Will Joakim Noah or Luol Deng make the All Star team?

Is it too early to get the hype machine rolling on Joakim Noah? Joakim Noah has taken his game up to the next level this season and thus far is playing at an all-star level. However, the competition will be fierce this season. Meanwhile, I though Luol Deng would have no shot at a second All Star team, but his play may be deserving as well.

The news was fairly quiet, but the NBA removed the center position from the all-star ballet. Now fans simply vote for three front court players. If the fans vote in three SFs, will the coaches look to vote in some real big men to make up a team? Who knows.

If Center were still on the board, Noah would have an excellent chance to start. Luol Deng has no chance to start regardless of the new rule allowing a third forward to get voted in, so it's somewhat irrelevant to him.

Let's take a speculative guess that seven of the 12 positions available will go to forwards/big men with five of the positions going to players that will play guard.

Out of the seven big men, we've got the following locks that don't really warrant any discussion. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh. Assuming those three make it in via the fan vote (which seems overwhelmingly likely) then the coaches will look to pick four more players to fill 'big' men type roles.

Paul Pierce vs Luol Deng

With by far the two best SFs in the NBA already playing for the East as starters, there are realistically 0-1 more SF positions available on the team. The battle likely comes down to Paul Pierce vs Luol Deng.

Paul Pierce is a better offensive initiator. He creates his own shot, controls the ball more, and creates more for others. He has more of a "star" feel to his game, and he's been there so many times that it feels like he belongs. He's scoring in higher volume per minute with fewer turnovers and more assists.

On the other hand, Luol Deng rebounds the ball better, defends better, and is viewed as the go-to man on his team right now while Rose is out while Pierce is playing second fiddle to Rondo in terms of controlling his team.

Judging by the way all-star selections are typically handed out, it's hard to see Deng winning this battle, and it's hard to see the coaches picking a fourth small forward.

Is Joakim Noah in the top three left?

It's still too early to know how players will shape up near all-star weekend, but it looks like Noah's competing against a wide array of palyers for three spots. The list looks something like this:

Brook Lopez - Scoring a ton for a now quality New Jersey team. While his rebounding is still pedestrian for a center, he's blocking more shots per game than Noah and is second only to Dwight Howard in the NBA suggesting his defense has improved.

Kevin Garnett - Garnett still scores with high volume per minute, he still plays tremendous defense, and he still rebounds the ball well. He's got the all-star pedigree as well, and though he missed the game last season, he'll have an excellent chance to make it this year.

Al Horford - Horford's putting up similar numbers to Noah, but plays on a smaller market team with less visibility. Assuming the two head into January with similar numbers the quality of their respective teams could decide which of the pair has a better shot of making the team. Right now, Noah's got a solid lead on Horford in my book, but that could easily change over the next couple months.

Tyson Chandler - Chanlder's the worst offensive player on the list, but his defensive MVP hype from last season may grant him some consideration. He's a solid man defender, but he's never been a great shot blocker, and his rebound stats aren't anything special either. I think Noah should beat him out, but there may be some pressure to put in two Knicks if their record stays amongst the top of the East.

Josh Smith - Smith's always had the stats to be there, but he's one of those guys few coaches around the league would vote for IMO. He's got horrible shot selection and goes in and out of games mentally at times. My guess is that he doesn't have any reasonable chance and that Horford would get any votes going to an Atlanta Hawk.

Anderson Varejao - While I'm highly skeptical of whether Varejao can keep it up, he's presently scoring more per minute than Noah, at a more efficient rate, and absolutely crushing everyone on the glass. He's not as much a help defender or shot blocker, but he's a good man defender. Given that he's never sniffed an all star game before, he'll probably get snubbed regardless of how good his numbers are.

Greg Monroe - He's having a very high quality season, but he's too new to all-star consideration, plays for one of the worst teams in the NBA, and while having a quality season is by no means having an elite season. He's got little chance, but I thought I'd give him the recognition of at least being a guy you could think of before dismissing.

Roy Hibbert - He got in last year, so he's worth mentioning, but he's been awful thus far and would only warrant consideration with considerable improvement.

Amare/Bynum - Both players have all-star like ability, but neither will likely play enough minutes prior to selection to warrant a selection. Amare is expected back sometime between mid to late December while Bynum is likely out until sometime in January.

When looking at the list overall [and I'm sure I probably forgot someone significant], Noah looks like he'll have an outstanding chance to get in if he keeps up his present level of play. There's no one presently in the field competing for the three spots that's presently crushing him. Presently, it looks like two of Lopez, Noah, and Chandler get in with Garnet and Horford duking it out for the final spot.

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  • Although Deng and Noah are having good seasons thus far, I don't see them getting voted to the All Star game. Maybe Noah but I doubt it. Both guys are like 1B players while trying to get ahead of a lot of 1A players. Too much talent in the east with the game being basically a popularity contest and the Bulls as a team is very boring to watch.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Who are the 1A players ahead of Noah? Either I missed someone or we have very different ideas of what a 1A player is.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Well Doug, seeing that there's no center voting this year for the all star game only guards and forwards there are plenty of forwards that are much more talented than Noah unfortunately. Noah is good and he just may make the team, but don't let your hometown bias cloud your judgement. And as I said earlier, I said on my last post the ASG is basically
    a popularity show and outside of Chicago, I dont believe Noah is that popular. But we will see what happens.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Oh and I'm sure Bosh, Chandler, and maybe Garnett will be voted ahead of Noah but again we will see. I'm sure you can think of other forwards that are better and more popular than Noah.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    Are you a woman? If you are, you're giving women a bad name. I've been noticing your postings, and you're all over the place. STOP DRINKING!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    No offense to anyone but this chump, but are you gay since youre noticing me so much??? Im not so...STOPAKING PASSES AT ME GAY BOY...LMAO!!!

