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Old 02-02-2007, 01:24 AM   #73
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Stern needs to right this wrong
Posted by Marty Burns

The NBA announced its All-Star reserve squads Thursday night, and let’s just say David Stern can thank his lucky stars that Yao Ming and Carlos Boozer are injured.

Not that the Commish would want to see any player hurt and unable to participate in the midseason classic.

But at least now Stern will get to pick two replacements – and correct the injustice done by the league’s coaches who somehow left off Denver’s Carmelo Anthony and Dallas’ Josh Howard.

Anthony and Howard were two of four guys who got the royal shaft. The other two were from the East: Atlanta’s Joe Johnson and Chicago’s Luol Deng.

Clearly there were other deserving players. One could make a case for Marcus Camby (Nuggets), Elton Brand (Clippers), Baron Davis (Warriors), Ray Allen (Sonics), Kevin Martin (Kings), Zach Randolph (Blazers) and Mehmet Okur/Deron Williams (Jazz) in the West, and Emeka Okafor (Bobcats), Eddy Curry (Knicks), Ben Gordon (Bulls), Tayshaun Prince (Pistons), Antawn Jamison (Wizards) and Andre Iguodala (Sixers), among others, in the East.

But while those guys might have been All-Star worthy, they weren’t more deserving than the guys that made it.

Only the four guys mentioned above have a legitimate reason to call the FBI and demand an investigation.

Johnson is one of the NBA’s top 10 scorers (24.7 ppg.) and he’s been a consistent force all season. It’s not his fault the Hawks stink. He should have been on over one of the Pistons guards.

Deng has been the most consistent two-way player for a Bulls team that has been near the top of the East all season. Gordon would have been a fine choice as well, but he faced a much more crowded field at guard. Deng, who is shooting a ridiculous 52 percent from the floor (while consistently knocking down the mid-range jumper), should have been on the forward list instead of Vince Carter, who has failed to lift the Nets above .500.

Of course, neither Johnson nor Deng should feel too badly about not getting in. Were Paul Pierce and Michael Redd not injured, they would have made the team anyway. Then there wouldn’t have been room for anybody else on the East.

But the snubs that will get the most attention for sure are those of Anthony and Howard. The coaches obviously held Anthony’s suspension for fighting against him. Otherwise the Nuggets forward – and NBA’s leading scorer – would have been a shoo-in. Howard, meanwhile, should have made it because he’s become a key two-way contributor for a Dallas squad that has been the NBA’s best all season.

Fortunately for Stern, he won’t have to worry about it. By adding Anthony and Howard, he will be able to end all the controversy soon enough. He should send Yao and Boozer a thank-you note, or maybe tickets to a Vegas show during All-Star Weekend.
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