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All-Star Game picks (cont.)

Posted: Wednesday January 9, 2008 11:54AM; Updated: Wednesday January 9, 2008 2:29PM
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A first-time All-Star last season, Carlos Boozer is making his case for a return trip.
A first-time All-Star last season, Carlos Boozer is making his case for a return trip.
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(You know I was kidding about Marbury, right? Lighten up already.)

Western Conference

Center

Fans' Current Pick: Yao Ming

My Starter: Amaré Stoudemire. We understand what Steve Nash will do in the playoffs, just like we understand what Shawn Marion and even Grant Hill will do. But what will Stoudemire do? Will he create an MVP presence at both ends of the floor in the spring? Or will Tim Duncan prevail once again?

My Sub: Yao. In response to the Rockets' substandard 18-17 record, I have half a mind to replace Yao with Chris Kaman, who has been arguably more productive for the undermanned Clippers. But it goes against the spirit of the proceedings to replace the outside world's most popular star with a Clipper.

On the Cusp: Kaman, Marcus Camby

Power Forward

Fans' Current Pick: Duncan

My Starter: Carlos Boozer. It's not like Boozer played for a juco in the Dakotas: He spent three years on national TV at Duke. And it's not like he wasn't productive at Duke: He averaged 18.2 points and 8.7 rebounds his final year while sharing the ball with Jason Williams, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Duhon and Dahntay Jones. So how exactly did all of those NBA scouting departments pick 34 players in the 2002 draft ahead of someone who is now averaging a monstrous 23.5 points, 11.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists? How do these things happen?

My Subs: Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki. It's a beautiful thing that the fans elect Duncan to the starting lineup after years of hearing how they would never relate to someone who played with quiet dignity. As for Nowitzki, is he going to launch Dallas on a second-half surge? It would be timely.

On the Cusp: David West

Small Forward

Fans' Current Pick: Carmelo Anthony

My Starter: Anthony. He must be on the Pierce diet: Anthony came in as a one-dimensional scorer but is now good for 6.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.3 steals, in addition to his 25.2 points.

My Subs: No one. With apologies to Josh Howard, I need all the room I can make for the wealth of guards in the West.

On the Cusp: Howard, Stephen Jackson

Shooting Guard

Fans' Current Pick: Kobe Bryant

My Starter: Bryant. Nothing would be more fascinating than to see Kobe turn the Lakers' 22-11 start into a deep playoff run. Don't put it past him.

My Subs: Allen Iverson, Manu Ginobili. Amid talk that Iverson was losing a step, he's putting up 27.1 points, 6.8 assists and 2.2 steals for the 21-13 Nuggets. As for Tracy McGrady, the underperformance of his team combined with his injuries leave him behind the inspiringly ingenious Ginobili.

On the Cusp: McGrady, Brandon Roy

Point Guard

Fans' Current Pick: McGrady

My Starter: Nash. The NBA balloting doesn't distinguish point guards from shooting guards, but this is my All-Star team. I'm the decider. I almost decided to start Chris Paul in recognition of his spectacular leadership, but the reigning champ prevails in a close decision: Nash remains in MVP contention for contributing 16.9 points and 12.2 assists to the West-leading Suns.

My Subs: Paul, Baron Davis. If Paul were to average a triple-double in New Orleans, would it make a sound? Davis has been sensational, making it a photo finish between him and Tony Parker.

On the Cusp: Parker, Deron Williams

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