SAN FRANCISCO -- The Chicago Bulls are 34-14 but they managed to get only one player on the Eastern Conference All-Star team. Why didn't anyone else make it?
Let's take a quick look at the case for each player.
Deng: He is having the best season of his career. Luol Deng is averaging 18 points, six rebounds and almost three assists a game. He's also played in every one, which, given his history, is impressive. But was he really going to make it over Paul Pierce, Joe Johnson, Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Al Horford or Rajon Rondo? All of those guys are name brands. Deng has been great for the Chicago Bulls, but his game is the opposite of flashy. Unless you've been watching the Bulls closely you don't understand how solid he has been under new head coach Tom Thibodeau. He has done everything for the Bulls, but he has done it so quietly that the rest of the league still hasn't taken much notice.
The coaches went for the safe bets and, it seems, gave the benefit of the doubt to aging stars Allen, Garnett and possibly the personal pleas of East head coach Doc Rivers. Deng isn't just a complementary player, he's the type of player who can drop 25 on you without the other teams noticing it. That's great for the Bulls, but it doesn't work as well as well during a "me-first" game like the one that will be played in Los Angeles in three weeks.
Boozer: He missed 18 games. If he didn't, he probably wouldn't be included in this discussion. He's a 20/10 machine but he's also injury prone. In other words, he's been exactly what the Bulls thought they were getting. He will make the All-Star team again if he stays healthy.
Noah: If he hadn't torn ligaments in his thumb, Noah would have made this team. Bottom line. He is averaging 14 points and 12 rebounds on the season. Like Boozer, if he stays healthy next season he will be an All-Star.
Surely there are angry Bulls fans out there wondering how the Celtics get four players on the team and the Heat get three. It’s a fair argument considering the Bulls are one of the hottest teams in the league at 20 games over .500. But at least take heart in this: The fact that Derrick Rose is the only Bull who made this team should tell you just how good he's been this season. He has single-handedly carried the team at times, and his placement on the team will only strengthen his case in the MVP voting later this season.