Atlanta Hawks: Johnson and Horford are All-Stars again

Al and Joe are All-Star teammates again. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Al and Joe are All-Star teammates again. (Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com)

Eastern Conference coaches voted Hawks guard Joe Johnson and center Al Horford as reserves for the NBA All-Star game, the league announced tonight.

It’s the fifth straight All-Star selection for Johnson and the second in a row for Horford. Both players represented the Hawks in Dallas last season, when Horford played in reserve and Johnson started after Allen Iverson was unable to play due to injury.

This year’s game is set to be played on Feb. 20 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Johnson, 29, has been named an All-Star in all but one of his six seasons in Atlanta. He signed a six-year, $123.7 million free-agent contract with the Hawks last summer.

“It means a great deal to me to be selected as an All-Star again,” Johnson said in a statement released by the team. “I can’t thank my coaches and teammates, as well as the organization, enough for helping to put me in this position.”

Horford, 24, is playing his fourth pro season after the Hawks selected him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 draft out of Florida. In November Horford signed a five-year, $60 million contract extension with the Hawks that begins next season.

“I’m thrilled to be going back to the All-Star Game and I am proud to represent the entire Atlanta Hawks organization,” Horford said in a team statement. “Last year was an unbelievable experience and it’s an honor for me to be selected again.”

Coaches voted for two guards, two forwards, a center and two players regardless of position. They could not vote for players on their own team.

Joining Johnson and Horford as East reserves were Boston’s Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett and Miami’s Chris Bosh.

The starters for the game were voted on by fans and announced last week: Chicago’s Derrick Rose, Miami’s Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, New York’s Amar’e Stoudemire and Orlando’s Dwight Howard.

The Western Conference reserves are Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, Utah’s Deron Williams, the Lakers’ Pau Gasol and the Clippers’ Blake Griffin.

The West starters are New Orleans’ Chris Paul, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Houston’s Yao Ming.

Yao is out for the season with an ankle injury and NBA commissioner David Stern will select his replacement.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

184 comments Add your comment

BosnianBaller

February 3rd, 2011
7:51 pm

Re-sign Jamal Crawford!

Bravo

February 3rd, 2011
7:54 pm

Congrats to Al and Joe! You two definitely deserve to be on the team. It’s great to see hard, great performance, and professionalism does not go unnoticed.

Bravo

February 3rd, 2011
7:54 pm

I meant to say *hard work* above.

Freshfromatl

February 3rd, 2011
7:56 pm

Josh Smith got snubbed again but can’t argue against the Celtics picks.

Hey MC,

After a while, the Hawks not having enough “superstars/legitimate” players excuse is gonna get pretty old from a lot of these so-called fans here in Atlanta. The Hawks could have easily sent three players to the All-Star game. I would also bet if you placed the Hawks in any other city, you would have sell-outs nightly. Just my observation.

Lebron Sucks

February 3rd, 2011
7:59 pm

Smoove got snubbed

ATL FAN

February 3rd, 2011
8:01 pm

I think this years snub is going to have a negative effect on smoove’s performance, unlike last years… well see

majortee

February 3rd, 2011
8:03 pm

four celtics that’s bull, smoove got snubbed for the second straight year.

OldTimer

February 3rd, 2011
8:21 pm

The reason the Hawks don’t sell out is because the ATL has better things to do. Ask Lil John, he’ll set you straight.

OldTimer

February 3rd, 2011
8:26 pm

In fact, the hawks are a bunch of candy asses who can’t man up. We all know that. The average Hawk fan could easily take a Hawk down.

Bill

February 3rd, 2011
8:30 pm

Yea, I’m sure you could take down Al Horford OldTimer LMAO!!!

Najeh Davenpoop

February 3rd, 2011
8:32 pm

From the previous blog @niremetal:

“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.”

I’m not an economist, so there’s a good chance you will win this one. But in your example of rent controlled apartments, there are some apartments that are not rent controlled and some that are, so they are not operating within the same playing field in the first place, whereas in the NBA, every player is subject to the same maximum salary restriction. As far as I can tell, your example doesn’t work unless every apartment in the city is rent controlled.

