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TNT broadcasters don’t believe Noah is an All-Star
by Sam Smith
Posted on Jan 23
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Joakim Noah is having the best season in his seven-year NBA career.
He’s averaging 11.7 points and a career-high 11.4 rebounds, one of 10 NBA players averaging a double-double. Plus, he’s averaging 14.4 points and 15 rebounds in 11 games in January.
If not for Kevin Durant, he’d be making a case for player of the month. He’s in the top 10 in the NBA in rebounding and No. 1 among NBA centers in assists and No. 3 among centers in steals.
He’s having his healthiest season, having missed just one game. And he’s on the best run of his career with double figure rebounding games in 20 of the last 22 and averaging 17 rebounds the last five games.
Led by Noah, the Bulls have confounded the experts after losing Derrick Rose for the season and trading Luol Deng by winning nine of 11 to get over .500 midway through the season.
Yet, if the celebrity media expert analysts on the TNT broadcast Thursday were doing the voting, Noah would not be among the seven reserves added to the All-Star team to be announced Jan. 30.
The coaches do the voting, so Noah still has a chance.
The NBA before the TNT Thursday broadcast revealed the starters for the Feb. 16 All-Star Game in New Orleans.
The Eastern Conference team starters will be Dwyane Wade, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Talk about your small ball.
The Western Conference team starters, also selected by the fans, were Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love. Love was the lone surprise after trailing Dwight Howard throughout all the previous voting results. Bryant announced that he’d give up his spot because he has mostly been out injured. The commissioner picks a replacement.
But now the coaches vote, and that’s where it gets interesting. A coach only cannot vote for someone from his own team. But sometimes coaches will pick an unlikely candidate to give their player a better chance to make it. Yes, there’s politics everywhere.
The TNT broadcasters Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Grant Hill and Shaquille O’Neal offered their selections for the reserves.
The five agreed on five Eastern Conference players to be added. They were Roy Hibbert, Chris Bosh, Lance Stephenson, John Wall and DeMar DeRozan.
Among the others, three selected Joe Johnson and Paul Millsap and two selected Noah. One picked Jeff Teague.
If those predictions were to hold, Noah would finish eighth and be left off the team.
On a later broadcast, Hill amended his list to add Noah. That would make it a three-way tie for the last two spots with Noah thus losing in the tiebreaker and remaining eighth. This, of course, is fairly unofficial.
Stephenson has become a popular media choice given he made a video promoting himself to be an All-Star. He’s hardly as valuable to the Pacers as David West. So we’ll see how the coaches see it about adding a third Pacers player along with possibly three Heat players. Luol Deng did not get any votes.
There always is talk about rewarding winning teams. That was a lot of the consensus regarding DeRozan. But the Bulls have the same record as Toronto and certainly with more hardship. Johnson’s Nets have a poorer record and in averaging 16.3 points per game Johnson is tied for his lowest scoring season in the last 10 years and well below his career average. Noah’s scoring average this season is 20 percent higher than his career average. Plus, Noah at center averages more assists than Johnson at guard while Noah also is a contender for Defensive Player of the Year.
Among the Western reserves, all five agreed upon LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. Four agreed on Howard and Tony Parker. After that at least three agreed on James Harden and Chris Paul. That left one spot left with votes for 10 different players, among them DeAndre Jordan, Mike Conley, Goran Dragic, David Lee, Dirk Nowitzki, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan.
Yes, there will be some disappointed players next week.
Eastern Conference: Noah, Wall, DeRozan, Hibbert, Bosh, Millsap, Al Jefferson.
Western Conference: Harden, Lillard, Howard, Duncan, Paul, Davis, Aldridge.