Who's Going To The All-Star Game: Deng, Noah Or Boozer?
The NBA All-Star Game reserves are announced tonight and with that comes one of the most meaningless game in professional sports. But enough sour grapes, let's take this thing seriously, damn it!
The Bulls have several deserving candidates for the All-Star Game. Carlos Boozer has finally lived up to the hype Bulls fans heard about three years ago. Luol Deng has stepped up in the absence of Derrick Rose while still playing lock-down defense. Joakim Noah has emerged as one of the best centers in the Eastern Conference. And why not throw Jimmy Butler into the mix, if only to annoy Kobe Bryant for a few minutes? Okay, that might be a little too much love, but let's take a look at the resume for the three most deserving Bulls.
With Carlos Boozer we are finally seeing the player the Bulls thought they signed, not the guy sitting on the bench down the stretch in the fourth quarter. He currently leads the Eastern Conference in double-doubles and has stepped up as a clutch scorer, averaging 16.1 points per game. Without Boozer's resurgence the Bulls wouldn't be in a position to win 50 games this year. However, many around the league will remember his lackluster play from the last two seasons. Boozer might have to finish the season strong and wait until next year for a return to the All-Star Game.
Deng made his first All-Star Game last year and has continued his stellar play with Rose out. He leads the team in scoring while usually guarding the opposing team's best player. He is averaging 17.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Looking Beyond the numbers, Deng has stepped up as a leader and go-to player in crunch time. Deng is surely deserving of another All-Star nod, but it might be wise to sit out this year considering his hamstring injury.
Noah is easily having the best season of his career—look no further than last night's game-winning assist as proof of his value to the team. He is averaging 12.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game and has emerged as the Bulls' vocal team leader. He is also second in the league in minutes (behind only Luol Deng). Noah is highly deserving of a selection and is by far the favorite amongst Bulls fans.
If I had to guess I would say Joakim Noah will get the opportunity to play half-assed defense and take uncontested shots in this year's All-Star Game. With the season he's having, he deserves the time off.
Stats provided by ESPN.com