The NBA All-Star starters were announced Thursday night. On January 30th, the coaches' choices for the reserves will be announced on TNT. But the TNT crew got a head start before the Lakers-Heat game with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Shaquile O'Neal Grant Hill and long-suffering Ernie Johnson offering predictions.
Sir Charles, Kenny the Jet and Shaq all had Joe Johnson on their lists for East reserves. Ernie didn't and Grant, unhappy with the state of the East in general, only pick six reserves.
Kenny was the most enthusiastic about Joe Jesus getting the nod from coaches, practically shouting, "Joe Johnson is a lock!" Those on the crew supporting Johnson's bid for a seventh All-Star spot cited how he has carried the Nets in recent weeks and how the Nets are now moving up into playoff contention after a miserable start.
If the coaches don't go along, and there's an injury to an Eastern Conference starter, David Stern gets to make the choice.
Not everyone will agree with Sir Charles, Kenny the Jet and Shaq. It will be, as it always is, contentious, but we have to think Frank Vogel, likely to be the All-Star Game coach of the East, would want a guy like Joe Jesus who knows just what to do when the final clock ticks down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 in a close one. Every coach does.
The 2014 NBA All-Star Game is set to tip on Sunday, February 16th at New Orleans Arena.