By Jordan Kabialis
The rosters for the Eastern Conference All-Stars have been completed.
Actually, the rosters were announced last Thursday but it has taken me this long to comprehend just what the heck happened.
The Miami Heat have three players on the roster while the Boston Celtics will be sending four, yes, four, players to Los Angeles on February 20th. Seven of the twelve players on the roster are coming from two teams. Granted, the Eastern Conference doesn’t have the best teams in the NBA or all of the best players, but there are at least three players that should be joining the Eastern Conference in L.A.
For those who are unaware, the Eastern Conference All-Stars are as follows:
-LeBron James, SG (Miami)*
-Amar’e Staudemire, PF (New York)*
-Dwayne Wade, SG (Miami)*
-Derrick Rose, PG (Chicago)*
-Dwight Howard, C (Orlando)*
-Ray Allen, SG (Boston)
-Chris Bosh, PF (Miami)
-Kevin Garnett, PF (Boston)
-Al Horford, C (Atlanta)
-Joe Johnson, SG (Atlanta)
-Paul Pierce, SF (Boston)
-Rajon Rondo, PG (Boston)
While you may be looking over this roster and wondering, “What’s wrong with this roster? These are all all-stars!”
The answer is that there are more deserving players out there.
It is true that all of these players are all star caliber but there are players out there who are putting up better numbers and are doing more for their teams. Let me break it down by position.
I’ll start with the point guards.
Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls will be the starting point guard for the Eastern Conference. Rose is the first Bull since Michael Jordan to start in an all-star game. This is Rose’s second all-star selection and first as a starter. He is averaging 24.4 points per game, 4.5 rebounds, and 8.2 assists. Rose is, in my mind, the leading candidate so far for league MVP and has his Bulls at 34-15, third best in the East. Joining him at the point guard position is Boston’s Rajon Rondo.
Rondo has been phenomenal for the Celtics averaging 10.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 12.4 APG and is certainly deserving of his spot on the roster, despite the fact that I hate the guy.
Now let’s look at the shooting guards on the roster.
Miami’s Dwayne Wade was voted as the starting two guard for the East. Wade, one of the Heat’s “Big Three”, is averaging 25.4 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 4.3 APG.
There are two other shooting guards on the roster for the East, Ray Allen and Joe Johnson. Allen is averaging 17.3 PPG and is shooting an impressive 50.6% from the field but it’s his 45.7% from beyond the arc that is what makes him so dangerous and deserving of his spot on the roster.
Joe Johnson, the third shooting guard on the roster, is averaging 20.5 PPG for the Atlanta Hawks and along with teammates Al Horford and Josh Smith have the Hawks at 33-18 and in 4th place in the East and exceeding expectations.
There are only about three all-star caliber centers in the Eastern Conference and only two healthy ones, both of which are on the roster.
Dwight Howard will start at center and is averaging 22.4 PPG, 13.7 RPG, and is shooting 58.1% from the field. Right now, he is the only player keeping Orlando afloat in the East.
Atlanta’s Al Horford is also an all-star averaging 16.2 PPG, 9.9 RPG, and shooting 56.9% from the floor. His performance in the first half has greatly benefited the Hawks.
Now for the questionable positions, starting with the small forwards. Starting at the small forward position for the East is none other than LeBron James.
The coveted free agent that took his talents to South Beach this summer is averaging 26.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 7.3 APG. James, despite having Dewayne Wade and Chris Bosh by his side, is still being mentioned as a lead candidate for his third consecutive MVP award.
The other small forward on the East’s roster is Boston’s Paul Pierce.
This is where things get sketchy.
Although Pierce is averaging 18.9 PPG and 5.0 RPG, there are more deserving players in the East.
Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls should be in L.A. with the East on February 20th. He is averaging 17.8 PPG and 6.2 RPG for the Bulls while playing a major role for the team. The Bulls have looked to Deng to stay healthy and provide an additional outside threat for the team. Deng has exceeded the expectations I have had for him and responded extremely well to the role that he has been put in. He is a major reason the Bulls are where they are.
Last but not least, the power forwards.
I figured I’d save this one for last because it angers me the most.
Amar’e Staudemire has been voted the starter for the East and there is no one better than Amar’e at the moment. He is averaging 26.3 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 2.2 blocked shots, and is shooting 50.5% from the floor. He has been simply outstanding for the Knicks so far and has them in 6th place in the East.
The other two power forwards on the roster are Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics. Bosh is averaging 18.2 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, and shooting 49.4%. Garnett is averaging 15 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.4 APG, and shooting 53.2%. These aren’t terrible numbers by any means but neither should be on the roster. There are two other players in the East who are more important to their teams and putting up better numbers than either of these players.
I’ll start with Carlos Boozer.
Boozer is averaging better numbers than both Bosh and Garnett in every single category I listed for them. Boozer is averaging a double-double with 19.8 points and 10.2 rebounds; he’s basically a 20 and 10 player. Boozer is also averaging 2.4 assists and is shooting 54.6% from the floor. Boozer has been a work horse for the Bulls and has provided the low post presence that the Bulls have desperately needed.
Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks is the other player that should be an all-star. Smith has helped Atlanta with 16.3 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 3.5 APG, and almost 2 blocked shots per game as well. The only statistic that Smith does not exceed both Bosh and Garnett in is points per game but he still leads Garnett by a full point.
Like the Bulls, the Hawks are a team with one well-known star player (Joe Johnson) and a lot of hard working players who help get their team in a position to win.
Josh Smith, Carlos Boozer, and Luol Deng were all overlooked for the all-star team while the spots that should go to them were given to players with recognizable names like Chris Bosh, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce. Those three players play on teams with some of the best in the league.
In Boston, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo are so good at what they do they draw a significant amount of attention and open things up for Pierce and Garnett.
Bosh gets to play with Wade and James; he’s nothing special. Everyone’s attention is on those two not him.
The seven roster spots that the fans do not vote for should go to those who do the most for their team and truly deserve it.