The NBA announced it’s picks for the All-Star Game and these are the rosters :
Eastern Conference : ( Starters) G Derrick Rose ( Chicago Bulls) : G Allen Iverson ( Philadelphia 76ers) ; C Dwight Howard ( Orlando Magic) ;F Lebron James ( Cleveland Cavaliers ; F Kevin Garnett ( Boston Celtics) .
Reserves : Paul Pierce ,Rajon Rondo ( Boston Celtics ), Joe Johnson, Al Horford ( Atlanta Hawks), Gerald Wallace ( Charlotte Bobcats), Chris Bosh ( Toronto Raptors) , Derrick Rose ( Chicago Bulls )
Western Conference : (Starters) G Kobe Bryant ( Los Angeles Lakers) ; G Steve Nash ( Phoenix Suns) ; C Amare Stoudemire ( Phoenix Suns ) ; F Carmelo Anthony ( Denver Nuggets) ; F Tim Duncan ( San Antonio Spurs)
Reserves : Chris Paul ( New Orleans Hornets) ; Deron Williams ( Utah Jazz) ; Brandon Roy ( Portland Trail Blazers ) ; Dirk Nowitzki ( Dallas Mavericks) ; Zach Randolph ( Memphis Grizzlies) ; Kevin Durant ( Oklahoma City Thunder) .
The starters were chosen by the fans , the reserves by the NBA coaches. In selecting the reserves, the coaches were required to select two guards, two forwards, one center and two others for any position. And of course, the coaches were not allowed to vote for players from their own teams.
With the NBA wanting to get fans involved in the voting , there were bound to be some peculiar choices and this is evident in the selections of the starters for the East All Stars. There is no way that Allen Iverson and Kevin Garnett belong on the team. Players should be selected because of their performance this season, not for what they have done in the past. It’s not like the Nobel Prize which is awarded for lifetime achievement. Great as Garnett has been in the past, this year he has missed almost the entire season due to injury. Iverson is lucky to be in the league at all , his glory days long gone. Another travesty was avoided in the West where a late surge of votes saw Steve Nash overtake Tracy McGrady. Had it not been for that, McGrady, who has barely played this season, would have been a starter for the West team .
The selection of the reserves is less controversial . In the East , I would have liked to see David Lee of the Knicks in place of Al Horford. Lee has the better numbers and the only reason I think he wasn’t chosen is that he is playing on a team with a losing record. This to me is inexplicable. These selections are meant to be based on the play of the individual ; team standings should not figure in the equation . No quarrel with any of the other East selections , though I feel that Rajon Rondo and Chris Bosh should have been starting instead of Iverson and Garnett.
Chauncey Billups has long been one of my favorites but I have to admit that those who made the team ahead of him ( D.Williams, Chris Paul and Brandon Roy) are better than him. The West has a plethora of point guards but is weak at center. Amare Stoudemire and Pau Gasol are more F-C types. Glad to see Kevin Durant get his due. The only change I might have made was to have Chris Paul start ahead of Steve Nash.
One of the more interesting sidelights of the All Star weekend is the Rookies vs. Sophomores game. There has been a bumper crop of rookies this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won.