When Knicks coach Mike D'Antonio faced the media before Thursday night's game against Toronto, he wasn't asked the usual questions. He wasn't quizzed about what it would take to stop Chris Bosh. He wasn't peppered with queries about Nate Robinson or EddyCurry's health. And he wasn't asked about the prickly Larry Hughes.
No, on Thursday the only player anyone wanted to talk about was David Lee. Specifically why Lee, the Knicks' energetic power forward, was left off the Eastern Conference All-Star roster.
So, Mike, do you think David deserved to be an All-Star?
Hey Mike, why do you think David wasn't selected as an All-Star?
Uh, Mike, what does David have to do to become an All-Star?
D'Antoni, undoubtedly, won't be the only coach asked these questions over the next week. Because for every smiling All-Star there is an equally annoyed snub. Let's take a look at a few who have a right to be upset.
Chris Kaman, L.A. ClippersStats: 20.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, 50.1 FG percentage
The Clippers have been far from world-beaters -- L.A.'s 20-25 record has it a distant 12th in the Western Conference -- but imagine where they would be without Kaman, who assumed the role of primary post scorer when Zach Randolph was traded and rookie Blake Griffin hurt his knee in the preseason. Kaman will never be Dwight Howard; he may never be as good as his frontcourt mate Marcus Camby was in his prime. But to omit him for Pau Gasol, who has played only 29 games this season (compared to Kaman's 41) is a pretty significant slight.
Marc Gasol, MemphisStats: 15.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, 60.4 FG percentage
Randolph -- deservedly -- gets a lot of credit for Memphis' turnaround. But Gasol, who dropped 10 percent of his body fat in the offseason, is the most intimidating force on the Grizzlies' front line. He leads the team in plus/minus and is swatting away 1.6 shots per game. It would have been difficult for coaches to vote for two Grizzlies players and one Laker, but in this case, the coaches selected the wrong Gasol.
David Lee, New YorkStats: 19.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 55.4 FG percentage
Swap New York's record with Charlotte's and Lee probably gets in. But the Knicks' 1-9 start (not to mention last Sunday's 50-point blowout loss to Dallas) probably stuck in the minds of a few coaches. Still, there is no question Lee is deserving. His numbers are better than GeraldWallace's and his field goal percentage is at a three-year high, noteworthy considering Lee has relied more on his jump shot this season than ever before.
Josh Smith, AtlantaStats: 15.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.2 blocks
Of all of Smith's numbers, his case for All-Star selection can be made with one: three, as in number of three-point attempts Smith has attempted this season. His more controlled play has been a key reason why the Hawks look more dangerous than ever, and his Camby-like defense has opponents looking over their shoulders every time they drive the paint. Is Smith having a better season than Wallace or Paul Pierce? It's debatable.
Andrew Bogut, MilwaukeeStats: 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.1 blocks
It's worth noting at this point that none of the All-Star reserves came from teams with losing records. Milwaukee isn't a playoff team, but its 19-25 record is competitive enough that Bogut has an argument that he is a more worthy candidate than Al Horford. Bogut's numbers are better and he is the biggest reason the Bucks have withstood MichaelRedd's season-ending knee injury and BrandonJennings' shooting struggles to remain in contention for a playoff spot.
Joakim Noah, ChicagoStats: 11.3 points, 12.1 rebounds, 1.7 blocks
The argument for Noah is the same as Bogut's: Where would the Bulls be without him? Noah's intensity on the floor -- you won't see him take too many plays off -- and outstanding rebounding (he's third in the NBA in offensive boards) make him the heart and soul of a Bulls team that occasionally looks devoid of both. Again, team records likely came into play when coaches were ranking backup centers.
Andrew Bynum, L.A. LakersStats: 15.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 57.2 FG percentage
Think Bynum looks across the Lakers' locker room and wonders how voters can think Pau Gasol has had a more productive season than he has? I do. While Gasol has been in and out of the lineup with injuries, Bynum has been a rock. He is averaging career highs in points (15.8) and rebounds (8.4), he is shooting 57.2 percent from the field and he ranks in the top 15 in the league in total blocks (70).