Jan 27, 2011, 3:48 PM EDT
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)?
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.
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).
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.
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