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Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 at 3:15 pm  |  41 responses

Links: Ron Goes? Ron Stays!

Plus, picking All-Star reserves…

by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

Hey, how about some links?

• The big news today comes from ESPN’s Marc Stein, who reported this morning that Ron Artest would like to be traded away from the L.A. Lakers. At first glance this sounded surprising: Artest has tried to win a title his entire life, finally wins one and is just about the happiest person on the planet. And now he would want out?

•Update: Ron Artest’s agent says Ron doesn’t want to be traded.

• We talked about snow yesterday, just as a huge storm hit the States. The Raptors got stuck in Indianapolis last night and just got into Atlanta a few hours ago for their game tonight. Meanwhile, the Celtics are stuck in California, unable to fly back to Boston. I hope the Sacramento airport has a Delta Sky Club! Someone tell the guys not to leave glasses of water above their laptop bags.

• I mentioned before that I am really good at Angry Birds. But what do you guys know about Angry Larry Birds?!

• My main man Pascal just sent me this photo. According to Pascal, that is Gul Mohammed, who was considered the world’s smallest man when that photo was taken back in 1988. He stood one foot, ten-and-a-half inches. I almost left off the half-inch, but I imagine that half-inch was pretty important to him. This is what The Links have come to: throwback world’s smallest people.

• This interview is terrific. Timofey Mozgov spits mad prose:

“It was a couple minutes before the end of the game. We were losing hopelessly, and D’Antoni put me in the game. I was overwhelmed with desire to prove myself.”

I like to think that Mozgov is a student of literature and he pains himself to speak as descriptively as possible. Mozgov also talks about going to a Russian restaurant here in New York where he ordered his favorite salad, which is called “Herring Under Fur Coat.” I wondered if this salad’s title was a gift from the Google Translator gods, or if there was actually such a salad. Turns out there is indeed such a dish! Guess I know what I’m having for dinner.

• UGA signed no. 1-ranked RB Isaiah Crowell. You know, in case you were wondering.

• Finally, yesterday on “The Beat” on NBA TV, David Aldridge and I picked our All-Star reserves. The real choices are going to announced tomorrow, but for now, here are my picks…

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Yeah, I went with four Celtics. If Noah was healthy I’d have put him on here. And between Boozer and Bosh, I went with Bosh.
G Rajon Rondo — As of today he’s averaging 12.6 assists per game.
G Ray Allen — The second-leading scorer on the best team in the Conference. And for as long as we’ve talked about Ray having one of the most textbook jumpers in the game, this season he’s shooting 45 pct on threes, the highest average of his career.
F Paul Pierce — The leading scorer on the best team in the Conference.
F Kevin Garnett — His averages aren’t all that amazing — 15 and 9 — but he’s the leader of the best team in the Conference. Also, he’s averaging the most rebounds per game since arriving in Boston and the most steals per game he’s averaged in a decade.
C Al Horford — Averaging 16 and 10, career high ppg. Also, Al has evolved into a leadership role as Atlanta’s fiery spirit.
F Chris Bosh — Posting 18 and 8, but it wasn’t until Bosh kicked things into gear in late November that Miami went on that 21-1 run.
G Joe Johnson — Had a slow start, but then had elbow surgery and missed 9 games. But Joe returned 2 weeks early from the surgery, and in January he averaged 26 ppg and shot over 50 percent from the floor. In my mind, it came down to Joe and Ray Felton for this final spot. And as good as Felton’s been, the Knicks are still just 3 games over .500 while the Hawks are a dozen games over, so I went with JJ.

