Cohen 8-Ball: And the East All-Stars Should Be...
January 6, 2013
Josh Cohen’s Analysis: There is still time to vote and it’s possible Chris Bosh could eclipse Kevin Garnett in the final ballot, but in all probability the East starters in Houston will be Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Garnett, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo. I personally think Brook Lopez should start over KG and I’m not convinced the Celtics big man is an All-Star this season. Boston and the L.A. Lakers are the two most disappointing teams to this point of the season and to have two starters from the C’s represent the East just seems outlandish.
Cohen’s Analysis: Credit to Josh Smith for not letting all the trade rumblings and impending free agency distract him from having the best season of his career. Many thought he should have been an All-Star last season, but was affronted. No chance that happens this year, especially because the Hawks are the league’s Cinderella story. Most assumed after trading Joe Johnson that Atlanta was headed for the draft lottery. Instead, it has a chance to march to the conference finals.
Cohen’s Analysis: Last season was ominous for Al Horford, who missed most of the year with a shoulder injury. The two-time NBA All-Star has returned with a vengeance and is more complete than ever. The Hawks are shocking the nation and Horford is a big reason why.
Cohen’s Analysis: There has already been incessant drama in Brooklyn. Avery Johnson was fired as head coach, Deron Williams’ performance has dipped and critics have recognized it. The Joe Johnson trade may have been a blunder and the team was a disaster in December. Yet, Brook Lopez has opened the eyes of many and his offensive repertoire is rather extraordinary. Already a potent scorer, even Lopez’ defense and rebounding is on the rise.
Cohen’s Analysis: Honestly, I’m not convinced Chris Bosh is an All-Star this season, but his statistics are respectable enough and the fact that the Heat are still the favorites to compete for a second straight championship makes it rather difficult to skip him. Chicago’s Joakim Noah and Indiana’s David West have had bigger impacts on their particular teams, but yet Bosh’s star power may prevail.
Cohen’s Analysis: The Bulls need representation in the All-Star Game considering they continue to be a legitimate playoff team without Derrick Rose. Luol Deng is the team’s most reliable and resourceful player. He is renowned for his defensive prowess and fills up the box score also. He earned an All-Star appearance last season. No reason he should be derailed this time either.
Cohen’s Analysis: Either Brandon Jennings or Monta Ellis should probably be rewarded a spot, but not both. Their stats are nearly identical and they are compatible in overall performance. Milwaukee is a fringe playoff contender so it doesn’t necessarily demand representation. But, it generally has played well. Also, the East needs a second point guard, right? Jennings is my choice, although Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday must be considered too.
Cohen’s Analysis: Well, normally it’s very difficult for players on teams below the playoff line to be rewarded a spot. But, after all the disparagement and extremely low expectations following the Dwight Howard trade, it turns out the Magic received two studs in the deal, Arron Afflalo and Nikola Vucevic. Afflalo has glistened in his first season in Orlando and I believe he is the second best shooting guard in the East (behind Dwyane Wade). The East needs another backcourt player on the roster. So, why not Arron?
Cohen’s Analysis: This last slide must be snubs since each conference can only have 12 players suit up. First off, Joakim Noah, David West, Greg Monroe and Tyson Chandler must all be considered, but there are other frontcourt players ahead in line. Paul Pierce is still All-Star caliber, but how can we reward the most underachieving team in the conference with three invitees? Perhaps Indiana should have representation since it has managed to thrive without Danny Granger. Paul George should be closely reviewed. Also, Jrue Holiday, Monta Ellis, JR Smith and DeMar DeRozan are borderline All-Stars. Assuming Arron Afflalo is passed over, George, Smith or Holiday would be next in line.