Attention, NBA Western Conference coaches! Run, don't walk, to cast your ballots to add four—that's right, four—point guards to the conference's All-Star roster. They are Tim Hardaway of the Warriors, Kevin Johnson of the Suns, Terry Porter of the Trail Blazers and John Stockton of the Jazz. You know these guys. Chances are, they've already broken your hearts, not to mention your zone traps.
After the fans select the Ail-Star starters for the Feb. 10 game in Charlotte, a process that was to have been completed this Wednesday, the coaches in both the Western and Eastern conferences will vote on the roster additions. The coaches, who cannot vote for their own players, will select two guards, two forwards, one center and two so-called wild card players. Thus, behind the West's starting guards—who will be Magic Johnson of the Lakers and Clyde Drexler of the Blazers if their places in last week's balloting hold up—here is room for the aforementioned point guards.
Yes, they are all short guys—Porter is the tallest, at 6'2"—but who cares if the West's backcourt roster looks like something from the World Basketball League? This is an All-Star Game for the league's best players, and the regular-season play of those six guards demands that they all be included. And, coaches, don't worry that there's only one true shooting guard ( Drexler) in the bunch. Nomenclature doesn't matter much in All-Star games, and, besides, the two Johnsons and Porter can all play the two-guard position.
I also hereby offer the following additional suggestions to the coaches in both conferences:
WEST—The center behind starter David Robinson of the Spurs should be Kevin Duckworth of the Blazers. ( Akeem Olajuwon of the Rockets and Roy Tarpley of the Mavericks are out with an eye injury and a knee injury, respectively.) Behind projected starting forwards Karl Malone of the Jazz and Chris Mullin of the Warriors, the coaches should add Tom Chambers of the Suns and James Worthy of the Lakers.
Regrettably excluded from my list are guards Rolando Blackman and Derek Harper of the Mavericks, Jeff Hornacek of the Suns and Mitch Richmond of the Warriors, as well as forwards Xavier McDaniel of the Suns and Buck Williams of the Blazers.
EAST—Three guards, three forwards and one center should be added to back up guards Michael Jordan of the Bulls and Isiah Thomas of the Pistons, forwards Charles Barkley (due back from an ankle injury this week) of the 76ers and Larry Bird of the Celtics, and center Patrick Ewing of the Knicks. I recommend guards Joe Dumars of the Pistons, Reggie Miller of the Pacers and Ricky Pierce of the Bucks; forwards Bernard King of the Bullets, Kevin McHale of the Celtics and Dominique Wilkins of the Hawks; and center Brad Daugherty of the Cavaliers. If Bird can't perform because of his ailing back, which had kept him out of six straight games at week's end, King should start at forward and Dennis Rodman of the Pistons should be awarded the other spot on the roster.
Players who don't seem likely to make the game and have good reason to be disappointed include forwards Rodman (perhaps), Larry Nance of the Cavs and Scottie Pippen of the Bulls; center Robert Parish of the Celtics; and guards Jay Humphries and Alvin Robertson of the Bucks and Reggie Lewis of the Celtics.
And who will be disappointed without good reason? Charles Oakley of the Knicks. He always is.