Atlanta Hawks All-Star watch: Al (yes), Joe (probably) and Josh (maybe?) (Update: Al and Joe are in; Josh is out)

The All-Star reserves, voted on by coaches, will be announced tonight (coverage begins at 7 p.m. on TNT). The Hawks will be repped for sure, and the question is how many guys they will place on the team.

(UPDATE: A few minutes before the official announcement, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that the East reserves are Al, Joe, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh. The league officially announced reserves a few minutes later.)

Unless something crazy happens, Al will make the team. J.J isn’t a certainty but he’s got a good shot. Smoove is the wild card, though Hawks blog legend Sekou gave him the nod over Joe.

Josh, if your remember, downplayed his desire to be an All-Star last season both before and after he was left off the team. Then after going on a tear in the weeks following the announcement of the reserves, he admitted he very much wanted to be an All-Star and motivated by the perceived snub.

This time he’s not pretending he doesn’t want to be on the team.

“I hope I make it,” he said today. “I’m a little anxious. As long as at least two of us make it, that’s all that matters. I think we are a good enough team to get at least two guys. We all have the stats to make our claim. Every year there is going to be a snub. We will see what happens at 7 o’clock.”

Josh thought he should have been on the team last year and he thinks he’s playing better ball now.

“I can make my claim,” Josh said. “I played in every game this season. I’ve been one of the more consistent players in the East. However they see it, I have got to respect the choices.”

To me Al’s case is pretty simple. He was named an All-Star last season, when there was more competition for spots. He’s improved this year by every measure, the Hawks are still winning and there’s less comp. So he should make it again.

“I think this season I feel more confidence as a player and I feel like I am having a better year,” Al said.

Al got the five-year, $60 million extension but said that was coincidental to his improved play.

“I think it was business as usual,” Al said. “If you’ve been following my career, I feel like I’ve been getting better each year I’ve been in the league and adding different things. It just happened I got the extension at that time. Coming into the season, I felt really good about my game.”

J.J. has been on fire the last month or so. Clearly the elbow had something to do with his lackluster play to start the season.

“Health and confidence,” J.J. said of the difference between now and then. “Confidence takes you a long way.”

Before he found out he needed surgery, was there ever a time when his confidence was shaken?

“Maybe a little,” Johnson said. “It was an unfortunate thing. I am glad it was out of the way now.”

Was it somewhat of a relief, then, to find out that the elbow was the issue?

“Maybe so,” he said. “I think everything happens for a reason. I didn’t know what the reason was [he was struggling]. I was coming out and trying to do everything it took to give the team everything I had. Early in the season it was a struggle. I knew eventually I would overcome it.”

And now Joe says he feels fresher at this point of the season than previously.

“I think that is going to help in the long run, especially April and May,” he said. “I look forward to finishing off the season and getting back to the playoffs and, for us, proving everybody wrong.”

All three Hawks can make claim to be included among the players added to the East squad behind starters Dwight, LeBron, Amar’e, D-Wade and D-Rose.

Noah is hurt, so that leaves the Hawks’ trio competing for votes with a group that should include Rondo, Pierce, Bosh, Ray Allen, KG, Boozer and Raymond Felton. (The list ends here with the assumption that coaches won’t vote for players from the East’s losers unless they are having All-World seasons, thus ruling out the likes of Bogut, Granger and Brook Lopez.)

Rondo and Pierce are shoo-ins. Rondo runs point for the East’s best team while leading the league in assists per game and is second in steals. Pierce leads the C’s in scoring and has been highly efficient, so far posting career highs in effective field-goal percentage, true shooting percentage and win shares per 48 minutes.

Bosh’s production and efficiency have fallen off; the former was expected playing with LeBron and D-Wade, the latter can mostly be contributed to his slow start. He’s recovered and managed to find his fit as the third SuperFriend. Bosh certainly thinks he’s in since he’s the key cog for a winner.

So assuming Al, J.J., Rondo, Pierce and Bosh make it that would leave two spots for East reserves with Smoove vying with Allen, KG and Boozer.

