By Ian Parfrey @Ianparfrey
The NBA completed the All-Star rosters by announcing the 14 reserves tonight, as voted on by the coaches in each conference. As you probably know by now, they pitched a shutout against the Nets, which tells me that the Nets either play such good team basketball that no one really knows who their star players are, or that NBA coaches don’t actually watch the games, because they’re too worried about how their hair looks in TV closeups.
We’ll take a look at the West team first, since it’s less of a source of local controversy. The West starters are Dwight Howard (Lakers), Blake Griffin (Clippers), Kevin Durant (Thunder), Kobe Bryant (Lakers), and Chris Paul (Clippers). The reserves are Tony Parker and Tim Duncan (Spurs), James Harden (Heat), Russell Westbrook (Thunder), David Lee (Warriors), Zach Randolph (Grizzlies), and LaMarcus Aldridge (Blazers). The coach, determined by whoever has the best record on January 30 (and didn’t coach the team last year), will either be Gregg Popovich or Vinny Del Negro.
First-timer: James Harden is averaging 25.8 points and 5.4 assists in his first year in Houston.
Worst picks: While LaMarcus Aldridge is Portland’s leading scorer, their best player is Nicolas Batum. And Dwight Howard, who won the popularity contest that is the fan vote. At least we don’t have to watch the spectacle of Jeremy Lin starting at point guard, and getting stripped by Dwyane Wade three straight times before spending the rest of the game on the bench.
Who should have gone: Stephen Curry is averaging 20.9 points and 6.6 assists, while making 45% of his threes for the surprising Golden State Warriors, currently 26-15 and 5th in the West. Serge Ibaka is having a terrific season in Oklahoma City, and Marc Gasol’s all-around season in Memphis (13.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists) was apparently too subtle for the voters or coaches to consider.
The East starters are Kevin Garnett (Celtics), Carmelo Anthony (Knicks), LeBron James (Heat), Dwyane Wade (Heat), and Rajon Rondo (Celtics). The reserves are Joakim Noah and Luol Deng (Bulls), Tyson Chandler (Knicks), Chris Bosh (Heat), Paul George (Pacers), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), and Jrue Holiday (Sixers). The East coach will almost definitely be Erik Spoelstra.
First-timers: At least the East got some new blood in there. Second-year sensations Kyrie Irving and Paul George, defensive centers Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah, and, uh, Jrue Holiday. More about him in a moment…
Worst picks: Celtic fans unmasked themselves as the worst homers in the league by electing both Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo from a team that’s currently a game under .500. Also, Jrue Holiday somehow made the team despite leading all Eastern Conference guards in turnovers, for a 17-25 team.
Who should have gone: It’s ridiculous to suggest that Jrue Holiday is having a better year at point guard than Deron Williams, or Brandon Jennings, or even the Pacers’ George Hill. Unfortunately for Brook Lopez, the East has a lot of borderline All-Star big men. At least Lopez is in decent company– Al Horford, David West, and Carlos Boozer aren’t going, either. West in particular is having a great bounceback year for the Pacers, but second-leading scorers on defensive grind-it-out teams don’t usually get All-Star berths.
The All-Star game will be Sunday, February 17, in Houston. The well-rested Nets open the second half of the season at home against Milwaukee on February 19.