Posted by: faninAlex | January 30, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"How could a team with two of the top 12 or 15 players in the conference have a 9-36 record, and a 4-27 record in the conference?"

Because games are not won by 2 individuals. Funny how people pimp the "team is bigger than the individual" philosophy, then the next sentence judge an individual solely on the performance of his team. Clearly there are larger forces at work than one or two players.

"In seasons past, the Wizards were doing so well, so the arguments would be, "The Wizards are doing so well, they deserve at least two all-stars," and they got them. Some fans use that line of thinking only in winning seasons, however, because now that they stink, well, Jamison and Butler are still top 12 in the conference. No, they are not."

You're mixing and matching 2 different arguments. "All-star" does not equal "best player". Butler and Jamison are not all-stars, and I never argued that they should be. I said they're in the top 12-15 players in the conference. They're not all-stars precisely for the reasons you mentioned; re: team performance. But that doesn't mean Butler or Jamison is less of a player than they were last season or the season before.

Was Kevin Garnett less of a player in Minnesota than he is in Boston because he didn't have Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, or Rajon Rondo playing next to him? Undoubtedly, my answer is no.

Posted by: psps23 | January 30, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

faninAlex,

I'm pretty sure Kobe, Garnett, or Dirk never had to "campaign" for an all-star appearance. They're voted in almost religiously (at least Kobe and Garnett are). And Kobe publicly ripped Andrew Bynum a couple years ago when his team was down WAY worse than anything Caron or AJ have said.

As far as Caron goes, I'm sure he wasn't out there lobbying. He was probably asked a question by a reporter, and simply answered it. Regardless, this snub is the best thing that can happen to Caron. He always plays better with a chip on his shoulder. And I can guarantee Caron wants to win more than he does about getting voted in. All he was looking for was something positive in this otherwise abysmal season.

Posted by: psps23 | January 30, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I don't think our guys are all stars and I believe that replacing them with one of those guys that made it and were mentioned would have yielded a better record. We're getting absolutely KILLED at the pg position. Give me Jameer or Devin for CB and we're better. That puts NY in at the starting 2. Whatever we lose at that position we gain plus infinitely more at pg.

Replace CB with Pierce at the 3 and I think we're better. Pierce draws fouls and plays defense. CB does not.

I don't see a Pf on that list who would be an upgrade but I've believed that AJ deserves more consideration than CB anyway because historically, he's outplayed his counterpart for a couple years here while CB played his guy pretty even during his best year last year.

...just my opinion ...

Posted by: original_mark | January 30, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

psps23

I understand your point, and yes, I remember KB doing that a few years back. It was not right when he did it, and it was not good when AJ and CB do it, either subtlely or directly. I like both players, but again, I'll use the example of KG to demonstrate.

No matter how bad the T-Wolves were before KG was traded, I don't remember hearing him make negative statements about the young players in the media. He would ask for help from management, but not blame the losses on inexperienced teammates. KG brought it every night on the defensive end, he hustled, he encouraged, and I am sure he yelled at them frequently and chewed their butts off in private, but you did not see or hear that publicly.

AJ and CB make stupid decisions (shot selection and not driving to the hoop enough), they play the "matador brand of defense," they seem disinterested, and they don't seem to make their teammates better, like an MJ did so well. So, it's not that I don't like either player, but in this kind of season with many other players on losing teams with equal or better stats, CB should not think that the All-Star team is something that is owed to him. If your team is .500 or better, you had a good shot, worst record in the NBA, forget about it!

Ron

Posted by: faninAlex | January 30, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"Replace CB with Pierce at the 3 and I think we're better. Pierce draws fouls and plays defense. CB does not."

I disagree. Pierce plays defense and attacks the rim now because his team has something to play for. CB did the same things the last couple years. But just like CB (actually even worse than CB), Pierce unequivocally gave up on his team when they were in the gutter. Put Pierce on this team, and his disinterest would be no different than Caron's.

As far as the PGs go, adding one would make no difference in how undermanned this team is down low. Nelson is having a great year because Dwight Howard attracts 2-3 defenders on every single possession, and because he always has 2-3 other 3-point shooters on the floor he can dish it to at any given moment. IMO, the tradeoff in losing the primary scoring ability of either Caron or Jamison would be far worse than the secondary role Nelson adds to the team he plays for. I'm not sold he could be a primary option for any team in the league.

Posted by: psps23 | January 30, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Alright folks, I’ll go ahead and close this thread out. ENOUGH garbo about whether CB or AJ should be All-Stars. OF COURSE NOT. Neither deserves it, neither is an all-star, pretty simple. The coaches know what they are talking about. I’d be surprised if either of them got 2 votes. They should be ashamed right now and donate their salary to charity. Sure basketball is a “team sport”. But these two high-paid veterans are the “leaders” of this team. When a team has the worst record in the league through 40+ games, it is a direct reflection of the so-called leaders. AJ is the team captain, and the captain always goes down with the ship. Both of them love to harp on the fact they are the leaders in the locker room and on the court, but it has only yielded negative results. For 2 guys making over 9 mill per season, 2 guys who consider themselves stars, they have failed. To even suggest that they got consideration is mind-boggling. True all-stars make the players around them better, it seems as if these two “all-stars” make the players around them worse. They do not share the ball, they take countless ill-advised shots, and they do not play defense. Yet these are the guys who the coaches expect the younger players to immolate. I hope Flip Saunders can take care of this if he is hired next year (Best Option).

Posted by: cj658 | January 30, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

What the Wizards need to do is draft David Neal out of the University of Maryland. Neal is a local guy (Alexandria, VA), and would be a good fit. We lack a decent center, and Neal would help fill that void. I sure hope Ernie is reading this.

Posted by: cj658 | January 30, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

As Mike Wise pointed out,

“Some have even deigned to say that calling Haywood “Brenda” is disrespectful to every hardworking American woman named Brenda.”

Posted by: cj658 | January 30, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

For all intents and purposes, the Wizards don't actually have a starting PG with Gilbert out, so adding anyone who could credibly claim that title would be a step up. But if that was all that was changed and everything else about the current situation remained the same, they'd still stink on ice.

This team is constructed out of mismatched parts and has no identity or direction. Adding or removing one player doesn't change that, unless it's a player so good that his very presence imposes a style and identity on the team. Ironically, to an extent, Arenas (when fully healthy) is such a player.

Posted by: kalo_rama | January 30, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

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