WHAT IT MEANS: For the first time in his NBA career, Tyson Chandler can call himself an All-Star.
Chandler was named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team on Thursday night (read the full list, here). ESPN Stats & Info says that Chandler's All-Star selection, coming in his 12th season, ties him with Vlade Divac for a player with the most experience before his first selection. He will join Carmelo Anthony as the New York Knicks' representatives for the game in Houston on Feb. 17.
J.R. Smith, who had gained a groundswell of support from fans for an All-Star bid in recent weeks, was not named to the team.
WHY CHANDLER MADE IT: Chandler put up All Star-like numbers, leading the NBA in field goal percentage (thanks to an array of shots close to the basket) by a wide margin. Chandler entered play Thursday shooting .674. Tiago Splitter is second with a .603 shooting percentage.
Chandler is also scoring 12.2 points per game, to go along with 11.0 rebounds and one block.
He likely earned the nod for his numbers this season and because of his body of work (NBA champion, two-time Olympian). In a development that is sure to please Knicks fans, Chandler got the invite and Brooklyn's Brook Lopez did not.
WHY J.R. DIDN'T MAKE IT: Smith is having a strong season, leading all bench players with 16.7 points per game (0.1 more than Clippers guard Jamal Crawford). He also has made great contributions on the defensive end and has distributed the ball well, to go along with two game-winning shots at the buzzer.
But Smith was likely hurt because he is a reserve and has a poor shooting percentage (40 percent). He also entered the season with a reputation of an inconsistent player, which probably dissuaded some coaches from voting for him.
COULD WOODY JOIN? The Knicks entered play Thursday two games behind the Miami Heat. If New York leapfrogs the Heat for first place in the East by the end of play on Feb. 3, Mike Woodson will be the coach of the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
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