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Posted by Rob Peterson on Feb. 1, 2005 3 p.m. ET


We're still 19 days away from the NBA's 54th All-Star Game on Feb. 20 in Denver but Thursday on TNT, the starters for the game will be announced. (Gotta reserve flights, you know.)

As far as who those starters will be, we don't know as voting ending on Jan. 23.Still, using the most recent voting results, one can make an educated guess as to whom will start in Denver.

Let's get the easiest guess out of the way. You can probably expect to see the Rockets' Yao Ming and Miami's Shaquille O'Neal to start for their respective conferences. At last count, Yao had 2,153,039 votes or 689,304 more than all the Western Conference centers combined. Some would call that "an insurmountable lead."

Shaq's no slouch when it comes to collecting votes, either. His 2,099,201 votes is 600K more than all other East centers combined.

It also appears the Rockets will have two starters in Denver, as Tracy McGrady leads all West guards with 1,688,159 votes.

As for McGrady's backcourt mate, it could be Kobe Bryant, who was more than 642K votes ahead of Phoenix's MVP candidate, Steve Nash (more on Nash below). That being said, if he's a starter, will Kobe be able to play? Some reports have him being out 'til mid-February because of his sprained ankle.
-- [Los Angeles Times Reg. req'd.]

Finally, at forward in the West, it looks as if the NBA's last two regular season MVPs -- Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett -- have slots locked up. It probably wouldn't be a stretch either to see the coaches tab Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire and Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki as reserves in the West's deepest position.

Meanwhile in the East, it appears as if Allen Iverson will make his sixth All-Star team at guard, while phenom LeBron James could pull double-duty All-Star Weekend, first in the got milk? Rookie Challenge, then as an Eastern Conference starter at guard.

The closest race in the East is at forward where Vince Carter (check out his wild week hereand the amazing Grant Hill are tops.
-- []

Hill, however, is only 106,148 votes ahead of Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal for a starter's spot. It is not inconceivable that O'Neal could surpass him. Hill has a diplomatic view of the situation.
-- [Daytona Beach News-Journal]

As for Carter, he's downplaying his status as a potential All-Star.
-- [Newark Star-Ledger]

No need to downplay, Vince. And no need for people to wonder why Carter's a leading vote-getter despite having numbers this season that are below his career averages. You want to know why people vote for Vince. Here's why. It's his 360 against the Lakers last Friday. Yikes!
-- []

(And the best part, besides the move itself, is the the STAPLES Center crowd's reaction. After the move and announcer Paul Sunderland's "Oh, what a play! Wooooooooo!" the place continues to buzz for a good 13 seconds.)

People vote for that buzz.

Speaking of people, USA Today's readers weigh in as to who should be an All-Star.
-- [USA Today]

Let's hope there are plenty of "Woos!" during All-Star Weekend in Denver.


As you know by now, the Denver Nuggets, whom some have called the most disappointing team in the league, hired George Karl as head coach last Thursday.
-- [Washington Times]

They have promptly won their first two games under Karl, including a win, his first as Nuggets coach, over the Bucks, the team that sent him to the old NBA coaches' home -- ESPN -- 18 months prior.

Even before Karl took over, Denver columnist Bernie Lincicome said it's time for everyone to step aside and let Karl do what Karl does best: coach.
-- [Rocky Mountain News]

"You do not hire Chuck Yeager to fly the airplane and keep yelling from the window seat that there are mountains out there," Lincicome writes.

Lincicome is not the only writer to call Karl a Mr. Fix-it. He's also called that here and here.
-- [Boston Globe and South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Even a former player thinks Karl is a good fit in Denver.
-- [New York Daily News]

Also, it's good to be on Karl's staff. Why? You get things!
-- [Denver Post]

What's Karl advising the Nuggets to do? Have fun, dammit. Fun.
-- [Rocky Mountain News]

One writer summed up Karl's career in this valedictory .
-- [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

By the way, Larry Brown says he ain't goin' nowhere.
-- [Detroit Free-Press]

That's good, says this writer, because Brown's got work to do in Detroit.
-- [Detroit News]

In addition, finding a home is easier on the kids.
-- [Denver Post]

Meanwhile, how would you like to be this guy?
-- [New York Daily News]


Remember, we don't make 'em, we just link to 'em.
Gary Payton, on the block again?
-- [Boston Herald]

Is 'Toine on the move?
-- []

Anyone want a Raptor?
-- [Toronto Star, Reg. req'd]

Finally, Jerry Sloan asked his team if anyone wanted out of Utah.
-- [Deseret News]


Wilt Chamberlain said no one loves the big man. Seems this writer is holding true to this theory when it comes to Shaquille O'Neal and his one regular-season MVP award.
-- [Dallas Morning News]

I'm guessing Rasheed Wallace won't be staying in the Lincoln Bedroom anytime soon.
-- [Detroit Free-Press]

Bill Laimbeer's got next.
-- [Newark Star-Ledger]

All of this contract talk has Ray Allen's head spinning.
-- [Seattle Times]

How good are the Bulls? One writers says they're about to find out.
-- [Chicago Tribune, Reg. req'd.]

Another Windy City scribe says the five-game trip, which includes the Nets, Heat, Mavs, Rockets and Wolves, isn't daunting.
-- [Chicago Sun-Times]

Canadians love Steve Nash, eh?
-- [Arizona Republic]

One man's opinion on who should be MVP.
-- []

Man, reporters can be annoying!
-- [Indy Star]


The Suns believe they can win the NBA title this year? Do you?
-- [Arizona Republic]

Meanwhile, the Steve Nash for MVP bandwagon has chugged out of the driveway.
-- [Detroit Free Press]

Do you feel a "Woo!" coming on with Vince at All-Star?
(Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images)

Pistons coach Larry Brown on putting the kibosh on speculation regarding his future:

"This is my last coaching job."

2004-05 ARCHIVE
Feb. 1 -- All Starters
Jan. 25 -- South by Southwest
Jan. 19 -- My Kind of Town
Jan. 11 -- 'S Wonderful
Jan. 4 -- Points Well Taken
Dec. 29 -- New Year's Wishes
Dec. 21 -- A Wonderful Life
Dec. 14 -- How Good is Good?
Dec. 7 -- Getting Medieval
Nov. 30 -- LeBron vs. Dwyane
Nov. 23 -- Playing Good Ball
Nov. 16 -- SuperbSonics
Nov. 9 -- Hitting the Blue Note
Nov. 3 -- Bling, Bang, Boom
2003-04 -- Archive