Updated: January 27, 2010, 12:03 PM ET

1. Legler's Eastern Conference All-Stars

By Tim Legler

The Eastern Conference All-Star roster will be completed later this week with the naming of the reserves. The seven players named will be no-brainers, status rewards and of debatable worthiness. This year's East squad will also be affected by a couple of starting positions being taken by guys who have been annual locks over the past decade, but who most will assuredly admit aren't deserving this time around. With that in mind, here are the players that have been voted in and those that I would personally choose to fill out the roster, starters included.

The five players voted to start for the East are Dwyane Wade and Allen Iverson at guard, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett at forward and Dwight Howard at center. Wade, James and Howard are obvious to all. Iverson and Garnett are another story.

By being voted in as a starter A.I. has proven that he has incredible staying power when it comes to his fan base. The past year has been nothing short of a nightmare for one of the greatest scoring machines in NBA history. After basically shutting it down in Detroit to voice his displeasure over coming off of the bench, Iverson signed in Memphis and proceeded to leave town before he even knew all of his teammates' names. Resurfacing in Philly, he has shown that the days of carving up opposing defenses at will are long gone. To his credit, he has been a model teammate for the Sixers, but having by far the worst year of his NBA career certainly doesn't merit a legit starting spot in the All-Star Game.

Garnett is still one of the best players in the East and his emotional leadership and intensity are vital to the Celtics' run at a title. Injuries, however, have been the biggest story surrounding Garnett's season. He simply has missed too much time to earn a starting position.

The East's starting guards should be Wade and Joe Johnson.

Wade, at times, has looked incredibly frustrated and isolated on an island with very little consistent help on a nightly basis. Despite that, he has put up great numbers and has the Heat keeping their heads above water. He is the second best player in the conference and, arguably, its most electrifying.

Johnson is the model of consistency. He gives the Hawks 21 points, five boards and five assists per night and he has the responsibility of deciding matters in the fourth quarter with his scoring or playmaking. His ability to get his own shot at will is crucial to a team trying to get to the next shelf in the East. Most importantly, he has led the Hawks to a 28-14 record, which is pressing the Celtics for second in the conference.

The forwards should be James and Chris Bosh.

To sum up LeBron's season to this point, consider this: He is averaging a shade under 30 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists. Only three players in NBA history have put up those numbers for a full season -- Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson and James make up that small group. His defense has been suffocating at times, spectacularly athletic at others. He has also led the Cavaliers to the league's best record at 35-11. As long as he's healthy he will be a lock as an East starter.

Bosh is having his best season individually. He has been dominant as a scorer (23.9 points per game) and rebounder (11.1) while also playing at an extremely efficient level (52 percent shooting). He has shown increased passion and relentlessness. That could be because of his impending free agency, but I'm an optimist so I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. Winning is important in my book when it comes to All-Star recognition and the Raptors' recent surge, winning 12 out of 17 to become relevant in the East, has cemented Bosh's worthiness.

The center position really isn't worth a discussion. Howard is the only viable choice. He leads the league in rebounding and blocks, has the Magic at 29-15 and overwhelms the rest of the East's centers with his athleticism. If he ever develops another option or two offensively, such as a face-up 12-foot jumper or a consistent jump hook, he will be a legit MVP candidate.

The Eastern reserves are slightly more difficult to choose, although the list of guys having All-Star caliber years is a short one.

The two guard spots should go to Rajon Rondo and Stephen Jackson.

Rondo has become a top-five point guard in the league and has given the Celtics a nightly matchup advantage at the league's most critical position. His end-to-end speed and improved decision-making make him a lock. Jackson is listed on the ballot as a West guard, and he may be a surprise pick. He is an obvious choice to me. His 20 points per game have given the Bobcats the scoring punch and toughness they needed to become a complete team. Charlotte is 18-15 since his arrival and they are making waves in the East as a legitimate playoff team.

The forward spots should go to Gerald Wallace and Paul Pierce.

