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LEFT OUT IN THE COLD
Posted by By Jeff Dengate on February 10, 2006 1:45 p.m. ET
STARS SNUBBED FOR TRIP TO HOUSTON
All right, first thing's first, Pistons fans: The format of the All-Star Game has not been changed to have the team with the best record take on the rest of the league. I can understand how you could become confused, given four of the team's starters are headed to Houston.
That said, I also understand you were hoping for a fifth, when the Commissioner named a replacement for Jermaine O'Neal. But I'll tell you why Detroit didn't get five All-Stars: Six other teams had four players in the midseason classic -- Boston (1952-53, 1961-62, 1974-75), L.A. Lakers (1961-62, 1997-98) and Philadelphia (1982-83). None of those teams got five.
Another reason? There were too many other deserving players who got snubbed.
Like who? That's what we want to know. Write in and let us know who you think got snubbed. Or, just continue reading to see what others are thinking.
Let's start with the guy who personally guaranteed he'd win the MVP award at last year's Game in Denver -- Gilbert Arenas. Okay, so Arenas didn't prove so prophetic then, but can't we bring him back to just to see the orange kicks he wore in the Skills Challenge?
-- [Washington Post]
Yes, yes we can. Shoes aside, we'll also get to see the skills that have him pouring in 28.2 points a night, fourth most in the entire league.
While Arenas makes his second straight appearance, he'll do so this year without Washington teammate Antawn Jamison. Despite having more 20-plus-point, 10-board games (19) than any other Eastern Conference player, Jamison was left off the East roster.
Also left off the roster was the 20-year old rebounding machine better known as Dwight Howard. A case could've been made -- as ESPN's Marc Stein did a week ago -- for the Magic big man to make his first trip.
While Commissioner Stern was free to pick any player regardless of position for O'Neal's replacement, some folks were thinking he should go big and select Howard. After all, since 2001, seven players had been replaced on All-Star rosters. Four of those replacements were first-timers: Elton Brand (2002), Baron Davis (2002), Antonio Davis (2001) and Vlade Divac (2001).
One of those folks: The San Antonio Express-News' Mike Monroe, who said the Commish should stick with the big kid over Arenas or the equally-deserving Michael Redd.
-- [San Antonio Express News]
Why was it a snub for Redd to not be selected? Well, he's been the catalyst behind his team already rolling to 25 wins -- the Bucks were victorious in only 30 all of last season.
-- [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
But, if you're going to make a case for Redd, Arenas or anybody not in the power forward position O'Neal occupied, then you'd have to believe a couple guys in Jersey were up for consideration.
-- [New Jersey Star-Ledger]
One would have been a first-timer (see above). The other, well, he's been-there, done-that and can always use the rest. That's not to say he didn't want to be added.
-- [New York Post, Reg. req'd]
So, while some Eastern Conference players got to feel snubbed twice, out West the team was locked in with last night's reserves announcement. Most notably missing: Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Sam Cassell.
Many are saying it was just plain wrong to leave rookie Chris Paul out of the festivities, after the Hornets have turned into one of the biggest surprises of 2005-06.
-- [The Oklahoman]
But, Sportsline.com's Tony Mejia is saying, let's not get carried away here.
As for Cassell, if he's not an All-Star in anybody else's mind, that's just fine.
-- [San Bernardino County Sun]
Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony is taking the news in stride. As his coach, George Karl is saying, he'll get there someday ...
-- [Denver Post]
So will most of the above-mentioned stars.
WAITING ON INVITES
Posted by By John Schuhmann on February 8, 2006 11:30 a.m. ET
WHO ELSE IS GOING TO HOUSTON?
It's just 11 days away. We know the starters
. Tomorrow night, we find out who the coaches have selected to come off the bench at the 2006 NBA All-Star Game
Over the last few days, basketball columnists all around the country have shared their opinions on who deserves it. Here's a sampling...
David Aldridge has a tough time selecting among the Western Conference forwards.
-- [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Peter May has the same dilemma, so he just uses five of the seven spots for forwards.
-- [Boston Globe (reg. req'd)]
Ira Winderman does the same thing as May, but he prefers Carmelo Anthony over Pau Gasol.
-- [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
In order to get them both on, Steve Kerr lists Anthony as a guard.
-- [Yahoo! Sports]
Paul Coro agrees with Winderman for the West, but he chooses to leave Vince Carter off the East squad.
-- [Arizona Republic]
Ronald Tillery also snubs Carter and makes a case for Chris Webber.
-- [Memphis Commercial Appeal (reg. req'd)]
Dave D'Alessandro makes a case for Sam Cassell out West.
-- [Newark Star-Ledger]
Vincent Bonsignore says that you can't really argue with taking four Pistons.
-- [Los Angeles Daily News]
Well, maybe the Hawks could. And don't look now, but the Mavs are just a game and a half behind the Pistons for the league's best record.
-- [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, NBA.com]
Back to the All-Star selections, we're most curious about the young guys, Chris Paul and Chris Bosh. Marc Stein thinks Paul should go as one of two guards out West and lists Bosh as his eighth pick in the East, replacing Jermaine O'Neal.
Peter Vecsey makes the process a little easier by only including players on winning teams.
-- [New York Post]
Sean Deveney agrees somewhat, citing team record in selecting Dwight Howard over Bosh.
-- [The Sporting News]
TRADE TALK HEATING UP
The trade deadline comes just four days after the All-Star Game, and there are plenty of rumors flying around the web. Keep track of them here
until the magic day, Feb. 23.