So let’s suppose that were the case, and there was a cap of $1000 a month on the rent for every apartment in a city. And let’s say three of those apartments were brand new, freshly painted apartments with a beach front view and cost the maximum of $1000 a month, while a fourth apartment was a slightly older apartment with some paint peeling and a few rats in the staircase and also cost $1000 a month. Would the fourth apartment be justified in offering the same price as the first three? Even if one person decided to move into the fourth apartment complex and pay the $1000 a month, wouldn’t they still be overcharging?

To me, LeBron/Kobe/Wade are the first three apartments, and Joe Johnson is the 4th apartment. Just because the Knicks were willing to pay him at a similar annual rate as the Hawks are doesn’t mean both teams wouldn’t be overpaying for him.

The point is, when there is a restriction on how much you can pay the league’s true franchise players and there are restrictions on how much you can spend on your entire team, shouldn’t that then have a corresponding impact on the salaries of the players inferior to them? Going down the list of NBA players, at what point do you then make the decision that a player is no longer worthy of a max contract? After all, since you can only have three max contracts at a time (since each one is worth a third of the cap), the line has to be drawn somewhere, right?

As far as this:

“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?”

The reason I group them together is because even if LeBron is slightly better than Wade, their accomplishments to this point in this career are close enough that you can say the value they add to a team is roughly equal. You can go to any place where sports are discussed and see people debating whether LeBron or Kobe is better, whether Manning or Brady is better, whether Rose, Rondo, or Westbrook is better, etc. when the reality is that they are close enough to each other that the difference is not that significant. Maybe LeBron deserves to get paid slightly more than Wade based on statistical production, but seeing as how Wade has proven he can carry a team and win games at the same level LeBron does, the difference between the two is not that significant. Joe Johnson on the other hand hasn’t proven that he can play at nearly the same level as either of them. There is a much more significant gap between Joe Johnson and LeBron/Wade than there is between LeBron and Wade. The NBA may not use a tiered system to pay their players (although to an extent they do, with the mid-level/biannual/veterans’ minimum exceptions) but I think it’s fair to say that for the most part players who produce at similar levels can be expected to get paid at similar levels.

Jamaaliver

February 3rd, 2011
8:32 pm

Josh Smith got snubbed?!? How do you figure? He’s the third best player on the 5th best team in the East.

He’s REALLY not that good.

OldTimer

February 3rd, 2011
8:34 pm

Al Hortford needs to wake up the candy asses.

J from the A

February 3rd, 2011
8:36 pm

Jamaaliver

February 3rd, 2011
8:32 pm

“Josh Smith got snubbed?!? How do you figure? He’s the third best player on the 5th best team in the East.

He’s REALLY not that good.”

But Smoove is arguably as good if not better than KG and Bosh.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 3rd, 2011
8:37 pm

As dirty as it may make you feel, we should all be pulling for the Heat tonight. Realistically, the Hawks are almost certain to have a 4 or 5 seed. The 4 seed obviously means home court advantage in the first round. The odds that the Hawks win the division or pass Chicago in the East standings are slim to none.

Najeh Davenpoop

February 3rd, 2011
8:39 pm

I wouldn’t put Smoove on KG’s level. The biggest argument in Smoove’s favor is the overall impact he has on the Hawks’ defense, but KG has an arguably bigger impact on the Celtics’ defense. But I would put Smoove at least on par with Bosh. The only thing Bosh does better than Smoove is score, and he doesn’t score better than Smoove at a rate where his inferior defense, passing, and rebounding can be overlooked.

The Truth

February 3rd, 2011
8:41 pm

Dear Josh Smith

If you think you got snubbed, you did. Now go play with a chip on your shoulder and prove to all the NBA coaches what a big mistake they made.

Sincerely

The Truth

Cutty

February 3rd, 2011
8:42 pm

Smoove didn’t get snubbed. He isn’t an all-star type player. What forward do you leave off for SMoove?

Lebron, KG, Paul Pierce, Bosh?