WESTERN CONFERENCE
A lot of tough choices to make. I basically went with Deron Williams over Steve Nash, and Griffin over LaMarcus Aldridge. Both incredibly tough calls.
G Russell Westbrook — He’s averaging over 22, 8 and 5, all career highs, and he’s the only player in the NBA averaging at least 22, 8 and 5. Most impressive to me is that he averages almost 9 free throws a game. He and Kobe are the only two guards in the top 10 in free throw attempts per game.
G Deron Williams — He’s almost at that same 22/8/5 mark as Westbrook.
F Dirk Nowitzki — Averaging 23 ppg and shooting 52 percent from the floor.
F Manu Ginobili — The leading scorer on the best team in the NBA. And I put him at forward because there’s already a logjam at guard.
C Pau Gasol — I know he’s slowed down the last month or so, but he’s still averaging 18 and 10 as LA’s second option.
F Kevin Love — As DA said, if it’s so easy to average 15 rebounds in a game, why doesn’t everyone do it?
F Blake Griffin — As much as I looked at records and stats, we’re not picking All-NBA teams. We’re choosing All-Stars, and nobody’s been more of a star this season than Blake. Besides, the Clips have won 9 straight at home and in January, Blake is averaging 26 and 13. Also, it would be fun to see CP3 and Deron Williams throwing alley-oops to Griffin.
Yao Replacement: Tim Duncan. Averaging just 13 and 9, but I’d let him start at center and play five minutes and then get some rest.

So there are my subs, but as always, what do I know?

Give me your All-Star reserves in the comments below…

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  • http://nobulljive.com/ Enigmatic

    If the East reserves work out like that, Doc might play the reserves much more than the starters.
    Nah, he’s a professional dude.
    Woulda been nice if Noah had stayed healthy, I think he would’ve made the ASG too.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2011 Diesel

    I know I’m a Bulls fan so my view may be skewed, but I think Boozer deserves the nod over Bosh. He’s putting up better numbers and he’s been just as important to the Bulls, with Noah out, as Bosh has been to the Heat. I know Boozer missed the early part of the season, but Bosh sorta missed the first part of the season with his horrible play too, so I consider the number of games played a wash.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Diesel: Yeah, the Boozer/Bosh thing was a tough call. Curious to see how the coaches vote tomorrow.

  • Bruno

    and anyone besides Boozer or Bosh??

  • http://www.slamonline.com peter

    Odom over Gasol…he needs to make it once and this year is as good as any.

  • Bruno

    cosign peter … Odom is playing better than Pau

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    I think you listed Paul Pierce twice.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Allenp: Thanks, I fixed it.

  • Fat Lever

    I think by letting Love/Professor Griff make the team, you open the door for the argument that someone like Monta should make it too. He’s putting up great numbers, but he gets snubbed. Not saying it’s right/wrong, I’m just presenting the Pandora’s Box that could open up.

  • Fat Lever

    And why haven’t we called Blake Public Enemy for the Professor Griff reference. Maybe I’m just big up’pin(sp?) myself a little bit, but to me it makes sense.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Totally agree on the four Celtics but I’d take Boozer over Bosh. As for the West – actually the ASG as a whole for that matter – LMA is the toughest omission. Love or Aldridge hmmmm. Blake goes, no question.

    And who in GODS NAME would trade for a declining Artest with 3 years left??!?!?! No one, thats who. He’s staying.

  • whoooo!

    this isn’t directed at Lang, but i still find it weird how a lotta people agree that 4 celtics get in due to their best record in the conference, but the best team in the LEAGUE gets only 1 voted in. Detroit had 4 guys that one year, and SA’s record is still better. i guess the East really is that much worse, and I realize Pop has kept Duncan’s mins down, but it’s still a strange twisted logic. TD might get voted in by coaches, but worst case, there is no way Stern doesn’t pick him as the replacement to Yao.

  • duke

    If Love doesn’t make the reserves then there is something seriously wrong. Guys a beast and works his ass off night in, night out on a brutal team.
    Can’t ignore a guy that’s averaging 15 rpg, and put upa 31-31 night in my opinion.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    DA’s All Star Reserve list last night was ridiculous

  • http://nobulljive.com/ Enigmatic

    I love Booz(e) (ha ha) but I can’t see him getting the nod over Bosh, simply because Bosh has played in 15 more games thus far.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2011 Diesel

    Lang – did you struggle with leaving Josh Smith off at all?

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-confidential/2011 Diesel

    Enigmatic – in those 15 games tho he was averaging like 10 & 6.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Diesel: Yes, a little. But there are a lot of good power forwards in the East this season.

