The NBA announced its 2011 NBA All-Star Game reserves Thursday night and, since Yao Ming won’t be available to play despite being voted in as a starter, it seems the Houston Rockets won’t be represented in the NBA All-Star Game on February 20.
The Rockets could possibly have had either forward Luis Scola or guard Kevin Martin chosen as a sort of make-good deal by the NBA coaches since Yao is out, but that didn’t happen. NBA commissioner David Stern could still choose either player as a replacement for Yao, but that seems unlikely as either Steve Nash or Kevin Love are seemingly the top choices for his selection.
Still, as SB Nation’s Evan Dunlap noted earlier today, both players did have semi-compelling cases to be voted in as All-Star reserves.
Scola has an interesting All-Star case, as he’s posting per-game averages of 19.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists on 50.3 percent shooting. In a lot of seasons, those numbers would probably get him into the game. But this season is not like a lot of seasons. Griffin (23 points, 12.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists), Aldridge (21.3 points, 9 rebounds), Love (21.4 points, a league-leading 15.5 rebounds), and Randolph (20 points, 13.2 rebounds) top Scola in scoring and rebounding, and while West has similar statistics to Scola (18.9 points, 7.4 rebounds), he has the bonus of playing for a New Orleans Hornets team which owns the Western Conference’s 5th-best record. Fairly or not, coaches have demonstrated a tendency to let team success factor into their All-Star picks, which further marginalizes Scola.
Martin faces a similar battle. Though not as balanced a player as Scola, Martin’s among the league’s most potent offensive players, scoring 23.1 points per game in just 31.2 minutes, while shooting 40.5 percent on three-pointers and 88.3 percent on free throws. But because he provides little production in other areas of the game, plays for a middling team, and doesn’t have the name recognition of the other players he’s battling for a roster spot, the odds of his earning an All-Star berth this year are quite slim.
Hope fully Yao makes it back healthy next year and returns to All-Star form.