Wallace has been filling up every line on the stat sheet all season. Averaging 18.5 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks, he has been one of the top all-around players in the league. The guy plays hard on every play and creates offense despite not getting his number called very often. Pierce has been quietly solid all season. His scoring prowess isn't what it once was, but the Celtics don't need it to be. Despite fewer shots, he is still the man Boston trusts with the ball when it gets tight.

David Lee should get his first All-Star appearance as the backup center. He is listed as a forward on the ballot but there is leeway based on how a player is actually used. Lee guards centers on most possessions so he qualifies. He has always rebounded at a high level, but now he has added big-time scoring punch to his hustle plays. His 31 points and 17 rebounds against the Lakers' front line last week spoke volumes about how far he has come.

My two wild cards are Mo Williams and Josh Smith.

I'm not entirely convinced Williams and Smith deserve the nod, but somebody has to grab these two spots. As James' main sidekick, Williams' true value will be measured in the postseason if he can provide the additional offense the Cavs will need to get by the Celtics and Magic. As for Smith, the Hawks would be in trouble without the versatility he brings to the floor defensively every night. His shot selection and turnovers can still be maddening at times, but he really defends and can match up with anyone athletically for the undersized Hawks' front line.

ESPN analyst Tim Legler is a regular contributor to the Daily Dime.

Dimes past: Jan. 6 | 8-9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15-16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 22-23 | 24 | 25

2. Is David Lee An All-Star?

By Chris Sheridan

NEW YORK -- One way or the other, David Lee is going to Texas for All-Star Weekend.

The question now is which city: Dallas or Houston?

Lee will learn Thursday whether the Eastern Conference coaches have voted him in as a reserve, and since those votes have already been cast, Lee's 26th double-double of the season -- 28 points and 10 rebounds in the Knicks' 132-105 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday night -- will do nothing to influence his chances.

If Lee makes it, he'll fly to Dallas and become the first member of the Knicks to make the All-Star team since Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell represented New York at the 2001 game.

If he doesn't, Lee will fly to Houston to be the best man at the wedding of his high school buddy, Brendan Keaney.

"I wouldn't be upset if I didn't make it, but it would be a huge thrill to get to go to the game," Lee said. "It's in that cool location, that huge stadium, but I also think it would be special for our fans and our organization because we haven't had an All-Star in a while, and that makes it all the more exciting."

LeBron James and Kevin Garnett were voted in as the starting forwards for the East, and Lee did not even crack the top 10 in fan balloting. But his chances will be buoyed by the fact he plays center for the Knicks, and thus can be placed in that position on coaches' ballots should they feel two other forwards -- Gerald Wallace and Chris Bosh, for instance -- are more deserving.

Lee is fourth in scoring among NBA centers, trailing only Amare Stoudemire, Chris Kaman and Tim Duncan, and his 26 double-doubles rank him sixth in that category leaguewide.

Last season, Lee led the NBA with 65 double-doubles.

"I'm biased, but I think [Lee's chances] are good," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "There's always, when you select seven guys, a couple guys that don't make it or should have made it, or that you can make an argument for. It's almost like the Academy Awards, when one gets it when somebody who deserved it, they don't get it. That could be David. I hope it isn't, but he deserves it as much as anybody that will get it."

And if he doesn't?

A tuxedo will be awaiting him in Houston, and Mr. Keaney will not need to find a replacement to carry Ms. Karla Batarse's wedding ring to the marriage ceremony.

Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider.

3. Daily Dime Live Recap

ESPN.com writers and TrueHoop Network bloggers chatted with fans and gave their in-game opinions throughout Tuesday's games -- all in Daily Dime Live.

4. Bogut Almost Perfect From The Field

Elias Sports Bureau

Andrew Bogut was 13-for-14 (.929) from the field in Tuesday night's 108-107 Milwaukee loss at Dallas. That's the highest field goal percentage for any NBA player in a game this season (minimum: 10 FGA).

More from Elias Sports Bureau


You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?