Tonight, the seven reserves will be named for each conference on TNT.
Here, in alphabetical order, are my choices for who should be named in the East, and you’ll notice a heavy emphasis on defense even though no defense is played in the All-Star Game.
PF Chris Bosh, Miami, 19.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg The buzz: The temptation is to discount Bosh’s contributions because he plays on a team with two better superstars. But Bosh has stepped up his game this season, becoming a bit more involved in the offense. He’s steady, and he’s been a good team guy.
C Tyson Chandler, New York, 12.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg
The buzz: Chandler is a better defender than Indiana’s Roy Hibbert and Detroit’s Greg Monroe, the other two top candidates to serve as Dwight Howard’s backup.
SF Luol Deng, Chicago, 16.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg
The buzz: Deng has missed seven games due to injury, but the fact remains that he is the key defensive player on a Bulls team that has one of the top defenses in the NBA. He’s also scoring at a good clip.
SF Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia, 13.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 5.2 apg
The buzz: Detractors note that Iggy’s scoring is the lowest it’s been since his rookie and sophomore seasons. True. But his rebounding average has never been higher, and he is the glue on a Sixers team that has surprised everyone. He also is Philly’s top defender, which is no small accomplishment since Philly ranks third in the East in field-goal percentage defense.
SF Paul Pierce, 18.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 5.7 apg
The buzz: An easy choice. It’s still early yet in the season, but his assist average is his most impressive stat. If that holds, it would be a career-best for him.
PG Rajon Rondo, 13.6 ppg, 9.8 apg
The buzz: Rondo is not a good outside shooter. Fine. But he’s great at everything else. He leads the East in assists. He’s the best defensive point guard in the conference. And he rebounds well for someone who is 6-1.
PG Deron Williams, 20.9 ppg, 8.6 apg
The buzz: D-Will has almost no support on the Nets, especially because Brook Lopez has missed the entire season. But Williams still has dominated at times.
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