Melvin

February 3rd, 2011
8:45 pm

Najeh,

I was hoping that the Heat won to pickup a game on them…

Bravo

February 3rd, 2011
8:46 pm

Joe’s stats from the month of January

PPG- 26.0 APG- 4.8 RPG- 4.5

Wade’s stats from the month of January

PPG- 28.8 APG- 4.3 RPG- 7.6

These number don’t simply happen, Joe Johnson is going to keep this up for the rest of the season… If he hadn’t been injured in the beginning of the season, he would have kept these numbers up throughout the whole first half of the season… All the Joe Johnson haters simply overlook his production because of the massive contract… Joe Johnson is WELL worth that contract… Keep up the good work Joe, ATL still has fans that care for you…

ATL FAN

February 3rd, 2011
8:49 pm

@ Bravo, agree JJ is MUCH better than many people give him credit for

Sautee

February 3rd, 2011
8:49 pm

Cutty,

Bosh, easily.

Bosh?

February 3rd, 2011
8:52 pm

he shouldn’t be an all star. I would take JSMOOVE over him any day. Talk about over rated Bosh is WAYYYYYYY over rated

niremetal

February 3rd, 2011
8:54 pm

Najeh,

To answer your question:

So let’s suppose that were the case, and there was a cap of $1000 a month on the rent for every apartment in a city. And let’s say three of those apartments were brand new, freshly painted apartments with a beach front view and cost the maximum of $1000 a month, while a fourth apartment was a slightly older apartment with some paint peeling and a few rats in the staircase and also cost $1000 a month. Would the fourth apartment be justified in offering the same price as the first three? Even if one person decided to move into the fourth apartment complex and pay the $1000 a month, wouldn’t they still be overcharging?

If there were other people also willing to pay that apartment $1000 a month for that apartment – ie if $1000 was that apartment’s market price, and they didn’t just dupe one louse into renting it – then no, it absolutely wouldn’t be under price.

Different cities do rent control in different ways. The vast majority only have some rent controlled, while a few places have absolute caps. The reason that few places have absolute caps is that it introduces distortions in the market, just as the NBA player salary maximums do. Just as not every team can sign LeBron James, not every person in a city with only some rent control apartments can get into a rent controlled apartment. The result is the prices of the unregulated apartments appear unnaturally high, when in reality it’s the rent-controlled apartments prices that are unnaturally low. Anyway, I was using rent control as an example of an artificial cap that creates market distortions, not as a perfect example.

I didn’t make my point very well, though, so I’ll try again. In a free market, LeBron would be making $35-40M per year and JJ would be making $16-20M per year. Because it’s not a free market, however, LeBron is only making $16M – the same as JJ. But that doesn’t necessarily mean JJ is overpriced. In fact, we can be confident that JJ is not overpriced because there were a number of teams willing to pay him $16M per year.

The maximum salary is like the rookie scale contract – it’s an artificial limit on how much teams can pay players. Right now, Josh is getting paid way more than Blake Griffin – more than twice as much, in fact. But is that evidence that Josh (who got a market contract) is overpriced? Or that Griffin (whose salary was dictated by the CBA) is underpriced? Why should our assessment of whether Josh is overpaid hinge on how much a player who could be making more if not for the salary limits placed on him by the CBA?

Why is the max salary limit any different? Not every team can get a one-man franchise player because there are only 3-4 of those guys in existence. All the teams know this. They have to make their decisions on who to sign based on the resources they have and the players available to them. If Kobe is not an option for that team but JJ is, why on EARTH should how much Kobe is getting paid affect how much they offer JJ?

niremetal

February 3rd, 2011
8:54 pm

*then no, it absolutely wouldn’t be overcharging

Sautee

February 3rd, 2011
8:57 pm

Cutty,

Here’s what cbssports.com had to say about Josh:

Eastern Conference
Honestly, the Eastern coaches got it all right. It’s hard to really say there’s a true snub in the East. Going through though, there certainly are a couple players that have a case. Especially since the whole team is made up of the Celtics and Heat.

Josh Smith : Probably the biggest snub has to be Josh Smith. Problem is, who do you remove? Smith though is having probably his best season, averaging 16. 2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. His defense is well documented but what he’s shown off his is versatility this season. Because of injuries, Smith has played small forward, power forward and even some center.

As a key cog in the Hawks machine, Smith has figured out how to play perfectly next to Al Horford and Joe Johnson. There’s always a lot of talk about other big threes throughout the league, but there’s no reason not to include the trio in Atlanta. Smith has cut down on the dumb shots, is playing well inside and in transition, is maybe the most dynamic finisher out there. Plus, having him in the All-Star Game would be a treat. Can you picture a fast break of Smith, Derrick Rose and LeBron James? I can and it’s pretty awesome.

