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Rose's All-Star hopes fading
by Sam Smith
Posted on Jan 1
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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
Derrick Rose’s chances to become the first Bulls player since Michael Jordan to play in the All-Star game were jolted with the release of the latest returns Thursday.
Rose, who had moved up to seventh from eighth in the second voting, fell back to eighth and even behind Milwaukee guard Luke Ridnour. Rose fell more than 30,000 votes behind Ridnour, who is considered to have no chance to make the team.
The leading vote getters at guard are Dwyane Wade and Allen Iverson, who’ll likely be named starters with Iverson increasing his lead over third place Vince Carter in the returns released New Year’s Day.
Fans select the starters—two guards, two forwards and a center—and the coaches vote for the seven reserves.
Carter, Ray Allen, and Joe Johnson are considered likely additions at guard with the Nets’ Devin Harris getting big support as the league’s seventh leading scorer. It’s doubtful more than six guards will be selected. Rose likely was hurt by the Bulls loss on national TV to Miami the day after Christmas with Mario Chalmers recording superior statistics to Rose’s. That kind of game holds considerable clout with the coaches since many coaches watch fewer basketball games than many fans as the coaches repeatedly watch film of their own team. So games on national TV when a lot of teams are off tend to carry more weight.
The Bulls’ declining record also will hurt Rose as coaches like to pick players from winning teams, and the fan voting also is proving a detriment.
Iverson is not having an All-Star season. But he is likely riding his popularity to a start with the Pistons still a winning team. Johnson is probably the most deserving East guard after Wade given the season he and his team are having. Johnson was 11th in the guard voting (11 players were listed because Gilbert Arenas was sixth even though he hasn’t played). That makes Johnson, in my view, the league’s most underrated player. He’s become a bigtime star the way he carries the Hawks and produces regularly, defends and is unselfish.
For overrated, you’d have to go to the Nets’ Yi Jianlian, who is third in the East forward voting and actually moving up from the last returns on Kevin Garnett. If Yi wins the fan voting for second and a start, obviously from the internet voting from China, that would push players like Rose further down as Garnett, Chris Bosh and Paul Pierce are sure All-Stars at forward in addition to leading vote getter at the position, LeBron James.
The East likely will have just one center in overall leading vote getter Dwight Howard with Samuel Dalembert second among East centers. Mom, let your babies grow up to be Eastern Conference centers.
Since team wins generally sway the coaches picking reserves, Orlando is making a case for Hedo Turkoglu and/or Rashard Lewis while the Cavs now are pushing Mo Williams.
The Bulls are in Cleveland Friday with the Cavs now with the league’s second best record, just one game behind the Celtics, Boston pushing for their point guard Rajon Rondo as an All-Star. James is by far the consensus midseason MVP and you won’t hear arguments from the Bulls, whom he’s burned for two 41-point games last month. Luol Deng remains out, but Drew Gooden could return as the Bulls wrap up three weeks without consecutive homes games, eight of 12 on the road and five losses in the last seven. While the Cavs are 16-0 at home. And calling for multiple All-Stars.
“Mo is performing at an All-Star level,” Cavs coach Mike Brown told Cleveland reporters. “He’s been a little under the radar right now because of the season Boston is having, the assist numbers Rondo is putting up lately and people are rightfully raving about him. Devin Harris is getting attention because he had some 40-point games. If we needed it, Mo probably could carry us and have a couple of 40-point games. Mo is a deserving candidate and hopefully he’ll get consideration.”
It all conspires to make the road to an All-Star selection for the Bulls’ rookie most uncertain. The final balloting update will be Jan. 8 with the starters announced Jan. 22. The reserves will be announced Jan. 29 for the Feb. 15 game in Phoenix.
In the Western Conference, Tim Duncan leads at forward with Amare Stoudemire holding a narrow second place lead over Carmelo Anthony. At guard, Kobe Bryant leads with Tracy McGrady holding an increasing lead over Chris Paul that also could skew the vote and leave off someone deserving.
McGrady has frequently been hurt again and often doesn’t play back to backs anymore. But if he is voted in as a starter it could hurt someone like Chauncey Billups, Brandon Roy, Tony Parker, LaMarcus Aldridge, Deron Williams, Steve Nash or someone putting up big numbers for a poor team like Al Jefferson.
That’s because Yao Ming is certain to be named a starter and Shaquille O’Neal is having his best offensive season since the Heat won the title in 2006 and he likely will be added by the coaches.
So there should be the usual complaining about omissions. Though the theory is it’s an exhibition and the fans should see the players they want to see most. It will be argued again in a few weeks.
Rose certainly will participate in the rookie/sophomore game the Friday of All-Star weekend, perhaps with improving teammate Joakim Noah on the sophomore team after Noah wasn’t invited as a rookie last season.
Perhaps the most deserving Bull, if not for the Sunday game but for the Saturday night major skill contests, is Ben Gordon for the three point shootout. That’s something of a Bulls tradition with Craig Hodges a two-time winner and record holder for consecutive shots made and Steve Kerr and Jordan former participants. Gordon is 13th in overall three point percentage at an impressive 43.6 percent. Gordon is seventh overall in three pointers attempted and tied for second with Mike Bibby behind Rashard Lewis in three pointers made.