  • logues

    the heat/celtics vs the western confernce

  • logues

    VERY happy that u were smart enough to put k love and griff in there

  • 23-DOOM-50

    I think love and LaMarcus Aldridge should have been in at the forward spots. LaMarcus has been carrying the Blazers all year with even less than they had last year. No Oden, no Roy, and now no Camby for who knows how long and then he goes BEAST on the Spurs and beats them? I guess if it’s not on national TV it didn’t happen… Let Griffin get his moment in the sun and dominate the Rookie-Soph game and the Dunk Contest but let these vets who really deserve it to get in. I’d take Love off the team before Aldridge. He’s been putting up huge numbers but on a team where he and Beasley are the only scoring options. He’s a very good player but Aldridge and Griffin are both better IMO

  • hoodsnake

    Wouldn’t it be funny if there isn’t anybody on the first or second all-NBA team from the Spurs and they run off with the chip in June?

  • 32

    Maybe I didn’t see it before but is Dirk not on the all-star team this year?

  • dma

    dirk is starting no? and aldridge should be in the allstar game over love. and fat lever made a great point that love makes it, people like monta ellis and zach randolph should be an allstar as well, which scares me.

  • http://nobulljive.com/ Enigmatic

    Diesel – Boozer’s first game was, what, December 1st? I think.
    Chris Bosh averaged 18 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists a game in October and November.
    A lot more impressive than Boozer’s 0.0, 0.0 and um, 0.0.
    You know I love Boozer too, but Bosh is more deserving.

  • Ethan

    Williams over Nash? Really?

    Deron: 46%/36%/85%
    Nash: 52%/41%/91%

    Also, outside Vince Carter, there’s not one player on Phoenix’s roster that would start for the Jazz. And Vince is still Vince.

    Phoenix would be in Cavaliers land without Nash. He’s the most skilled player in the League and deserves to go.

  • http://www.ebay.com Tariq

    East

    G- Rajon Rondo
    G- Raymond Felton
    F- Paul Pierce
    F- Kevin Gernett
    C- Al Horford
    F- Carlos Boozer
    F- Chris Bosh

    West

    G- Russell Westbrook
    G- Deron Williams
    F- Dirk Nowitzki
    F- Manu Ginobili
    C- Pau Gasol
    G- Monta Ellis
    F- Blake Griffin

    Yao Replacement:
    Kevin Love

  • ripslam

    Pau Gasol and Manu Ginobili over Dirk Nowitzki? Really?

  • http://nba-point-forward.si.com/ datkid

    G-Dwill
    G-westbrook
    F-Manu(Dirk would be here but I heard he’s thinking of sitting out the ASG anyway)
    F-Griffin
    C-Love
    F-LA
    G-Monta Ellis

    Pau Gasol replaces yao at center
    If manu doesn’t feel like going then steve nash takes his place i guess.

  • http://nba-point-forward.si.com/ datkid

    alt.
    G-Dwill
    G-nash
    F-LA
    F-Griffen
    C-Love
    F-Dirk
    G-Monta Ellis
    TD replaces yao…pau gasol’s been a little too soft this year. honestly he’s been annoying me with his softness as of late. In act let me take pau out of the first list too.
    G-Dwill
    G-westbrook
    F-Manu(Dirk would be here but I heard he’s thinking of sitting out the ASG anyway)
    F-Griffin
    C-Love
    F-LA
    G-Monta Ellis
    TD replaces yao at center
    If manu doesn’t feel like going then steve nash takes his place i guess.

  • Rasheedionics

    You can’t have East reserves represented by 3 teams. This is All Star team. Not All Stars from teams with best record. Can’t punish good players being stuck on lousy teams. Boozer over KG is no brainer.

  • monkeyball

    Is Dirk definitely not playing in the ASG? If there’s a chance he is, he is clearly more deserving than Love, Duncan, or even Griffin. Best power forward in the game really. Slam writers and readers (and ASG voters) prefer dunkers over overall production, but you cannot leave Dirk out.
    It should be illegal, by the way, to get Manu in as a forward. Either his 20ppg on the best team in the League outweigh DWill’s spectacular numbers on an underachieving team, or it doesn’t.
    Yes, Pau is soft, but his overall numbers are AS-worthy, and Love is leading the L in rebounding for one of the worst squads. If it weren’t for Griffin, Love would be a shoo-in.
    Raymond Felton should be in over Joe Johnson.

