Chandler named All-Star reserve; Smith, Lopez snubbed
The Knicks learned that to the victors go the spoils when it was announced tonight that center Tyson Chandler will join teammate Carmelo Anthony on the All-Star team as a reserve.
Chandler, a 12-year veteran, is making his maiden voyage to the festivities. He’s averaging 12.2 points, 11 rebounds and one block per game. The scoring bump, up from last year’s 11.3 mark (8.7 points per game in his career) is what likely made voters and opposing coaches take notice. Chandler has always been known for his defensive intensity, including anchoring the Mavericks’ 2010-11 NBA championship squad, but it’s been his play on the offensive end that probably turned some heads. The athletic 7-foot-1 pivot has built a nice two-man game in the pick-and-roll, whether it’s been with Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd or Pablo Prigioni.
Coaches weren’t allowed to vote for their own players and were asked to select two backcourt players, three frontcourt players and two “wild-card” players who could play any position. The fact that the NBA tried a new way of voting this year by eliminating the center position from the ballots, made it appear that Chandler would be left out in the cold. But it’s apparent now that when a player is the heart and soul of one of the surprise elite teams in the league, plays in the biggest media market and is coming off a summer in which he also anchored Team USA’s gold-medal winning team, he’s going to be on several voters’ radars.
Ironically, the Nets (26-16) fall into many of the same categories as their intracity rival, in that they play in one of the largest media markets in the world, have a fresh new look and also had many viable options who could’ve been All Stars. Alas, they received snubs on all three of their top players: shooting guard Joe Johnson, point guard Deron Williams and center Brook Lopez.
Such a snub will only add fuel to what has become a hotly-contested rivalry.
» J.R. Smith didn’t make the All-Star cut, as he was one of a handful of suitable sixth men who was seemingly on the precipice of being selected. Former Knicks and current Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford also fell short of making the team.
» Chandler was one of six first-timers, including Bulls center Joakim Noah, Rockets shooting guard James Harden, Pacers swingman Paul George, 76ers point guard Jrue Holiday and Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.