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Winderman: Will coaches pick four Celtics for Eastern All-Star reserves?

Jan 27, 2011, 3:48 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics, Game 6 Getty Images

Thursday night merely is the show.

No actual work is involved, as the results of fan balloting for All-Star starters are revealed.

Then conference coaches take over from there, having to fill out ballot for the seven reserves in each conference (Commissioner David Stern selects replacements for any injured players).

This year, it will be a particularly challenging task for those in the East.

And an intriguing one.

Given seven slots to select reserves, could Eastern Conference coaches actually use four of them to select Boston Celtics (Doc Rivers is spared such a conundrum, because coaches cannot select players from their own teams on their ballots)?

The fans could have made it easier if Rajon Rondo or Kevin Garnett or Paul Pierce were voted in as starters. Then the majority of coaches’ selections would not have to be from the same team.

But in a conference so bereft of All-Star talent, how can East coaches not do just that?

Getting beyond Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Amare Stoudemire, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose, you try finding four other Eastern Conference players more deserving to spend Feb. 20 at Staples Center than one of Rondo, Pierce, Garnett and Ray Allen, especially considering how the Celtics have dominated the conference to this stage, falling behind the Heat for a total of only two days since the start of the season.

Seriously, go ahead.

Al Horford? Fine. Chris Bosh? Certainly. Joe Johnson? More on reputation than anything else at this point, but reasonable.

But then what (one coach wondered Thursday whether Joakim Noah had played enough to be considered)?

Four Celtics and three Heat out of 12 spots? It’s not a conference, it’s a tag team.

The problem is among the other teams in the East with winning records (and there aren’t many of them), it is difficult to find another suitable name from the Bulls (Carlos Boozer?), Knicks (Raymond Felton?), Magic (Jameer Nelson?) or Hawks (and that’s likely conceding two choices to Atlanta).

And from the bottom feeders, would anyone truly feel comfortable making a case for Danny Granger or Andre Iguodala or Brook Lopez?

Perhaps in a year the NHL is moving to a fantasy draft of All-Stars, the NBA should take heed. Because the leftovers in the West likely will trump one or more at the end of the East bench.

As it is, the reserve ballots distributed to coaches over the next week might as well be colored green.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at

  1. leearmon - Jan 27, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    I dont think a reserve bench of Al Horford, Carlos Boozer, Raymond Felton. Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and K.G. is as bad as you say it is. You would have 3 members of Miami, 3 from Boston, 2 from Chicago, 2 from New York, with cases to be made for Jason Richardson from Orlando, Josh Smith from ATL, and Jru Holiday from Philly plus Ray Allen. How is that a “tag-team”? It’s not the East’s fault that so many of the talented players chose to team up in two squads over the years (Boston, Miami) its just how things have developed. Also I dont agree with the statement that the West’s leftovers would trump said Eastern Conference team. Lamarcus Aldridge doesn’t deserve to be an All-Star over Boozer or Horford. Andrew Bynum has played in fewer games than Noah. And Rudy Gay’s and Zach Randolph’s seasons have been very good, but are they that much better than Chris Bosh and J-Smooth?

  2. loungefly74 - Jan 27, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    wow…this is amazing considering all the talk of the shift of power to the eastern conference. rondo should be in. i’m a Lakers fan and I can even admit the kid needs to be there.

    • zackd2 - Jan 28, 2011 at 7:19 AM

      To be fair, Rondo has missed 25% of his team’s games. That counts for something.

  3. thestudiokida - Jan 28, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    No they won’t.

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