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Three Celtics+Two Hawks+One Cavs=No Respect for Cleveland?

Every year, I look forward to seeing who NBA coaches pick to fill the rosters of the All-Star teams. While fan voting shows who's the most popular players in the league, the reserve list reveals who the coaches and other insiders believe are the real deal. Almost all of these players come from contending teams and show who are the real forces to be reckoned with in the final push to the playoffs. This year's reserve list reveals nothing surprising about how the NBA views the Eastern conference.

For those of you who haven't seen the official results, two players from the Atlanta Hawks, Al Horford and Joe Johnson, and two players from the Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce, were selected to join the likes of Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett and LeBron James in this year's All-Star game. Notably absent from the list is anyone other than LeBron from the Cleveland Cavaliers, despite the fact that they currently possess the best record in the league.

I don't think these picks surprise anyone. Most analysts still believe that the Boston Celtics are the team to beat in the East and that Atlanta is a serious contender for the conference title. And of course, most insiders believe that Cleveland is a one trick pony whose hopes and dreams firmly rest with a player whose name begins with a “L” and ends in a “eBron James”. They think that Mo Williams will be unreliable during crunch time and that Shaquille O'Neal is a hindrance to the team and that the rest of the team are simply hanging on the coattails of LeBron's success. Hell, there's plenty of people who are so caught up daydreaming about where LeBron will go next year that they could care less about how the Cavs are doing now.

As a diehard Cleveland fan, I'm okay with this perception of the Cavs. Let the world have a skewed perception of our strengths and our weaknesses. Let the analysts think that our offense begins and ends with LeBron and let them think that Shaq can't still hang with the best big men in the league. Let them think that the rest of our team are glorified role players who can't step up when the time is needed. After all, it's not like we have three of the best perimeter shooters in the league, two of the best defenders in the league, the reigning MVP and more inside presence than you can shake a Shaqtus at.

So let Atlanta and Boston and Los Angeles have their multiple All-Stars. We'll see if Joe Johnson or Al Horford can help the Hawks avoid getting swept out of the playoffs or if Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce's knees hold up to the end of the season. The Cavs will keep doing what they do best: winning games. And when the playoffs roll around, we'll see who the real All-Stars are.

Christian Hoffer


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