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Bulls Fri Feb 04 2011
The Bulls have been great this season -- third in the East, fourth in the whole NBA -- so there are a few folks annoyed by last night's announcement that the team won't have a second all-star alongside starter Derrick Rose.
Instead, the East reserves, as chosen by the league's head coaches, will be Boston's Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen; Atlanta's Al Horford and Joe Johnson; and Miami's Chris Bosh. (Here are the full rosters for both teams.)
That leaves no room for Chicago's Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah, both of whom have missed significant time because of injuries, and Luol Deng, who has shouldered a huge load in their absence.
Should we take to the snow-covered streets with pitchforks and torches? I debated the issue last night on Twitter with Sherron Shabazz, a Chicagoan who writes about the NBA for Examiner.com. Here's the transcript, edited slightly for clarity and readability:
Jim: Luol Deng is playing very well this season, but you are a wild Bulls homer if you think he deserves one of 12 East all-star spots.
Sherron: The problem is a few teams got multiple players who are having down years to make the ASG because they have good records. Well, the Bulls have the 2nd best record in the East and the 3rd best record in the NBA. Shouldn't they get the same treatment? [Edit: This was before Miami leapfrogged Chicago with Thursday's win in Orlando.]
Jim: Who did you have in mind for having "down years"? The Celtics? Tim Duncan?
Sherron: Yep. And Bosh.
Jim: There are way too few NBA all-star spots to start assigning based on team success. Wins don't mean Bulls "deserve" a 2nd guy.
Sherron: Well someone should tell the people who picked 4 Celtics. Allen and Garnett are great... but they've had better seasons.
Jim: Duncan is irrelevant, being out West. I agree Bosh and Joe Johnson are borderline candidates.
Sherron: Irrelevant how?
Jim: Duncan is irrelevant for purposes of deciding who should have made the East team.
Sherron: Yeah I mean the game in general. [Kevin] Love got screwed because of Duncan being picked. But the Spurs have a better record.
Jim: Either Boozer or Noah or maybe both definitely would have made it if they hadn't both missed nearly half the first half.
Sherron: I would like to think so...but I have my doubts. I guess we'll see next year if they're both healthy and producing the same way.
Jim: Oh, I am highly confident Noah and Boozer are held in greater esteem than Bosh and Joe Johnson, especially with the Bulls' team success.
Duncan was probably a legacy pick. But that West team could be configured any number of ways. So many candidates. I find it hard to get too outraged about the West because there's no easy way to do it.
Sherron: I'm actually more outraged about the West than any Bulls snub. I think you can go either way in the East. Love has 40 double-doubles.
Jim: Boozer and Noah were essentially excluded (rightfully) from consideration b/c of the injuries. Deng is a shaky backup candidate.
I always see NBA all-star game as being about "the best" players, in an overall sense. KG & Ray Allen are better than Deng. MLB consistently picks borderline players for having strong first halves, but NBA rightfully picks its stars & best players.
Sherron: I agree partially. But if you reward 4 Celtics, 3 Heat, and 2 Hawks ... come on now. Booz has better numbers than KG,
Allen Al & Bosh.
Jim: Boozer has played in 60% of the Bulls' games this season. He is ineligible almost by definition, especially since he brings B-level star power.
In conclusion: Great job so far, but no one wants to see Luol Deng in the all-star game.