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Players would pick J.R. Smith, Brook Lopez as All-Stars
Although selecting the NBA All-Star Game reserves, who will be announced Wednesday, is a job for the head coaches, players certainly have opinions of their own.
And if some of the Knicks and Nets were calling the shots, J.R. Smith would be joining teammate Carmelo Anthony on the Eastern Conference All-Star roster.
"The person in the front of my mind obviously is J.R.," Knicks forward Steve Novak said before Monday's game against the Nets. "I think that, especially when it comes to having exciting players in that game, he's one of the most exciting in the league."
Nets rookie Tyshawn Taylor echoed those sentiments.
"I was actually arguing with one of my friends about if J.R. would make the All-Star team or not ... I think he has a good chance," he said.
Taylor felt more strongly about the case for Brooklyn's starting center.
"I think big fella Brook [Lopez] should definitely be in the All-Star Game," Taylor said.
Novak also said Knicks center Tyson Chandler's leadership makes him worthy.
"There's no question that he should be an All-Star," Novak said. "I'd love to see that as well."
The Nets' Jerry Stackhouse, a two-time All-Star himself, said all of his teammates are All-Stars, but believes in not picking players from his own team. In the East, he predicted Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday and Indiana Pacers swingman Paul George will get their first invitations to the game. He also sees Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce earning his 11th All-Star selection.
"And obviously [Houston Rockets guard] James Harden, [and Golden State Warriors forward] David Lee, guys like that in the Western Conference," Stackhouse said. "I think they've stood out a little more than anybody else."
amNY's All-Star Reserve Picks
Both the Eastern Conference and Western Conference squads must have two guards and three frontcourt players. Here are the players we think deserve the 14 remaining spots in the game, which is being held Feb. 17 in Houston. (All stats through games played Tuesday.)
Obvious Choices: Chris Bosh (Heat), Tyson Chandler (Knicks), Jrue Holiday (76ers), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), Brook Lopez (Nets)
Chandler and Lopez are the best true centers in the conference right now. Irving (23.7 ppg) is sixth in the league in scoring. Holiday (19 ppg, 9 apg) is the new face of the Sixers. Bosh is becoming one of the league's most efficient scorers (17.5 ppg, 54.5% FGs).
Should Make It: Carlos Boozer (Bulls), Paul George (Pacers)
Boozer came on strong this month (22 ppg, 11.5 rpg in January). George (17.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg) is making good on his first-round potential.
Maybe Next Year: Joe Johnson (Nets), Anderson Varejao (Cavaliers)
Johnson got off to a slow start, while Varejao (14.4 rpg) is done for the season due to a blood clot.
Obvious Choices: Tim Duncan (Spurs), James Harden (Rockets), David Lee (Warriors), Tony Parker (Spurs), Russell Westbrook (Thunder)
Westbrook (23 ppg) and Harden (25.9 ppg) could easily be starters. Former Knick Lee (19.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg) is a big part of Golden State's surprise success. Parker (19.7 ppg, 7.3 apg) and Duncan (17.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg) continue to keep San Antonio as a powerhouse.
Should Make It: Stephen Curry (Warriors), Zach Randolph (Grizzlies)
Curry is eighth in scoring (20.7 ppg) and second in 3-point percentage (46.4%). Randolph leads the NBA in double-doubles (26).
Maybe Next Year: DeMarcus Cousins (Kings), Al Jefferson (Jazz)
No coach would vote for the mercurial Cousins (18.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg). Jefferson (17.3 ppg, 9.8 rpg) is good but not great this year.