Boozer is putting up his usual numbers but he’s played just 30 games and the Bulls won without him. Felton has the New York hype going for him but he’s cooled off and looks like the player we thought he was. KG and Allen’s have been just OK from a production standpoint so a vote for them would be a vote for the C’s being head and shoulders above the rest of the East (cool) or lifetime achievement (I guess).

L.D. made his case for Joe last night and today did the same for J.J. and Smoove.

“I think both guys deserve it, I really do,” he said. “I think Al has been very consistent throughout this first half of the schedule. And I think Josh has played really well. His overall play has been phenomenal. He has really developed his outside shot. He has shown the ability to make a 3. He just does everything else. He’s an assist guy, he’s a rebound guy, he blocks shot. I think he has had a phenomenal first half of the season and to me he is an All-Star.”

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

37 comments Add your comment

slimjr

February 3rd, 2011
5:14 pm

I hope you make it to Josh. You guys are going to have to stop getting drilled in the playoffs if ya’ll want more respect out there though…..

slimjr

February 3rd, 2011
5:22 pm

The second half of the season have to focus on turning around that 5-12 record against the teams above .500! That should be a priority…Must rebound the darn ball.. Josh you need to turn into Moses Malone and crash the bds. with your athleticism..Rebounds and defense on the perimeter(pick&roll) are key..And you can’t take nights off in this league….or you end up at 5-12 instead of 12-5….That’s not going to get it done…

CYATES1

February 3rd, 2011
5:26 pm

I think all 3 can make this team. I’m hoping for that cause when was the last time we had 3 hawks on the all star squad.

ATL FAN

February 3rd, 2011
5:42 pm

All of these guys definetly deserve it… they are CARRYING this team!!

PureEvil

February 3rd, 2011
5:44 pm

Hell yeah if Josh makes the team his trade value will skyrocket. :twisted:

Just kiddin!!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by iiNDiiA.mermaiD™, jcallins and Monae (like Monet), Michael Cunningham. Michael Cunningham said: Atlanta #Hawks All-Star watch: Al (yes), Joe (probably) and Josh (maybe?). http://bit.ly/eKcGIM [...]

Najeh Davenpoop

February 3rd, 2011
5:56 pm

If it were up to me, Smoove and Al would both make it over Bosh’s soft, tissue-paper azz.

I’m guessing that won’t happen and Smoove will be the odd man out.

terrell

February 3rd, 2011
6:05 pm

Agree with Najeh.

niremetal

February 3rd, 2011
6:13 pm

Najeh,

Andray Blatche puts up much better numbers than Tim Duncan this year, but the Spurs would laugh until they sh-t their pants if the Wiz called them to offer that trade.

That goes in my Hall of Fame for favorite comments.

Going by that, however artificial the max salary level may be, the fact that Joe is paid in the same tier as LeBron and Kobe when he doesn’t perform at that tier makes him overpaid.

Sorry, but that’s a basic economics fail. I take it from your post that you agree that JJ would have gotten the max from another team had he not gotten it from us. In other words, we paid market price for him.

Basic economics: Just because one good/service is unnaturally cheap doesn’t mean that a good/service of lower quality that’s priced the same is unnaturally expensive. The low max salary is comparable to rent control apartments – it’s not that all unregulated apartments in a city with rent controls are overpriced, but rather that the rent control apartments are unnaturally underpriced.

JJ is worth what the market says he’s worth. The mere fact that LeBron is making less than he could get on the open market says that LeBron is underpriced. But that frankly has nothing to do with whether JJ is overpriced. The solution to the problem of LeBron and JJ making the same amount of money is for the NBA to remove the artificial cap, not for teams to pay less for players who aren’t as good as LeBron.

Both LeBron and Wade have carried teams to the finals as the best player on the team, and Wade has won a title as the best player on his team. Wade may not be as good as LeBron, but he is close enough to be grouped into the same tier as him.

You admit that Wade isn’t as good as LeBron. So shouldn’t that mean that he gets paid less than him?

