NBA All-Star 2008 Ballot
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Jan. 21, 2008 -- The starters for the 2008 NBA All-Star Game will be officially announced on Thursday. Here are the players that the one-man Race to the MVP committee feels should be packing their bags and heading to New Orleans next month.

Eastern Conference
Guard - Ray Allen, Celtics: Of course I thought about putting the Heat's Dwyane Wade in this spot, but the sweet-shooting Allen gets the nod based on the success of the front-running Celtics.

Guard - Jason Kidd, Nets: Mr. Triple-Double is enjoying one of the best seasons of his Hall of Fame career.

Forward - Kevin Garnett, Celtics: It doesn't matter if he is in the Western Conference or Eastern Conference, KG belongs on the court when the ball is tipped. The preseason favorite to win the MVP is averaging almost 20 points and 10 rebounds and is the heart and soul for the best club in the league.

Forward - LeBron James, Cavaliers: Pencil him into this spot for the next 10 years. He rebounds like a power forward, passes like a point guard and has emerged this season as the best scorer in the game.

Center - Dwight Howard, Magic: He has been named Player of the Month each month of the season so far and at times has been almost unguardable.

Western Conference
Guard - Chris Paul, Hornets: A case can be made for Deron Williams, Brandon Roy, Tony Parker, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash and Baron Davis, but Paul is having a better season statistically than all of them. Plus the game is being played in his arena.

Guard - Kobe Bryant, Lakers: The All-Star Game is an exhibition and Bryant is the league's biggest star.

Forward - Tim Duncan, Spurs: No All-Star Game would be complete without Mr. Double-Double in the lineup, although you could argue that Carlos Boozer or Carmelo Anthony have played well enough to earn a starting position.

Forward - Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks: The reigning MVP has snapped out of an early-season funk and is playing as well as anyone in the league.

Center - Amare Stoudemire, Suns: Sorry Yao Ming and Marcus Camby, Stoudemire has been the most dominant big in the West this season.

Time to respond to some of your e-mails.

Richie in Philippines: I just want to ask why my man Dwyane Wade is not included on your list? He is averaging over 22 points and six assists per game.

Brooks: D-Wade is one of the five most talented ballers in the league, but even his biggest fans should realize there is no way he can be considered an MVP candidate this season. He missed the beginning of the year because of injury and even though he is regaining his swagger, Miami continues to be one of the worst teams in the entire NBA. Even in Pat Riley's worst nightmare, he never could have imagined his club being 8-31 and in the middle of a 13-game losing streak.

Yaks in New York: Tracy McGrady deserves to be MVP. He always gets robbed of everything he should get. I hope you guys give him one MVP trophy before he retires.

Brooks: C'mon man, knock it off. Not only does T-Mac not deserve the MVP, he also doesn't deserve to be a starter in the All-Star Game. The West is stacked with talented guards who should get a spot in the league's biggest showcase ahead of the injury-prone McGrady.

Jim in Memphis: Why isn't Memphis' Rudy Gay on your list?

Brooks: Gay is on my list ... the one I'm compiling about the game's most exciting dunkers.

Chirag in Texas: Thanks for bringing Yao Ming back into the top 20. The Rockets had a nice streak until they lost to the Hornets and Sixers. P.S., if you didn't write your rankings, I wouldn't ever come to, so why don't you write about the coach, defensive player and sixth man of the year, too? I'm sure they would also be hits.

Brooks: You got it. Before the All-Star break, I'll bang out rankings for the other major awards.

Tyler in Canada: Yo Mo-Mo (can I call you that?). What do you think about Chris Bosh? He should be raised a little higher since he has been playing so good lately, right?

Brooks: Considering some of the negative names that R2MVP readers have called me, I guess Mo-Mo isn't that bad. Bosh has been tearing up the league lately, scoring at least 25 points in five of his past six games for the Raptors, who have won five of seven. I guess you have to wait until Tuesday to see if that is enough for him to climb up the rankings.

Beso in California: Hey Maurice, I don't understand how you could drop Baron Davis with the way he has been playing. Sometimes your R2MVP doesn't make sense although it is still the best thing on

Brooks: Yeah man, I had a tough time deciding between B-Diddy, Dirk Nowitzki and Brandon Roy this week. After careful consideration, I ranked Davis third out of that terrific trio.

Red in Florida Hi Mr. Brooks! I just thought of an answer to your question about Stephon Marbury being No. 9 on the NBA's most popular jersey list. Maybe it is the cheapest jersey in the NBA right now, like his basketball shoes.

Brooks: You may be on to something although personally, I wouldn't wear either of them.


Tareq in the United Kingdom: It is about time that Kobe got his well-deserved respect. I know you must have received this about one million times this week. I LOVE YOU!!!

Brooks: And to think, Valentine's Day isn't for another couple of weeks.

Mike in Canada: Hey Brooks, your column and e-mails have been amusing me for a while. Keep it up. With that being said, I can't believe how much credit you are giving Kobe. That is not like you. Was that really you who wrote that last column?

Brooks: Contrary to popular belief, I have never been a Bryant hater. If you do your thing, I'll acknowledge it.

Vinny in Australia: Hey Mo, why aren't Chris Paul and Dwight Howard being shown any love in your rankings? I am not a fan of Bryant, but I agree with your decision to have him first. D12 and CP3 should be up higher on your list though.

Brooks: I guess having them third and fourth, respectively, isn't good enough for you huh?

Alex in Scotland: Hi, I love your article. I was having an argument with my friend about who is the best point guard in the NBA. While Chris Paul is having an amazing season, I feel that Steve Nash is the best in the league. My friend thinks that it is Paul. I was wondering your opinion so I can rub it in my friend's face. Thanks and keep writing.

Brooks: Bad news, Alex. Yes, I know how wonderful Steve Nash is. Yes, I know he is a two-time MVP winner. Still, this season, the guy running the show in New Orleans who is flirting with becoming the first player to ever average over 20 points, 10 assists and three steals a game is the best lead guard in the Association. As a matter of fact, I think Jason Kidd is playing better than Nash right now, too.

Eric in California Finally! I needed a break. Every week since you began writing R2MVP I've had to find the time to petition the NBA to fire you for not having Kobe in the No. 1 spot.

Brooks: Oh, so it was you that was sending all of those letters to the Commissioner's office?

Rob in Canada: Maurice, why isn't Gerald Wallace an MVP candidate? He is a great player who can do it all.

Brooks: If I were doing regular player rankings instead of MVP rankings, Wallace's name would be on the list. He is the ultimate stat-sheet stuffer. Over the past six games he is averaging over 28 points. Last week against the Grizzlies, he had seven rebounds, six assists and seven steals. There aren't a lot of players who can do that.

Mike in California: Is it possible that you finally ranked Bryant at the top because you knew due to Andrew Bynum's injury, the chemistry of the Lakers would change and they would begin losing games? You know they are going to be weaker over the course of the next eight weeks and that will be your excuse to drop him in the MVP rankings.

Brooks: What do you do for a living, solve mysteries? If that is the case, can you shed some light on what really happened to Tupac and Biggie?

Alex in Arizona: I know it was only one game, but was Thursday's performance (13 points, 20 assists) enough to put Steve Nash into first place?

Brooks: No.

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