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Rose likely starting All-Star game
by Sam Smith
Posted on Jan 12
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Heck, I didn’t even know All-Star voting had started with the season just a few weeks old. And now it’s about over for the fans.
That’s because with the release of the first returns Thursday, the starting lineups appear set with Derrick Rose to start again at guard.
I’m not suggesting, mind you, that your vote doesn’t count and you shouldn’t make it. Express your views of your favorites. But you may feel like the Republican residents of Utah, whose primary is at the end of June. All I hear lately is if Mitt Romney wins South Carolina next week, it’s over. There will be several more All-Star voting returns, but from past experience and observation, it seems doubtful the fan results will change in the East.
The Eastern Conference starting lineup looks like this:
Guards: Rose and Dwyane Wade.
Forwards: LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
Center: Dwight Howard.
I’ve never seen the totals so dominant for the top two in guards and forwards and top one at center compared with the runnersup. The full results are posted at the bottom here and in a press release on Bulls.com.
Rajon Rondo trails at guard by almost 400,000 votes behind Rose and Wade, who are close. Rose is fourth overall in the voting practically tied with LeBron James and behind Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant.
Amar’e Stoudemire trails at forward by more than 300,000 behind second place Anthony. And Howard leads second place Joakim Noah by almost 700,000 votes.
The order doesn’t usually change much in the subsequent returns unless it’s close now. There aren’t many rural returns coming in late.
After the starters are voted by the fans, the conference coaches select the reserves. And Luol Deng appears to be in a fight for the final spot on the team. He has a reasonably good chance to make it for the first time because the Bulls have a chance to have one of the best records in the Eastern Conference, if not the best.
The best chance for a second Bull was thought to be at center with little competition and even Miami’s Joel Anthony on the ballot. But Noah has had a shaky start. Still, that could change as Atlanta’s Al Horford, the favorite for backup center, was hurt Wednesday night and will be out at least three months.
Tyson Chandler probably is the front runner now among the center reserves, though Spencer Hawes has been a surprise and Andrew Bogut could come on.
Richard Hamilton has little chance at guard after starting the season injured. Deng ranks seventh in the fan voting at forward as he’s routinely under-appreciated. But Deng is more highly regarded by the coaches, which should give him an edge.
You figure Stoudemire and Chris Bosh get two spots. In the fans’ voting, Boston’s Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce rank ahead of Deng. The Bulls play Boston Friday and remain hopeful Derrick Rose will play as he was reported feeling somewhat better and made the trip to Boston. Garnett and Pierce, meanwhile, have both played poorly this season with the Celtics falling below .500 with one of the softer early schedules. Theirs will get more difficult, and it’s tough to see either improving much. It would be based strictly on longevity and career achievement if either were selected ahead of Deng.
Deng’s scoring average is down to 14.5, one of the lowest of his career. Which could hurt him if the coaches aren’t paying attention to what he brings to the team, which, of course, is possible the way this voting goes sometimes.
Andrea Bargnani is scoring much more, though his team is not competitive. Josh Smith has played better this season, though the coaches generally don’t like him. And if the Pacers continue to do well, Danny Granger could edge out Deng. It doesn’t seem likely Carlos Boozer would finish ahead of Deng among coaches. Ray Allen and Joe Johnson remain possibilities at guard, though Rajon Rondo should be selected after Rose and Wade.
The Western Conference starters also seem set with Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin well ahead of Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Kevin Love at forward, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul well ahead of third place, surprisingly, Ricky Rubio at guard, and Andrew Bynum well ahead of DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol and Nene at center.
Forwards: LeBron James (Mia) 640,789; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 496,351; Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) 178,797; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 173,161; Chris Bosh (Mia) 140,601; Paul Pierce (Bos) 94,071; LUOL DENG (CHI) 85,086; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 54,739; CARLOS BOOZER (CHI) 53,477; Hedo Turkoglu (Orl) 43,154.
Guards: DERRICK ROSE (CHI) 640,476; Dwyane Wade (Mia) 637,912; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 253,969; Ray Allen (Bos) 174,934; Deron Williams (NJN) 89,128; Jose Calderon (Tor) 42,929; John Wall (Was) 38,025; RICHARD HAMILTON (CHI) 36,418; Kyrie Irving (Cle) 27,713; Joe Johnson (Atl) 23,384.
Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 754,737; JOAKIM NOAH (CHI) 75,038; Tyson Chandler (NYK) 61,774; Joel Anthony (Mia) 41,832; JaVale McGee (Was) 24,713; Al Horford (Atl) 23,546.
Forwards: Kevin Durant (OKC) 633,538; Blake Griffin (LAC) 394,264; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 231,832; Pau Gasol (LAL) 185,428; Kevin Love (Min) 143,814; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 118,268; Tim Duncan (SA) 81,783; Lamar Odom (Dal) 59,686; Metta World Peace (LAL) 39,006; Danilo Gallinari (Den) 34,438.
Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 690,613; Chris Paul (LAC) 540,173; Ricky Rubio (Min) 133,520; Steve Nash (Pho) 118,922; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 107,197; Kyle Lowry (Hou) 90,725; Monta Ellis (GS) 63,696; Manu Ginobili (SA) 50,765; Jason Kidd (Dal) 49,596; Chauncey Billups (LAC) 42,657.
Centers: Andrew Bynum (LAL) 496,597; DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 134,961; Marc Gasol (Mem) 102,116; Nenê (Den) 94,167; Marcin Gortat (Pho) 62,631; Kendrick Perkins (OKC) 41,579.