Links: Ron Goes? Ron Stays!

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…

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.

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…