Friday , Feb , 02 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Dwight and Josh Howard belong in the All-Star Game

(Sports Network) – Orlando’s Dwight Howard was one of seven players named as
a reserve to the Eastern Conference roster for this year’s All-Star Game,
which will be played on February 18th at Thomas Mack Center in Las Vegas. The
Magic’s star big man will be appearing in his first NBA mid-season classic.

Howard has been awesome for the Magic. He is the team’s leading scorer and
rebounder. The 21-year-old Howard, who is playing in just his third year in
the league, has elevated himself into on of the most intimidating, dominant
big men in the league. The 6-11 Howard is the cornerstone of the Orlando
franchise and belongs on the court with the elite in the NBA.

One of NBA’s rising stars with the last name of Howard got the recognition he
deserved.

However, Dallas’ Josh Howard was denied a spot on the Western Conference
squad, for now. There is still a chance that Josh Howard could be added to
the West roster, as Houston center Yao Ming, who was voted in as a starter by
the fans, is sidelined with a knee injury and is expected to miss the
contest. NBA Commissioner David Stern is responsible for selecting replacement
players.

Twenty-six-year-old Josh Howard is a big reason why the defending Western
Conference champion Mavericks are serious contender to return to the NBA
Finals and capture the franchise’s first-ever title. The athletic forward is
averaging career-highs in points and rebounds and has solidified himself as
one of the top small forwards in the game.

The starters were determined by the fans’ votes, while the 30 head coaches in
the NBA voted for the reserves in their respective conferences after the
starting players for each squad were finalized. The coaches were not
permitted to vote for players from their own team.

The Eastern Conference starting lineup consists of Miami’s Shaquille O’Neal at
center, Cleveland’s LeBron James and Toronto’s Chris Bosh at forward and
Washington’s Gilbert Arenas and Dwyane Wade of the Heat at guard.

Also on the East squad are Caron Butler of the Wizards, New Jersey’s Vince
Carter and Jason Kidd, Detroit’s Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton, and
Jermaine O’Neal of the Pacers.

For the Western Conference starting lineup, the fans voted in Yao at center,
Tim Duncan of the Spurs and Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett at forward and Tracy
McGrady of the Rockets and the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant at guard.

The reserves for the West include Allen Iverson of Denver, Carlos Boozer of
the Jazz, Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks, San Antonio’s Tony Parker and Shawn
Marion, Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire of the Suns,

Boozer, who is a first-time All-Star, is sidelined with hairline fracture in
his left leg, and like Yao will most likely miss the game.

Josh Howard, Carmelo Anthony and Marcus Camby of the Nuggets , Zach Randolph
of Portland and the Clippers’ Elton Brand are all deserving of serious
consideration to take an open spot on the West for an injured player. Anthony
is the league’s leading scorer, but the one thing that hurts him is that he
missed 15 games because of a suspension for his participation in the infamous
brawl on December 16th at Madison Square Garden.

The coaches for the Eastern Conference got it right. Ben Gordon of the Bulls,
New York’s Eddy Curry and Atlanta’s Joe Johnson are having excellent seasons.
But, all the reserves for the East were deserving, and there are only so many
spots to go around.

If there is one spot available on the West, Josh Howard deserves to get the
nod to play in his first-ever NBA All-Star game. Two spots, and there is no
doubt he should be in Las Vegas on February 18th.