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Josh Howard Still Has a Chance

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So Josh Howard isn't an All-Star, for now...

There is still a very real chance that the NBA league office selects Howard, as well as Carmelo Anthony, as injury replacements. Marc Stein agrees and explains why.

I'm not quite sure how West coaches conspired to omit Josh Howard and Carmelo Anthony from their seven-man reserve roster -- nor can I explain how the Mavs have two All-Stars fewer than Phoenix and one fewer than San Antonio -- but don't forget that David Stern has two West replacements to name now that Carlos Boozer has joined Yao Ming on the list of injured unavailables.

The Commish, then, doesn't have to make the agonizing choice between Mark Cuban's guy and the guy he just suspended for 15 games for one reserve spot.

Stern will have the privilege of righting two wrongs and shattering some myths about his vindictive side.

By picking Howard, who has to be in Vegas with Dallas possessing the league's best record, Stern can show everyone that they're crazy if they think that his years of clashes with Cuban would factor into this kind of decision.

The Mavs have also been denied too long. After teams that won 58 and 60 games only generated one All-Star in Dirk Nowitzki, shouldn't a 38-9 team -- on pace to finish 66-16 -- finally get a second All-Star?

With West coaches selecting Amare Stoudemire on their own, meaning Stern needn't worry about replacing Yao with a center, I'm calling it the safest bet in Vegas at the minute: Stern will name Howard and Anthony to the West squad.
He's right on all accounts. Howard HAS to be there.

With two replacements to be named here are the Commissioner's options. Two of those seven players will be in Vegas.
  • Mehmet Okur: A definite possibility. With Boozer out, Stern may feel like the Utah Jazz need a representative at the game. Unfortunately for Okur, he isn't as good as the other options and with the coaches selecting Amare Stoudemire there is no need to select another center.
  • Elton Brand: He's having another great season (21 and 9), but he hasn't been as good as last year, and his team has been far worse. A solid pick but not a sexy one.
  • Manu Ginobili: He's actually been better than teammate Tony Parker this season, who is already on the All-Star roster. There's no way Stern takes a third Spur. Right?
  • Zach Randolph: Same thing as Brand - great numbers (24 and 10) but on the Trailblazers. Also working against Randolph is the fact that he's Zach Randolph.
  • Ray Allen: Did you know Ray Allen is averaging a career high in points at 26.6? Well he is, and he still won't make team. Not only does he play for Seattle, but it's unlikely he'll select a SG to replace a PF and C.
  • Carmelo Anthony: The league leader in points at the break has never missed the All-Star game, and Anthony currently holds that title at 31.3. He's also the biggest name on the list. David Stern would have to be quite a dick to snub Anthony, who has never been named an All-Star.
  • Josh Howard: He's the second best player on the best team in the league and is averaging 7 rebounds and almost 20 points a game. He's arguably the best defender on the list as well. Working against Howard: four of the players on this list have better stats and Stern may want to select PF's over SF's since that's who he is replacing.
To me, Howard and Anthony shouldn't even be in this position. I'd take them both over Marion and Tony Parker any day. It's not up to me though; it's all in Stern's hands now...