NBA All-Star 2008: The Reserves
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Jan. 25, 2008 -- Maybe Iím reaching, but I think it is time to put being a voter for the starters in the NBA All-Star Game in the thankless job category next to being a police officer, teacher and stay-at-home mother.

Regardless of how fair the selections are, there is always going to be someone to point out the so-called snubs.

This year, Iím that guy.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

The fans who selected the Eastern Conference deserve kudos. Unless you feel like really nit-picking, it is hard to disagree with any of the picks.

Kevin Garnett, Celtics - The leading vote getter is the best player on the best team.

LeBron James, Cavaliers - He is currently arm wrestling Kobe Bryant for the honor of being dubbed the most talented player in the game.

Dwight Howard, Magic - Should be the only center in the East playing in the game.

Dwyane Wade, Heat - The Heat stink, but it is definitely not his fault.

Jason Kidd, Nets - Hard to believe this is the first time he is starting in an All-Star Game for the East. The last time he was a starter, the year was 2001 and he was the quarterback of the Sunsí offense.

Here are my East reserves:

Center
Chris Bosh, Raptors - Other than Howard, there arenít any other centers in the East who are All-Star worthy so Iím sliding Torontoís CB4 to the five spot.

Forwards
Paul Pierce, Celtics - He has meshed better than anyone could have thought with fellow superstars Ray Allen and Garnett.

Caron Butler, Wizards - He has brought everything to the Wizards that Gilbert Arenas normally provides with the exception of the award-winning blog.

Guards
Ray Allen, Celtics - His numbers are down, but the Celtics have been the biggest story of the first half so I'm squeezing him onto the squad.

Chauncey Billups, Pistons - Mr. Big Shot is the heart and soul of the second best team in the East.

Wildcards

Joe Johnson, Hawks - I don't care what the Hawks' record is, this guy has been playing like an All-Star and deserves to be there.

Antawn Jamison, Wizards - How does someone averaging 21 points (including five games of 30 or more) and 10 rebounds fly under the radar?

Toughest omissions: Magicís Hedo Turkoglu, Pistonsí Richard Hamilton, Bobcatsí Gerald Wallace, Raptorsí Jose Calderon, Nets' Richard Jefferson.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

The Western Conference team is solid although I'm not all the way sold on the two Nuggets that were selected to be in the starting lineup.

Yao Ming, Rockets - His daily numbers of 22.4 points and 10.7 rebounds are definitely deserving of making the team, but as a starter over the big men in Phoenix and Denver? I donít think so.

Kobe Bryant, Lakers - Last yearís All-Star Game MVP is the most exciting player in the game.

Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets - Yes, it will be fun watching Melo catch lobs from Iverson, but Dirk Nowitzki and his 22 points, 8.4 rebounds and four assists per night were my selection.

Allen Iverson, Nuggets - This is the best season AI has had in a while, but this spot belongs to CP3.

Tim Duncan, Spurs - It can be argued that Duncan is the hottest player in the league right now. He is averaging 23.2 points and 13.7 rebounds per game over his last six contests.

My reserves in the West:

Center
Marcus Camby, Nuggets - Time to shed the "best player to never play in an All-Star Game" tag.

Forwards
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks - The reigning MVP should be grandfathered in.

Carlos Boozer, Jazz - There are only two other players (Yao Ming and Dwight Howard) averaging over 22 points and close to 11 rebounds per contest and they are both already All-Star bound.

Guards
Steve Nash, Suns - The most creative playmaker in the league was made to play in a game like this.

Chris Paul, Hornets - He is currently fourth in the R2MVP. A case could be made that he should be first.

Wildcards

Amare Stoudemire, Suns - Yes, I know it is highly unlikely that three centers will make the showcase, but I think both Camby and STAT deserve to be there.

Baron Davis, Warriors - Brandon Roy will probably get this spot, but I had a hard time passing over a guy with averages of 22 points, 8.1 dimes and 4.7 rebounds on arguably the most entertaining team in the association.

Toughest omissions: Blazersí Brandon Roy, Spursí Tony Parker, Spursí Manu Ginobili, Jazzís Deron Williams, Clippersí Chris Kaman.

Time to respond to some of your e-mails.



Ben in Australia: I think NBA.com should do a baby photos week where you swap the pictures of the players with their baby photos.

Brooks: I'm glad to see you have been paying attention. We already do that, it's called My Amazing Journey.



Nate in Utah: Kobe shouldn't be in first place for many reasons, the biggest of which is that you can rearrange the letters in his name to spell "born ET Yak." This proves that he was actually born as an extra-terrestrial yak. Do you really want ET as the MVP? I don't.

Brooks: For the first time, I'm speechless.



T-Bone in Ohio: Sniper in the night, cold blooded, instincts that only lions can relate to, fearless, insanely numb to pressure, cooler than the other side of the pillow, Mr. Swagger, Champion, Black Mamba, more focus than a camera, perennial all-star MVP, the biggest show on earth, LEADER of all LEADERS and last but not least...(drum roll please)...R2MVP No. 1! I always appreciate your rankings and understand the time and research you put into configuring them, but ever since you put KB24 in the top spot, your credibility has gone through the roof! Woof, woof! You da man, Mo!

Brooks: I'm speechless again.



Tony in Chicago: I really enjoyed your quiz, but I think you got one of the choices wrong. You should have included the Chicago Bulls as your biggest disappointment this season. I predicted they would win the East.

Brooks: You aren't the only one who expected greatness from the Bulls this season. After their success in the postseason last year, there is no way I expected them to be seven games below .500 at the midway point.



Steve in Canada: OK, no offense to Kobe, but in my opinion, Kevin Garnett has to be the MVP of the league. All you have to do is look at how poor the Timberwolves are without him and how good the Celtics are with him. Hello, Boston is the best team in the league now.

Brooks: I can't say anything bad about what KG has brought to the Celtics, but I was wondering if a pretty decent shooting guard named Ray Allen deserves a tiny bit of credit, too?



Bless in New York: Can you explain to me how come it took the Nets so long to replace Jason Collins in the Nets' starting lineup?

Brooks: That is an easy one. Numbers don't lie. Even though he is only averaging 1.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per game, New Jersey has been struggling since he went to the bench. In the 11 games in the month of January with Collins, who started 22 of 39 games this season, sitting the pine, the Nets have a record of 4-7, including six losses in a row.



Amir in Canada Hey Maurice, I love the column. I have a quick question, did you see the Magic vs. Pistons game on Monday? Am I the only person that thought Chauncey Billups traveled on his big three from downtown?

Brooks: Yeah he did. Here is the proof.



Greg in Ohio Love the column, but I have a question. Nobody expected anything from the Blazers this year so how can you have Brandon Roy ranked so low? He deserves to be up there with Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.

Brooks: I've waxed poetic many times in this space about the success of Roy and Co. Remember, the R2MVP is about the entire season. B-Roy started off in the back of the pack and is now working his way up to the front.



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