There’s no science in picking an NBA All-Star Team; you let the fans pick the five most popular players in each conference and let the coaches pick the subs. Sounds simple enough, right?
Well, it should be. But that’s really not the case. More often than not, you still have questionable choices on each squad, players being picked either out of necessity - Jamaal Magloire, anyone? - or as a merit to their lifetime achievements even if they clearly don’t belong among the season's best of the best.
This year, the voters - that’s us, the fans - and the coaches pretty much nailed the whole line-up, albeit with a few exceptions. We'll get to see them play at the 2012 NBA All-Star game to be held at Amway Center in Orlando on February 27, Manila time. But before that, we’re gonna dive into the five starters of each conference, as well as the respective bench players and point out who we think should have made it and who should have been left out.
Let's start with the Beasts from the East
Who made it:
Guard: Derrick Rose
Guard: Dwyane Wade
Forward: Lebron James
Forward: Carmelo Anthony
Center: Dwight Howard
All of them deserve a starting nod, save one: Carmelo Anthony. While we don't question the potency of his game, the Knicks' go-to guy isn’t really having the kind of year we all expected him to have.
So allow us to put in his place, Andre Iguodala. He's been chosen as a reserve, but we think the dude has the right to hang with the starters. He's been having a pretty stellar season without anybody noticing it. His numbers won’t jump out of the page - 12.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 5.3 apg - but when you talk about the most indispensable player in that sneaky good Philly team, the one guy that can do everything offensively AND shut down the team’s best wing player, it’s Iguodala.
The East Reserves
Who Made It:
Guard: Deron Williams
Guard: Joe Johnson
Forward: Paul Pierce
Forward: Chris Bosh
Center: Roy Hibbert
Flex: Andre Iguodala
Flex: Luol Deng
The biggest beef we have with the Eastern reserves is the choice of Paul Pierce over Rajon Rondo as the lone Celtics player on that team. It sort of feels like the same rationale the coaches used in picking Dirk Nowitzki on the West All-Stars.
Both are no doubt Hall of Famers, but for their contributions this season, they don’t deserve to be on this team. In Pierce’s case, he showed up this season completely out-of-shape, having only found his legs in the past few weeks.
Don't get us wrong; Pierce still has his nights. But Rondo, for his part, has been pretty much the guy that has kept the Celtics afloat all year, especially when the not-so-Big-Three-anymore were struggling at various points in the season.
Our second contention is the inclusion of Joe Johnson over Josh Smith. It’s too ridiculous to even explain. Joe is averaging just 17.6 ppg this season (his lowest since 2004) at an inefficient 42.5% shooting clip (his lowest since 2002). Josh Smith, on the other hand, is getting it done on both sides of the court, nearly averaging a double-double, while maintaining his appetite for steals and blocks.
Today though, it seems the basketball gods have heard our complaints. Joe Johnson is out with a knee injury, with the aforementioned Celtic point guard taking his place.
NEXT: And now, your Western Conference All-Stars