It’s a big day for David Lee! Today it was announced that Kobe Bryant (due to injury) and Allen Iverson (who missed the last 5 games to be with his sick daughter) will be unable to play in the All-Star Game this weekend. As a result, the NBA commissioner, David Stern, chose Jason Kidd as a replacement for the West, and our very own David Lee for the East! As ESPN reports:
Lee is averaging 20 points and 11.4 rebounds and becomes the Knicks’ first All-Star since Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell in 2001. Stern chose Lee over Milwaukee center Andrew Bogut, who is averaging 16.0 points and 10.2 rebounds and has helped lead the Bucks to within a game of a playoff spot in the East.
Many do think that Bogut could be the second best official “center” in the East (I use quotes ‘cuz like Chris Bosh wants to be called a power forward, much like Tim Duncan always has, but he should be considered a center). However, Bogut started off the season slow and injured and has only come on recently. Surely, David Lee’s consistent excellence (particularly in the face of such adversity as the Knicks have gone through) makes him a much easier choice.
I’m actually shocked that Atlanta’s Josh Smith wasn’t chosen (or even mentioned in that article). The growth in Smith’s game (along with the addition of former Knick Jamal Crawford) has been widely heralded as the reason why the Hawks have made the jump from slightly above average to potential contender. My guess is that since there are already two Hawks on the All-Star Team (which wrongly includes their center Al Horford), that’s part of the reason Smoove got the shaft. Plus, Stern loves the major market of New York, so the potential of getting all those fans interested seems like a pretty strong pull too. And again, that major market is another huge plus in Lee’s favor over Milwaukee’s Bogut. Anyway, one thing’s for certain: initial reports that Stern only chose Lee because they have the same first name have proven to be false.
Congrats, big guy.