Despite only playing 29 games, Carlos Boozer would be a reasonable All-Star reserve.
If Carlos Boozer is makes or is snubbed from the Eastern Conference roster for the 2011 All-Star Game, it wouldn't be a basketball injustice, but he's on my All-Star team.
Of players eligible for the FG% leaderboard, Boozer is 3rd among Eastern Conference forwards in PER (22.1), 4th in PPG (19.9), 3rd in FG% (.546), and leading in RPG (10.2) -- leading in Total Rebounding Rate (18.3%) and Defensive Rebounding Rate (27.9%), while 5th in Offensive Rebounding (8%). The only two more efficient forwards are the same two scoring more per game -- starters LeBron James and Amar'e Stou_emire.
The argument against Boozer making the team is reasonable. He's only played 29 of the Bulls' 47 games this season, missing the first 15 with a broken bone in his hand and three others with a sprain. Because of this, he isn't eligible for per game leaderboards.
Last season, two guards, four forwards, and one center filled the East roster. In 2009, the reserves consisted of three forwards and four guards.
Horford more than deserves a spot
The game changer is whether a center is outstanding enough to make the roster and this is one of those years. Al Horford should make his second consecutive All-Star appearance. This should be uncontroversial, so that leaves six spots.
Garnett, Pierce, and Bosh are definitely deserving
Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce should make the team, but looking at the other forwards in the East, no one really stands out. A good case can be made for Josh Smith and I'm not in the camp that the record of a player's team can be used as a reasonable positive, but not a negative, so Danny Granger is a reasonable fringe name for the conversation. That said, the third forward should be Chris Bosh.
Horford, KG, Pierce, and Bosh leave three reserve spots. The question becomes: two bench guards or three? If three, Boozer shouldn't be an All-Star. If two, Boozer is very reasonable over Smith and Granger.
Rondo is definitely deserving, probably Allen
With Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose as the legit starters, there isn't a guard who should be starting to put on the roster as a reserve. No question Rajon Rondo is an All-Star, leading the league with 12.6 APG and shooting a FG% of .517.
Now the question is: Johnson or Boozer? Advantage: Boozer.
Felton is the wild card
The nest question is the Raymond Felton question and this is why I would say it's reasonable that Boozer be left off the roster. Position is more important among guards for consideration than forwards and centers because power forwards can play center and shooting guards can play small forward. Generally, only two players are point guards, barring something extraordinary. Is Felton that extraordinary? No.
But Felton wins the fringe argument over Luol Deng, Gerald Wallace, and Andre Iguodala. Deng's volume's disrupted his efficiency, Wallace's defense hasn't been as dominant as we're used to, and Iguodala's been allergic to the ball.
It's a damn shame that Scott Skiles is so allergic to efficient basketball or else there'd be a third center on the roster for sure.
For those reasons, my Eastern Conference All-Star reserves are:
Of course, applying my logic to exclude Felton should be applied to Boozer: is Boozer's season extraordinary enough to negate missing 18 games through 47? My answer is no, but not as strong a no as that which excludes Felton.
The answers to those question are subjective, I admit. But a homer, I am not. Writing like Yoda for some reason, I am. Stop it now, I will.
My prediction: the coaches will pick the top six I mentioned and David Stern will pick Felton over the field. I'll let you ponder why, so my reasoning isn't misinterpreted or exaggerated.
The reserves will be announced this Thursday, Feb. 3, and the game will be played Feb. 20 at the Staples Center in L.A. Will Rose and Boozer be the first Bulls teammates in the game since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in 1997?