What’s this “tier” business about? Sports players aren’t paid in a tiered pricing system. They are paid in individually negotiated contracts. Do you honestly think that Wade would have gotten the same contract as LeBron in a free market? You’re an intelligent guy, so you know the answer is “no.” Maddux and Glavine were both Cy Young Award quality pitchers, but Maddux got paid more because he was universally recognized as the slightly better pitcher.

Without artificial caps, markets don’t recognize “tiers.” Small differences in quality lead to small differences in prices. LeBron is getting paid $15M because that’s all the NBA allows him to get. I have no clue how you can think that the fact that LeBron is making $20M+ less than market value should affect how much teams are willing to pay other, different players.

jlewis

February 3rd, 2011
6:41 pm

I personally dont think al or smoove should be all stars, reason being, neither one commands a double team, if you dont do that in this league you are not feared. Also, in the west I think kevin love should not be on the team either, its easy to get numbers on a bad team, and he gets a lot of rebounds because they miss a lot of shots. I give the nod to JJ over ray allen and felton, ray eats off everyone else, felton is a d’antoni system player, he wasnt great in charlotte and isnt great now.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 3rd, 2011
6:45 pm

Adrian Wojnarowski just tweeted the East reserves. Al and Joe are in, Smoove is out.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 3rd, 2011
6:45 pm

Al and Joe join the four Celtics and Bosh.

O'Brien

February 3rd, 2011
6:47 pm

I dont think Josh makes the all star game. He said he is playing better, but the main difference is his jump shooting has improved.

Other than that, his points and rebounds are basically the same, his assists are down, his blocks are down, and his turnovers are up.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 3rd, 2011
6:48 pm

In the West, Duncan made it and Kevin Love is out.

Michael Cunningham

February 3rd, 2011
6:56 pm

Blog updates with Wojo reporting Al and Joe are in and Josh is out.

Sautee

February 3rd, 2011
6:59 pm

Congratulations to Al and Joe.

Josh, just keep coming back and next year “kick the door down” as Bum Phillips use to say. Many of us appreciate what you do as much as we do Al and Joe.

superiorblogman

February 3rd, 2011
7:01 pm

That’s about right. Josh should never be a all-star until he learns to play. He is undisciplined and takes too many jumpshots. That’s what he gets. I bet he will just shoot more jumpshots instead of getting mad and taking it to the rim and once again remembering how to finish strong in traffic. Smoove is overrated because he is erratic and the coaches can see that.

Sautee

February 3rd, 2011
7:07 pm

MC,

If you get a chance, could you ask LD this:

If the motion offense makes “everyone on the court” a threat to score, then why don’t we use it more often in crunch time?

Wouldn’t that “threat” from all 5 be harder to defend than one particular matchup that we are trying to exploit with an iso?

Thanks

jlewis

February 3rd, 2011
7:08 pm

Josh’s attitude and low b-ball IQ is holding him back, Sekou always pushed for Josh, that made me not respect his opinion as a beat writer. Everyone else cant be wrong and he’s right, you cant be an unestablished player, playing with your ballz and expect respect.

MaxxHawk

February 3rd, 2011
7:16 pm

Josh got screwed! Balderdash!

drmaryb (*_*)

February 3rd, 2011
7:17 pm

Sautee, said it best to encourage Josh. I know that he is disappointed.
Josh, you are in All Star in my heart. Keep working on your shot selection and learn to forget about the ” Bad Cal Refs!” Keep your head in the game, work on not turning the ball over on the fast breaks (in your defense), you don’t have a fast, penetrating PG, so that’s not entirely your fault.

But, above all mature, grow some stones and leave some stones alone!
You are a Captain now, so work on your leadership skills!

Forget about the crowds and refs! Be kewl, play your game. Stay in the post more, where you are most effective!
______________________

We LOVE you! You are the most entertaining Hawk! Don’t hang your head, next year you will be named an All-Star! Bosh Sucks!

bonquesha

February 3rd, 2011
7:18 pm

No surprise here. Most analysts had Al as a lock and I think Joe’s play in January along with Felton’s regression with the Knicks made him a shoo in. There just are not enough quality guards in the East and the coaches respect Joe’s game. I never thought Josh would make the team. He was on another level at the beginning of the season but the old Josh steadily crept in and the bad habits (attitude, long jumpshots) took over. He just doesn’t get it.