  • Armando

    @monkeyball: I don’t believe it would be illegal, and I strongly disagree that it should. If the coaches vote him in as a forward then so it is.. anyway positions shouldn’t matter. That way we don’t have to worry about any more Dale Davises getting in. Anyway posotions is an aspect too many are too concerned with. Basketball isn’t soccer or football. However, my 7 are:
    Gasol (who will be inserted into the starting lineup)
    Griffin
    Nowitzki
    Ginobili
    Williams
    Westbrook
    Nash
    Love (as Yao’s replacement, although I wouldn’t be upset if LA gets the nod.. it’s a toss up).

    Snubs: Parker, Odom, Randolph and maybe Duncan.

    Wouldn’t it be cool with a USA vs. Int’l game?:
    Rose
    Bryant
    James
    Stoudemire
    Howard
    Paul
    Williams
    Anthony
    Griffin
    Durant
    Westbrook
    Wade

    vs.

    Nowitzki
    Gasol
    Parker
    Nash
    Ginobili
    Bargniani
    Turkoglu
    Gallinari
    Deng
    Scola
    Noah
    Kirilenko

  • Mike From Spain

    Don’t know…
    West looks like
    G – Kobe
    G – cannot decide for a PG here…D-Will? CP3?
    F – the Blake show
    F – Nowitzki
    C – Pau, although I am not sure he deserves it this year

    East:
    G – Wade
    G – Rose or Rondo
    F – Lebron
    F – Amare
    C – Dwight Howard

    I don’t bother with the subs

  • http://www.need4sheed.com Tarzan Cooper

    U too huh lang? Blake and esp love have no business sniffing an allstar game. Lwolves are 30 games negative. ….Lamarcus is in,zbo should be too. Your rationale for four celtics is just fuccn stupid, especially how it doesnt also apply to the spurs. Four celts cuz theyre the best in the east? But not 3 spurs cuz theyre by far tthe best in the league. Losers like love should make it? GTFOH!

  • http://dgcoursereview.com Bro. D

    Thank you for having Love and Griffin, they both deserve to make it. I’m tired of this “oh but their team isn’t winning” BS criteria, it’s not their fault their team sucks. Reward the guys holding it down, those borderline guys from winning teams (like Duncan) should be content with a deep playoff run and possible ring. Only selecting the coaches should the record become a criteria.

  • http://www.ebay.com Tariq

    Records should count for something, but not EVERYTHING. For example, let’s say Bosh were still with the awful Raptors, and you wanted to figure out who to include: Boozer or Bosh. It’s fairly close between these two, so it would be reasonable to include Boozer ahead of Bosh because of team records in that scenario.

    But Kevin Love is having a HISTORIC season. He should make it in ahead of a guy averaging 13 and 9, even if the team records aren’t in his favor. I don’t think some people realize how crazy Love’s rebounding is. When you’re doing something that hasn’t been done in 30 years, I don’t care if you play for the Alabama Slammas, you should be in.

  • http://dodgers.com Joey E.

    if you give KG the nod, you have to give Duncan the nod. I dont want to believe they’re all stars, but it’s beyond numbers with them. As for Pau, good numbers, but Odom should get the nod over him. playing way better

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  • http://www.ebay.com Tariq

    “if you give KG the nod, you have to give Duncan the nod.”

    It would be easier to make this argument if they played in the same conference.

  • skillet forilla

    I love this kind of debate – I guess that is why people get to vote for this stuff.

    Records count for a ton. They’re what get a team into the playoffs – A teams record determines home court advantage. A teams record already determines so much in the NBA.

    To me, The All Star competition is a celebration of tremendously talented individuals who are playing at a noteworthy level in a particular season.

    The numbers Griffin & Love are putting up this season are unreal. Griffin in particular is one of the most talked about figures in all of sports this year. He is making an enormous splash in one of the biggest cities in the country and going about in ways that have never been seen before all in one player.

    Clearly the rules allow for players from teams that are out of the playoff picture to be voted as All Stars or they’d be automatically disqualified. This isn’t about should & shouldn’t. Who have you been the most impressed by so far this season? That’s what an All Star is to me.

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