Although the Chicago Bulls are sitting at 20 games over .500 (34-14), the only NBA All-Star they managed to land in this year's events was MVP candidate Derrick Rose.
The NBA named the Eastern and Western Conference reserves tonight. For the East,
Boston's Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were
named to the team, along with Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat, and Al
Horford and Joe Johnson from the Atlanta Hawks.
In the Western Conference, Dirk Nowitzki, Russell Westbrook, Pau
Gasol, Blake Griffin, Deron Williams, and San Antonio's Tim Duncan and
Manu Ginobili were named to the team.
The Heat, who are currently half a game in front of the Bulls at 35-14, got three All-Stars, while the Hawks, 3.5 games behind the Bulls, have two All-Stars.
So the question is: did the Bulls deserve another All-Star besides Rose, and if so, who were the candidates?
Carlos Boozer: 19.8 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 54% FG%
Boozer was no question the Bulls' best option to make the All-Star team. He's put up a nightly double-double when on the court.
Key word: when. The only thing that held Boozer from this season's All-Star team was that he has missed 18 games this season. Had Boozer been healthy from the get-go, there's no doubt he'd be an All-Star reserve for the Eastern Conference.
It's rare when a 20 and 10 player doesn't make the team, but this one was solely because of the amount of games missed.
Luol Deng: 17.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.5 APG, 45% FG%, 35% 3P%
Deng's numbers aren't eye-popping, but he's been the best perimeter defender for the Bulls this season, and has played as a consistent number 3 option all season.
Bulls nation might think that Deng got snubbed, but he really didn't. No question that Deng has had a major impact for the Bulls -- on both ends -- but his numbers just don't cut it.
He's putting up eerily similar numbers that Bosh is, however, they're just a bit lower. Deng has had better statistical seasons in past years, but his impact on this 34-14 Bulls team is much greater than it has been on past teams.
Joakim Noah: 14 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 1.63 BPG, 1.17 SPG, 2.7 APG, 51.4% FG%
Noah's numbers are easily the second-best in the Eastern Conference among centers, but the sole factor that Noah missed the team -- similar to Boozer -- is that he's missed way too many games.
Noah has missed 24 of the Bulls' 48 games. Before he went out, Noah was looking like an All-Star lock, but missing 24 games is too much for coaches to overlook.
Noah's year will come, but the amount of games he missed certainly was the only reason that coaches left him off in favor of Horford.
Biggest snub: Kevin Love
Love -- averaging 21.4 PPG and 15.5 RPG -- was the talk around the NBA after the reserves were named. The coaches definitely got most of the Western Conference reserves correct, but they clearly snubbed Love.
One player that didn't deserve it was Tim Duncan. Duncan will go down as one of the greatest power forwards ever but he did not deserve an All-Star berth this season. He's averaging just under 14 PPG and 9 RPG; those aren't All-Star numbers, but he's also had his minutes lowered this season.
Kevin Love has a whopping 43 double-double's, and even had a 30 point, 30 rebound game this season. Those two stats alone warrant an All-Star berth, right? Wrong. Coaches looked at the Minnesota Timberwolves' 11-37 record and really knocked Love for it.
As TNT analyst Charles Barkley said, the All-Star game isn't about giving out lifetime achievement awards. Who knows if Love will ever have a season like this ever again; it's a travesty that the coaches took away his chance to get into the big game for a player who's having the worst statistical season of his career.
The chances of the Bulls getting an additional All-Star along with Rose was slim to begin with, so fans shouldn't be too down in the dumps with the "snubs".
Had Boozer and Noah been healthy all season, there's no question both would be heading to Los Angeles this season for the All-Star game.
Also, Deng has had a very big impact on the Bulls' season, but his numbers don't warrant an All-Star berth, and it doesn't help that many coaches look at him as simply a role player.
The Bulls didn't get an All-Star to join Rose this season, but this is yet another sign that Rose, at least by the coaches, is being viewed as the MVP. Not just of the team, but for the simple fact that the Bulls are 20 games over .500 yet only have one All-Star.