Do We Have Reserves?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011
By Jon Newberry

The NBA will announce the reserves for the 2011 All-Star Game tomorrow night during the national broadcast on TNT. None of the Hawks were voted into the game as starters, so they will now count on opposing coaches if they want a free trip to the City of Angels.

Real quick, here is a clear summary of how the reserves are chosen from

  • In selecting the reserves, the 30 NBA head coaches must vote for seven players within their conference, including two guards, two forwards, a center and two players regardless of position. Coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their team. After the coaches select the reserves, if a player is unable to participate in the All-Star Game, Commissioner Stern will select a replacement. Reserves will be announced Feb. 3, on TNT.

The Hawks’ tri-captains (Joe, Al and Smoove) all could make a case to make the team as a reserve this season. Here is a quick comparison of the Atlanta players with other players that have been in the discussion as possible reserves using a very basic (if not old school) type of power ranking.

Plus two players regardless of position

Using this analysis that uses just the basic stats that are universally observed by coaches, it looks like both Al and Josh can make a strong case to make the team.

Joe’s numbers were hurt by the fact that he missed nine games with his elbow injury, but his impressive January (26 ppg, 50.2% FG) has him very much alive in the discussion. Add in the fact that Joe has been a part of the All-Star festivities the past four years and even started last year, and Joe could be booking his trip to L.A.

The “Coach” Effect
It is the coaches that are voting on the reserves. Not analysts, not fans, but coaches. Joe has sometimes been accused of lacking “flair” in his game, but that has no bearing on how effective he is, nor how much attention he requires when other teams are putting together their game plan.

Similarly, Al does not have flashy game, but coaches LOVE his fundamentals, his leadership and his consistency.

If there is anyone who could be hurt by the fact that it is the coaches that vote, it may be Smoove. Fans and analysts LOVE Smoove’s highlights, but coaches could care less if it is a dunk or a lay-up. Coaches do have to admit that Josh can have a huge impact on the game when he is bringing his energy and defense. The other factor that hurts Smith is that his reputation from early in his career as immature may still linger on a few coaches’ minds.

The “Team” Effect
Especially in the East, where there a such a large disparity between teams above .500 and teams below .500, it is tough to make the argument to vote for a star whose team has posted less than 20 wins (see Bogut and Bargnani). Similarly, it is hard to legitimize multiple stars from a team that is hovering right at .500 (Raymond Felton).

The “Injury” Effect
We touched on it before concerning Joe, but there are other legit stars that have missed even more time this season. The Bulls have a great record and probably deserve two stars on this year’s team, but Boozer and Noah have just missed too much time to put together a strong enough argument.