PureEvil

February 3rd, 2011
7:24 pm

Josh might not be as good as Chris Bosh BUT, J Smooth has been better this year than both Bosh and Garnett. Garnett could avg. 7pts and night and Bosh the same they would still be in over Smooth. It’s just the way the NBA operates!!

jason

February 3rd, 2011
7:26 pm

Son of a !@#$%. Why is Chris Bosh there? Josh most definatly deserve that spot. I hope that this experience will only make josh even more better than his game. Chris Bosh? Really?

Ken Strickland

February 3rd, 2011
7:29 pm

How can CBosh make the All Star team ahead of Josh, when Josh leads him in every statistical category except PPG, which he more than makes up for by doubling Bosh’s APG total?

Ra'mon

February 3rd, 2011
7:30 pm

Sautee, if MC asks LD that question, we’re just going to get the RIGHT answer back. All of LD’s answers (verbally) are always the right answers.

Section 303

February 3rd, 2011
7:32 pm

There was no chance that three Hawks would make the All Star squad. No way. I am kind of surprised, considering the lack of respect this team gets, that both Al and Joe made it.

Good for both of them. Joe has been great this month. Al is just a stud.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 3rd, 2011
7:32 pm

Wins matter when it comes to All Star selection. I really think if Smoove and Bosh got traded for each other, both teams’ records would be exactly the same and Smoove would have made it over Bosh. That’s not because I’m a Smoove fan nearly as much as it’s because I think Bosh is that overrated. I think you could replace Bosh with 10-12 other forwards in the league and it wouldn’t make a difference on that team. Bosh is decisively the better scorer, though, and the Heat have more wins, so it’s not surprising that he got picked.

MJC

February 3rd, 2011
7:38 pm

bonquesha

February 3rd, 2011
7:18 pm

No surprise here. Most analysts had Al as a lock and I think Joe’s play in January along with Felton’s regression with the Knicks made him a shoo in. There just are not enough quality guards in the East and the coaches respect Joe’s game. I never thought Josh would make the team. He was on another level at the beginning of the season but the old Josh steadily crept in and the bad habits (attitude, long jumpshots) took over. He just doesn’t get it.
——————————————————————-
Are you one of those people who thinks that, even if he makes it, Smoove shouldn’t take threes? That’s funny, because Smoove’s 3P% is significantly better than both JJ and Crawford, and I never see anyone on these boards calling for them to give up the shot.

K.W.

February 3rd, 2011
7:51 pm

It’s just sad that Josh didn’t make it again.

superiorblogman

February 3rd, 2011
8:04 pm

Josh Smith in a package for Stephen Curry in a second

hawks_4_life

February 3rd, 2011
8:14 pm

WHO DO I WANT TO LOSE….MIA OR ORL

MUST SAY I HATE MIA MORE DESPITE OF THE PLAYOFF LOSS TO ORL

Sautee

February 3rd, 2011
8:27 pm

We are more likely to need a Magic loss, as they are the team we need to beat out for the 4th spot. I hate the Heat more, too, but it would be best if the Magic lose.

bonquesha

February 3rd, 2011
8:31 pm

@MJC No, I am a person that understands that there are certain characteristics about Josh’s game that has always been frowned upon by coaches and analysts. His propensity to shoot long jumpers is one of them. The other is his attitude and immaturity during games. He shoots a better percentage than many big name all star players like Wade and Bryant but people see him as someone who should be more of an inside presence. That’s all. It’s the perception. Besides, he was competing with Bosh and the coaches were not going to split the Heat’s Big Three.

hawks_4_life

February 3rd, 2011
8:33 pm

Sautee

Do you think we can pass the heat in the standings? I think its possible.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 3rd, 2011
8:35 pm

New blog up.

Sautee

February 3rd, 2011
8:42 pm

No, barring an injury to Wade or Queen. Otherwise I doubt we pass them.