There weren’t too many surprises when the NBA All-Star rosters were announced on TNT Thursday night for the Eastern Conference. Two Celtics, two Heat, and one Knick.
Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett earned starting nods, joining Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
Rondo, 26, is leading the NBA with 11.2 assists per game as he earned his fourth straight All-Star appearance. He said before Thursday’s practice that was honored to be voted in by the fans because he considers himself an entertainer. Rondo received 924,180 votes.
Garnett, 36, is having another solid year, averaging 14.6 points and 7 rebounds per game. It’s his 15th All-Star team. After earning All-Star status from 2000-2011, Garnett was left off the roster last season. He’s tied for second all-time with 15 All-Star appearances.
“I don’t actually know what that means,” coach Doc Rivers said at Thursday’s practice. “I know it’s good. It’s always good when you have players in the All-Star Game. I’d rather have more rest, personally. But especially for Kevin – Rondo is great – but for Kevin, at this point in his career – I don’t think he made it last year if I’m not mistaken – and now he’s going to make it this year. That tells you a lot about him.”
Speaking on TNT NBA Tip-off, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal said Garnett, who received 553,222 votes, the least among the 10 starters, didn’t deserve the honor this year.
“I love Kevin Garnett, but he’s not having an All-Star year,” Barkley said. “It’s not fair to Tyson Chandler. He should be starting in the All-Star Game.”
Chandler is averaging 12.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game for the Knicks as the NBA’s sixth-best rebounder this season.
“Tyson Chandler should be starting,” O’Neal said. “[Garnett] is older now. He’s slowing down. Even though he’s averaging 15 [points per game], he doesn’t look like the Kevin Garnett of old. In my mind, he’s not playing like an All-Star.
“It’s a political system. Yao Ming was never better than me, but he was always voted as a starter.”
Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin earned starting nods for the Western Conference.
The All-Star Game is Feb. 17 in Houston.