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I see i must have offended a true homer Bulls fan.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    I have no amorous interest in DYKES !!!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    I know just gay guys gay boy. You have a good evening.

  • According to www.shamsports.com, both players have contract incentives.

    Deng's incentives are apparently not for making the All-Star team, as he made it last year but they're still listed as ''unlikely''.

    I would guess Noah's incentives aren't All-Star related, either.

    I wonder what would happen, though, if Noah's WERE for making the team, and the Bulls salary happened to be all the way up to the hard cap (with no room left at all), Noah made the team, and the incentives were triggered. I guess that wouldn't be an exception where they'd be allowed to go over the hard cap due to the slight increase in contract size, but that they instead do something like a cap hold where they count all the incentives of every player on the team as though they were all going to be triggered. Or maybe the actual cap hit stays the same for the rest of that year, and they don't increase the cap hit until the next year when they list the incentives as ''likely''.

  • Deng had multiple incentives, one of which was an all-star incentive. It apparently didn't change his contract significantly though.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    His contract is actually listed as lower this year than it was last year.

    The final two years of his deal, last season, were listed as $13,365,000 and $14,275,000. But this year, those numbers have dropped to $13,305,000 and $14,215,000.

    Perhaps missed playoff incentives due to losing in the first round last year?

  • I would love to see both Deng and Noah make it but Noah really deserves it this year, he's taking clutch shots at the end of games and playing his heart out.

    The players that are getting the job done and having a great year so far: Noah, Deng, Robinson, Butler

    The players that are disappointments so far: Boozer, Belinelli, Hinrich, Gibson, Mohammad. I probably put Rip here but he is what he is so is Nazr I guess.

    Some of the players you expect to let you down like Boozer being inconsistent and Hinrich being awful on offense but guys like Gibson and Belinelli who I thought would both have great years are off to a slow start, hopefully they can turn it around.

    Can't wait to see the Noah vs Asik matchup next wednesday.

  • Amare/Bynum - No, out for too long due to injuries

    Hibbert - No, IND is not as good as last year

    Monroe - No, team is bad and his stats aren't good enough to make it from a bad team

    Varejao - Yes, team is bad but his stats ARE good enough

    Smoove/Horford - Team is a playoff contender, but not elite, so only one of these guys will make it

    Chandler/Noah - Only one of these guys will make it, and since NYK has the best record and Chandler is coming off the DPOY season, he'll probably get it over Noah. 2nd reason why Noah might get left off is because Deng gets in over Pierce. If Pierce makes it in, Noah gets better odds.

    Lopez/KG - Only one of these guys will make it in. If Dwill and JJ make it, I could see Lopez missing, but I think Lopez gets in cuz JJ doesn't make it.

    So Right Now, that's Lebron, Melo, Bosh, Deng, Varejao, Horford, Chandler...with the guards being Wade, Rondo, Dwill, Jennings... And the last spot goes to Holiday, Lowry, or the current favorite, JR Smith.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    You leave Noah off the AllStar team and put Varejao, Chandler, and Horford ahead of him. You are sick and should be hospitalized! Whenever I see your name in future I'll remember what a nut you are, and ignore you.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Varejao has better numbers than Noah at this point.

    Chandler is coming off a DPOY season and still the defensive anchor of the best record team in the league.

    ATL will be in playoff contention by the time the All-Star comes, so if it's not Horford, it's Josh Smith. I'm just banking on coaches picking Horford over Smith as they've always done.

    CHI will be around .500 by the time the All-Star comes, and I just don't see Deng AND Noah making the All-Star game if the Bulls are an average team.

    I explained all this above, i don't understand how you couldn't comprehend it.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Varejao has the stats, but the problem is that Cleveland isn't good enough to be a two all-star team, and if anyone gets a nod it will be Irving. I don't think his play is nearly as impactful as the stats either, similar to how Elton Brand had all star caliber stats for two years with Chicago but never got in.

    I'd say he has very little chance.

    Effectively, if the next two months were similar to the first two and a half weeks then I think Chandler, Horford, and Noah will be fighting for one spot with Garnett and Lopez getting the first two. That could obviously change depending on the next two months though as there's little separation between those five guys IMO.

    Pretty good shot at least one of them has a significant change in their season or gets hurt.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Let's be fair here, the Bulls might not be that good either when the ASG gets here.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    It's not clear-cut that Irving will make the All-Star over varejao, if at all.

    Wade and probably Rondo will be voted to start, so who would be the other 5 guards?

    Dwill gets in. With MIL having the best record in the Central, Jennings should get in. Holiday is putting up 18.3pts-8.8asts, and PHI will be in playoff contention, so that's 3 guards right there.

    This doesn't even include JR Smith, Lowry, Joe Johnson.

  • Can't forget about Kwame Brown, Doug!

  • The biggest argument against both them, is that neither one of them is an All Star game type player, their games are not suited to the All Star game, they are boring, especially Deng.

    Noah would be especially useless, since you are not allowed to try that hard in an All Star game, he would probably get fined by the other players if he showed up.

    Deng and Hibbert made it last year, and I don't think anybody is clamoring for either one to show up again. I don't know if coaches select the reserves based on overall performance, or if they vote, much like the fans on offense and popularity, which would mitigate against both.

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