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Deng, Noah Named All-Stars

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 25, 2013 4:20PM

The NBA announced the All-Star Game reserves on Thursday night, and two Bulls made the 2013 squad. We speculated yesterday that three Bulls players deserved consideration, and while Chicagoist correctly predicted that Joakim Noah would make the All-Star team, Luol Deng was also chosen to represent the Eastern Conference on February 17.

Deng's selection isn't that surprising, given that the small forward made the team as a reserve last year and has been the Bulls' leading scorer in Derrick Rose's absence. Deng has averaged 17.4 points per game, while also grabbing 6.4 rebounds and dishing out 3.0 assists. Playing the heaviest minutes of any player in the NBA, Deng has nonetheless continued to be the Bulls' best defender.

For Noah, this year's All-Star selection is his first. The sixth-year center leads the team with 10.9 rebounds per game while scoring a career-best 12.2 points a night and serving up 4.0 assists. His defense and intensity on the court has also helped spur the Bulls to a surprising 25-16 record, without their best player and with an all new bench.

So did Carlos Boozer get snubbed?

The power forward is playing the best basketball of his three years with the Bulls. Boozer is second on the team in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 16.1 points and 9.9 rebounds. He also leads the Eastern Conference in double-doubles. But his defense isn't a strength. Ultimately, it would be hard to see three reserves being selected from a single team—especially when that team's best player isn't even on the All-Star roster. Were Rose healthy, he most certainly would have been voted into the starting line-up, and perhaps only one of the two chosen in Thursday would have been picked.

And while it will be exciting for Bulls fans to watch Deng and Noah play in the All-Star game, the first game after the break may be even more of a thrill. That may be when Derrick Rose finally returns to the court!