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Winderman: All-Star reserves show things still deeper out West

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Thursday’s lesson is simple and to the point.

West? Good.

East? Not so good.

Granted All-Star selections are subjective. But after the All-Star reserves were announced Thursday night for the Eastern Conference, there sort of was a shrug, a “that’s about right” reaction. No righteous indignation.

One can only muster so much outrage over the omissions of Raymond Felton, Josh Smith, Carlos Boozer or Andrew Bogut. To be honest, what David Stern has to be hoping is that none of the 12 players selected in the East get hurt between now and All-Star Sunday. (And that if someone is, that Joakim Noah might be able to make it back in time to round out the East roster.)

Out West, Stern still has one selection to make to replace sidelined Yao Ming. We assume it has to be Kevin Love. But that means no LaMarcus Aldridge, no Lamar Odom, no Tony Parker, no Steve Nash. (We were a bit surprised that in such a competitive field Tim Duncan received a lifetime-achievement selection.)

Perspective? Consider that the East-leading Celtics received four selections and no one blinked at berths for Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

Yet San Antonio has been even more dominant in the West and received only berths for Manu Ginobili and Duncan, with Parker on the outside.

Then consider that the Heat, second-best in the East, merited three selections, with Chris Bosh added to starters LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

The Lakers, second best in the West, have only Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

Out West, Stern needs another injury or two to make things right, and that’s not even getting into Monta Ellis, who assuredly is out of any running.

With the Knicks teetering, we’re looking at an Eastern Conference that could have only five winning teams at season’s end, with two particularly putrid playoff entrants.

Fortunately, the East All-Star team is very much like the conference itself, top heavy, with legitimate, competitive talent. The East could win in Staples, just like the Celtics or Heat could be the last team left standing in June.

But Thursday was about who was left out, and that left plenty of quality candidates in the West feeling a cold shoulder.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.