Willy

February 3rd, 2011
8:57 pm

Maybe Mr. Smoove will FINALLY begin to emulate his teammates that conduct themselves like professionals.

ATL FAN

February 3rd, 2011
9:00 pm

@niremetal,

The argument that JJ is overpriced has nothing to do with market value, it has to do with the value we get in return. Is JJ “worth” the whole $16 million is the question most people are asking, not whether or not is $16 million market value

Geemack

February 3rd, 2011
9:03 pm

If Josh stop trying to prove he’s more than a dunker then maybe he gets in instead of RAllen. When was the last time Josh jammed on somebody? He gotta make more Sportcenter plays. Then the fickled fans will notice him.

ICECOLD

February 3rd, 2011
9:03 pm

Damn josh… gotta get those numbers up… if he was in the west. Easily an all star

Sautee

February 3rd, 2011
9:06 pm

This from Brett Pollakoff at Fanhouse.com:

Josh Smith (Hawks): This one might be the biggest head-scratcher, considering two of Smith’s teammates — Joe Johnson and Al Horford — made the squad, when Smith might have been most deserving. Johnson leads the team in scoring, but Smith’s points come more efficiently. Horford rebounds slightly more per game, but scores less and doesn’t block as many shots. Smith is a beast on both ends of the floor, which might make his omission the biggest of the snubs.

tom

February 3rd, 2011
9:07 pm

smoove is good but he’s no where near KG’s mental toughness and work hard attitude.

superiorblogman

February 3rd, 2011
9:14 pm

Josh Smith will never be a all-star. The dude is a PF who can’t shoot 50% from the field because he shoots to many jumpshots.

Fundamentals

February 3rd, 2011
9:17 pm

Amen Truth,

It’s just the All Star Game. If Josh feels snubbed, he should bring it till he gets his real chance to plead his case. Round 2 in the 2nd round. Then and only then can we see the true value of both players to their teams.

Bet on it. We’ll meet ORL in round 1 and thus the Celtics in Round 2.

Smoove will have his chance to shine. On a much bigger stage, for a much bigger payoff.

Use the “snub” as fuel for your fire. You’ll need tons to match KG’s fire and determination.

cj

February 3rd, 2011
9:20 pm

tom – so we now base the all-star game on mental toughness and work ethic. I haven’t really compared #’s but I am sure KG has Josh beat in all categories right? If not, then KG is better because he is metally tougher? I don’t know, Josh has been pretty good this season in the clutch…Free throws, and even thought I hate them, 3 ptr’s, finishing at the rim. Oh yeah, KG is a whole lot better than J-smoove. Let’s not even go to Bosh. the only Bosh has on Smoove is his jumper looks better…period.

Fundamentals

February 3rd, 2011
9:23 pm

Bosh and KG have the All Star pedigree, national attention and the C’s have the best record. They’re going to get preference. Just like the year Detroit took 4.

Use the “snub” to fuel the fire. Rise to the national stage, not just the ATL stage.

coolio

February 3rd, 2011
9:24 pm

Joe only boosted his numbers to make the all-star game,don’t be suprised if he starts slipping afterwards

Fundamentals

February 3rd, 2011
9:27 pm

I disagree. I think Joe started taking it to the bucket when he felt healthy and found what we’ve been saying for years. A quick decision, a push towards the bucket and the dude is unstoppable. Hopefully he won’t fall in love with the 3 again. Hopefully he won’t go back to pounding until the double team comes. When he plays to his strengths and goes quickly before the double he can easily put up numbers every night.

man man

February 3rd, 2011
9:31 pm

Fundamentals

he can put up number against the nun contenders.He nevers shows up when hes most needed

Astro Joe

February 3rd, 2011
9:33 pm

If you are going to make an obscene gesture and curse out your coach, you better have a dominating half-season if you expect a lot of head coaches to elect you to the All-Star team over guys who aren’t cursing out their coaches and making obscene gestures.

hawks_4_life

February 3rd, 2011
9:34 pm

LOL NICE FOUL DWIGHT

Fundamentals

February 3rd, 2011
9:36 pm

He and Josh have an opportunity to show they’ve grown since last season. Your negativity is acknowledged. If I held the Hawks to your standard I would’ve hated Nique, Smitty, Shareef, Harrington, Walker or any other “clutch” shooter who never got us out of the 2nd round.

