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If you had to choose between the Jazz's Karl Malone and the Warriors" Chris Mullin, Dream 'reamers both, to start at forward, who would it be? What about a choice between John Stockton of the Jazz and Tim Hardaway of the Warriors at point guard? Well, the voters have spoken, and barring injury, homers Malone and Stockton will start for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Feb. 21. How con-veeeen-yent, as Dana Carvey's Church Lady might say.
Whether or not you believe host-city fans stuffed the ballot boxes—and many NBA observers believe exactly that—one has to concede that picking two starters from those boxed sets isn't easy. And difficult decisions remain for All-Star coaches Pat Riley of the Knicks and Paul Westphal of the Suns, who both must add seven reserves to their rosters. To lend a hand, we hereby present SI's 1992-93 NBA All-Star team, starters and reserves.
West Starters—Malone and the Suns' Charles Barkley at forward, the Spurs' David Robinson at center, Hardaway and the Trail Blazers' Clyde Drexler at guard. Stockton had more steals than Hardaway (107 to 80) and, as usual, more assists than anyone else in the league (12.6 per game). But I like Hardaway's bravado and his knack for taking over a game.
Mullin will miss the game due to thumb surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right hand. But this choice was made before the surgery was announced on Monday. Why Malone? Because the Mailman remains the league's indomitable presence on the blocks, entry pass after entry pass, night after night, year after year.
West Reserves—Sean Elliott of the Spurs, Danny Manning of the Clippers and Cliff Robinson of the Trail Blazers at forward; Hakeem Olajuwon of the Rockets and Shawn Kemp of the Sonics at center; Stockton and Mitch Richmond of the Kings at guard. Elliott's steadiness is a major reason that, at week's end, the Spurs had won 20 of 23 games since John Lucas took over as coach on Dec. 18. Manning has the responsibility, every night, of leading the Clippers—no small task. The versatile Robinson, a strong candidate on his own merit, is the clear choice to replace Mullin. And it's not stretching matters to recruit the 6'10" Kemp, who starts at forward, as the team's third center, for that's where he can usually be found at crunch lime for the Sonics.
The battle for the final guard spot on my team came down to Richmond and the Suns' Dan Majerle. Thunder Dan earned his first All-Star berth last season, so now it's time for everyone to get a look at Richmond, a scoring machine.
East Starters—Larry Johnson of the Hornets and Dominique Wilkins of the Hawks at forward, Shaquille O'Neal of the Magic in the pivot, Michael Jordan of the Bulls and Mark Price of the Cavaliers at guard. I'm going with Wilkins over the Bulls' Scottie Pippen—after missing the final 40 games of last season with a torn Achilles tendon and 11 games this season with a hand injury, 'Nique has been his old slammin' self—and with Price over the Pistons' Isiah Thomas.
As for the latter choice, I have no problem with the fans wanting to see old pro Isiah in action—this could be his last All-Star hurrah—but it's impossible to put two members of a weak Piston team on the All-Star team, and Joe Dumars, Thomas's backcourtmate, is my choice.
East Reserves—Pippen and Detlef Schrempf of the Pacers at forward; Patrick Ewing of the Knicks and Brad Daugherty of the Cavaliers at center; Dumars and Net teammates Kenny Anderson and Drazen Petrovic at guard.