The All-Star reserves were announced Thursday night, and that means its’ time for the predictable “snub” stories. Smoove has been included on a few of those lists after coaches voted J.J. and Al to the East squad but not him.
Smoove, though, insists he is not miffed because he doesn’t really think he got snubbed.
“The people around me, my family and friends, are more mad about it than me,” he said.
It was doubtful Smoove would be selected ahead of East forwards Chris Bosh of Toronto and Paul Pierce of Boston. They’ve been considered elite for a while now. Pierce plays for a contender and while the Raptors trail the Hawks in the standings Bosh is the main reason the Raptors are on track for the playoffs.
Smoove, though, could have been picked over Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace. But he says he doesn’t begrudge coaches for sending Wallace to his first All-Star game instead of him.
“He’s worked hard over the last nine years and it’s paid off,” Smith said. “He definitely deserved it, and that’s what I told him that when he was here (to play the Hawks last Friday).”
Smoove also dismissed the idea that his early reputation as being unreceptive to coaching had anything to do with not getting enough votes.
“I don’t think it’s about that,” he said. “I think it’s about how a player plays and the kind of problems he gives (coaches) when they go against him.”
Smoove went out of his way to say he’s not focused on worrying about being left off the All-Star team, but on being happy for Al and J.J.
“Those guys are my brothers,” he said.
Al said the difference for him this season is being tougher on defense and developing an improved jumpshot–he’s making 50 percent of his shots outside the paint, according to 82games.com. He credits Hawks shooting consultant Mark Price for the latter.
“I feel much more confident as a shooter,” he said.
J.J. said his focus last summer was on building strength so he could better withstand the season’s grind.
“Around this time of year you tend to have a letdown,” he said. “I’m trying to push through it.”
As for his fourth straight All-Star appearance, he said: “It never get old. t’s definitely an honor and a privilege.”