We’ve had one of our better runs in our recent history with this team. If they fail, at least we’ve had a chance. We could go back to 13 wins.

Right now is Joe the issue or more PG and Big help the real issue?

To me we always come up 20-30 million short in the 2nd round. Is that Joe’s fault? Please don’t be lame and blame it on his contract? We all know our team salaries are 20-30 million less than the teams we can’t seem to beat.

Fundamentals

February 3rd, 2011
9:37 pm

Good point Astro – once again the limiting factor for Josh is Josh.

man man

February 3rd, 2011
9:41 pm

he is overpaid.OKC don’t have much size and many people thank there contenders

Najeh Davenpoop

February 3rd, 2011
9:43 pm

“If Kobe is not an option for that team but JJ is, why on EARTH should how much Kobe is getting paid affect how much they offer JJ?”

Fair enough. In other words, Joe is not overpaid because the Hawks had no other options. I can see this line of thinking, and this is why I wasn’t too vocal in criticizing the Hawks when they offered Joe the max — the alternative would have been letting him walk, not having the cap space to replace him with another max player, and counting on Rick Sund to find a franchise player who was better than him. I trust Joe to keep the Hawks in the 2nd round more than I trust Sund to do anything.

I think most of the criticism of Joe’s deal (and really the basis of my argument) comes from comparing his production to the production of other similarly paid players. You’re looking at it from the completely different angle of comparing the decision to give him the max to the other available decisions, which is fine.

I’d still like to know, though, where you would draw the line on who is overpaid and who should get the max. You mentioned Rashard Lewis and Kenyon Martin, two players who are significantly worse than Joe, as players whose max contracts didn’t impact their teams’ ability to contend. Do you think the same principle (that Joe is not overpaid but LeBron/Kobe/etc. are underpaid due to the artificial ceiling on player salaries) justify the contracts given to players like Lewis and Martin?

At some point, I would think the fact that you can only have three max players on your team would indicate that a player has to be of a certain caliber to deserve a max deal, even if the max is an artificial restriction. Maybe the Hawks couldn’t have spent that money on a superior player or on a cheaper but similar player, but surely the Magic and Nuggets could have spent a smaller amount on comparable players and received the same production and results.

And for those of you who think I’m hating on Joe, I’m not. I appreciate him for the player that he is, and it’s certainly not his fault he was offered that deal. Sh-t, if someone offered me $120 million to post comments on this blog I’d be an idiot not to take it, and it wouldn’t be my fault someone decided to pay me that money.

Fundamentals

February 3rd, 2011
9:44 pm

OKC are putting together the same type of young talent. When their contracts come up you can guarantee they’ll be “overpaid” too. It is what it is. Joe is paid based on the rules set forth by the CBA. He would’ve been “overpaid” elsewhere. We would’ve used his cash to “overpay” another player instead. You must be new to the NBA, b/c player salaries have been “overpaid” for 20+ years. Remember when KG got the big deal early in his career? Was he “overpaid”

man man

February 3rd, 2011
9:50 pm

So you telling me is he would’ve went to Dallas,New York or Chicago he would’ve got a 120 million?Hell Naw.So he wouldn’t have been overpaid anywhere else

Fundamentals

February 3rd, 2011
9:52 pm

He would’ve gotten the max for what they could offer, you can guarantee it. Thinking of him on any of those 3 teams would be scary. Almost a guaranteed championship with the talent they now have assembled.

He may not be able to carry the load alone, but on a TEAM he’s one sweet piece any coach would love to have.

man man

February 3rd, 2011
9:55 pm

hes a sweet piece but they wouldnt have paid him 120 million are you aware of the”Salary Cap”

Fundamentals

February 3rd, 2011
9:57 pm

Yes, we’re under it with a full team. Aren’t you aware than every team above us in the standings pay 20-30 million above that in what’s called the Luxury tax. We have no luxuries here? Only a tight budget keeping our “core” in tact. Get real.