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2009 NBA All-Star Reserves: Eastern Conference Discussion

Jan 29, 2009 – 9:50 PM
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Matt Watson

Matt Watson %BloggerTitle%

Jameer Nelson and Danny Granger
The reserves for this year's NBA All-Star game were announced, and as always, there were a few surprises. We already talked about the West, but keep reading past the jump for a discussion of who made the cut in the East -- and whether anybody deserves to feel snubbed.

And the 2009 Eastern All-Star reserves are ...

F - Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
F - Rashard Lewis, Orlando Magic
F - Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers
F - Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
G - Devin Harris, New Jersey Nets
G - Jameer Nelson, Orlando Magic
G - Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks

First of all, kudos to the coaches for bending the rules and not voting in a center. Bosh, listed as a forward on the official ballot, is more than capable of manning the middle, especially in a meaningless exhibition where no one plays any defense. There are too many players who actually deserved to make the roster to justify lowering the bar for someone like Emeka Okafor simply to fill a hard-and-fast position quota.

With Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett and LeBron James voted in as starters, Orlando now has three All-Stars, Boston two and Cleveland just one. Is that fair? Let's look at who got left out:

-- Mo Williams. The Cavs entered tonight's action with the best record in the league, so the fact LeBron James won't have a sidekick along for the ride in Phoenix looks a little funny. But let's throw Cleveland's record out the window for a second and look at this objectively.

Williams, for all the attention he's received this year, is putting up almost the exact same numbers he did his last two seasons in Milwaukee. If he didn't deserve it then, why is it such a travesty now? When it comes down to it, he's a point guard averaging just 4.2 assists per game. No, it's not his fault the offense flows through LeBron, but I'd put Mike Bibby or Rajon Rondo on the team before I included Williams. Speaking of Rondo ...

-- Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. I like both of these guys, but who do you take off? It's tough to make everybody happy when there are only seven spots to fill. Rondo is having a very fine season -- he may be the best defensive point guard in the league and continues to improve as a distributor. If he keeps improving, he'll probably make the cut next year. Allen is also having a solid season, but better than Joe Johnson? For that matter, better than Vince Carter? No and no.

If Jameer Nelson's name surprises you, you haven't been paying attention. He's done an incredible job stepping up his game this year and actually ranks in the top four in PER among point guards, trailing only Chris Paul, Devin Harris and Tony Parker, and sitting one spot ahead of Chauncey Billups. That's pretty exclusive company and indicative of the extremely efficient season he's having, shooting 50.4% from the field and 44.6% from three-point land.

Some considered Danny Granger to be on the bubble, but it would have been a shame if he didn't make it. Yes, he's playing on a losing team, but you can't ignore a guy who scores 25.8 points, grabs 5.0 boards and dishes 3.4 assists a night.

All in all, I think the coaches got this right.
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