Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Joakim Noah and Luol Deng were both named to the Eastern Conference All-Star Team on Thursday night. This is Noah's first ever All-Star Game and Deng's second straight.
As I sort of expected, Bulls center Joakim Noah was selected to the 2013 Eastern Conference All-Star Team. What I didn't expect was that Luol Deng will be joining him for his second straight All-Star appearance.
While Noah's averages of 12.2 points and 10.9 rebounds on 45.3 percent shooting are none too gaudy, it's his defense and intangibles that make him a fine choice. He's the anchor of the Bulls' stingy defense, and should definitely be a top candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. Jo has taken on so much more responsibility this season with the loss of Omer Asik plus the suckage of Nazr Mohammed.
Noah's desperation save to Marco Belinelli in the waning moments of the win over the Pistons last night is a perfect example of all the little things (in that situation, a BIG thing) Noah does to help the Bulls win. Just a pure hustle play that not many other players in the league would make. His general excellence this season is a major reason the Bulls are on a 50-win pace even without Derrick Rose. A most deserved first All-Star selection.
As mentioned, Deng was a more surprising choice, although he probably deserved it more this year than last. There are many who think Brook Lopez should have made it instead, especially considering the Nets are the third-best team in the East and got shut out of the game. But too bad for them.
Unfortunately for Carlos Boozer, he was left off. That's not shocking at all considering he stunk it up the first couple of months before coming on strong in January. Hard to give somebody an All-Star berth based on three weeks of good play.