The all-star starters were announced Thursday and there were no surprises in the Eastern Conference. LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade and Allen Iverson are the starting five.
Iverson might be a poor choice by the voting fans, but his election is no surprise, since he had a hefty lead in the most recent voting returns.
Now the question, as far as the Bulls are concerned, is whether Derrick Rose will be chosen as a reserve, snapping the team’s 12-year run with no all-stars.
As I wrote a few days ago, I believe Rose should be an all-star. My picks for the East reserves are Rose, Atlanta’s Joe Johnson, Toronto’s Chris Bosh, Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace, Boston’s Paul Pierce, Washington’s Antawn Jamison and New York’s David Lee.
Rose’s prime competition figured to come from Boston’s Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen, along with Cleveland’s Mo Williams, an all-star last year.
On Tuesday, though, Williams suffered a shoulder sprain against Toronto and is expected to be out 2-4 weeks. It’s possible he could be healthy in time for the Feb. 14 All-Star Game at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, but the injury might effect the coaches’ vote, which will take place in the next few days.
Several national media members have made all-star picks in recent days and Rose was selected by about half of them. Williams and Rondo also got plenty of support.
Choosing between Rose and Rondo is a tough call, I think. Anyone who watched the Bulls-Celtics playoff series knows Rondo is an outstanding talent who does a great job running that team. Is he a better player than Rose or just a product of great teammates?
I can’t make a strong argument against Rondo. It will probably come down to how much the coaches value a winning record and whether they’ll vote for three Celtics on the team, since Pierce is a likely addition. Maybe Rose and Rondo will both make it.
ROSE READY TO WIN VOTE?
Looking at the voting results, it’s easy to think Rose is in good shape to move into the top two next year and become an all-star starter. He finished fifth and the three people directly ahead of him – Allen Iverson, Vince Carter and Ray Allen – are on the down side of their careers.
There are too many variables to know for sure, though. Will Dwyane Wade or Joe Johnson change teams? Will Kentucky’s John Wall be next year’s rookie sensation? What about Brandon Jennings?
It would be sad if Carter is voted an all-star reserve. He’s averaging a mundane 16.5 points and shooting a miserable 38.4 percent from the field. Meanwhile, the Magic, 3-7 in its last 10 games, is in danger of getting passed up by the streaking Charlotte Bobcats and falling to fifth place in the East standings.
MCGRADY DROPS OUT
Fortunately for the NBA, Houston’s Tracy McGrady dropped out of the top two in the Western Conference guard vote. So the West starters will be Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tim Duncan.
I haven't taken a thorough look at the West reserves, but would have to say Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul and Brandon Roy are automatic. The final three spots should be interesting. Golden State's Monta Ellis can make a claim and someone should probably go from the surprising Grizzlies, either Zach Randolph or Rudy Gay.
McGrady has played in just eight games after recovering form knee surgery and is currently working out on his own in Chicago hoping to be traded.