Del Negro says he'll lobby for Bulls All-Star votes


Jan 11

It’s getting close to the time when coaches will begin voting for the All-Star reserves, and Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro says he’ll be doing some lobbying for his players.

Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah figure to be in the conversation. After the fans pick the starters in the voting, all the coaches vote for reserves. Coaches cannot vote for their own players. The total votes are tallied for the seven reserves.

Rose is averaging 18.5 points per game, which ranks No. 1 in the East among point guards. That’s with Gilbert Arenas not eligible since he was suspended. Rose is 12th in the NBA in assists and fourth among East point guards behind Rajon Rondo, Arenas and Chris Duhon, the latter two not contenders. There’s a good chance Rondo will be picked as a reserve for the Celtics, who figure to have at least three All-Stars along with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. The coaches, though, are not asked to differentiate between guard positions in voting.

The key for Rose might be if Allen Iverson, who could be voted as a starter, elects not to play as he’s suggested because of injury or if he falls out of the top two spots for guard starters.

Noah is second in the NBA in rebounding at 12.2 per game and one of nine players averaging a double/double with 10.8 points. Noah also is 13th in blocks with 1.74 per game. But with the Bulls five games below .500 entering Monday’s game with the Detroit Pistons, both Bulls players are questionable because the coaches generally tend to reward players from winning teams. Plus, when the coaches vote next week the Bulls will be on a western road trip, where they usually don’t fare well.

None of the Bulls players ranked in the top five in fan voting, which concluded with paper ballots Sunday and on line ballots next weekend

“Derrick started off slow with his ankle, but if you look at his numbers the last month and a half he’s been very productive in a lot of areas,” said Del Negro. “The same with Joakim. Joakim has been very consistent from Day 1. He’s second in the league in rebounding and up there in double/doubles. He’s been fantastic. Offensive rebounds, especially, but rebounds in total. Those are both guys you have to look at. And hopefully they will get serious consideration because they deserve it.

“I’ve had other coaches (contact me),” said Del Negro. “I’m not going to tell you what I’m going to do, but there’s ways to put a bug in different coaches ears you know or know well. I’ve had coaches send letters, phone calls or emails or texts. I’m going to do some things. I’m not saying what I’ll do because I want to concentrate on the games. It’s more important to worry about the wins and losses, but if there’s a way to help my players get in that game and they deserve it I’ll do it.

“I think it’s (good for an organization to do to),” said Del Negro. “It shows support for the effort the guys are putting in. I think our guys are deserving. You’ve got to do it the right way, but let their play dictate the All-Star play and usually it does. There are always issues about some guys making it, but that’s out of your control. I hope they both make it and I think they’re both deserving.”

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