PHOENIX — Brandon Jennings, and to a lesser extent, Monta Ellis, are on the bubble in terms of potential players who could be named to the All-Star team as a reserve.
We discussed this on the podcast this week — once you get past Kyrie Irving, there really aren’t any locks to make the team based on performance this season. Multiple players have had above average seasons, but no one has been undeniable to the point where their exclusion from the midseason exhibition would be some kind of national outrage.
The two guards leading the way for the Bucks have every right to be included in the conversation, and not surprisingly, Milwaukee’s head coach Jim Boylan made the case for his guys before they faced the Suns on Thursday.
“There are a lot of good guards in the East, and sometimes that hurts people because you just run into a lot of numbers,” he said. “I think both guys are more than deserving of getting in, but it’s not for me to say because the other coaches have to do the voting.
“Hopefully, they see what those two guys have been able to do for us and how they’ve carried a major part of the load for us this year, on a team that’s in the playoffs right now,” Boylan said. “That should bear a lot of weight, as opposed to some of the teams that maybe aren’t in the same situation as we are.”
The playoff argument is a valid one, and might be a factor especially where Jrue Holiday is concerned.
Holiday has had a buzz surrounding him over the past couple of weeks, but he hasn’t been on the superstar level of Irving at any point, and with the Sixers struggling right now it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him overlooked by the coaches in the voting process.
That may open the door for one of the Bucks’ leading scorers to get in, but Jennings said he doesn’t think it’s going to happen for him this year.
“To be honest, probably not,” he said, when I asked him if he thought he had a shot at making the All-Star team. “For me personally, just the fact that [there are so many] point guards — you’ve got Kyrie Irving, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams — so a lot of it will be politics more than anything.
“But for Monta, yeah. For sure. He’s scoring a lot, and plus, we’re winning. We’re two games over .500, so if we just keep winning we’ll be fine.”
When told that perhaps the fact that his team being in the playoff picture might help his or Ellis’ chances, Jennings was a little bit skeptical.
“Well, that’s what they say,” Jennings cautioned. “That’s what they’ve always been saying. Even last year with my situation not being able to make it, we weren’t in the playoff race so that’s why I didn’t make it. Whatever happens, happens. I’m just happy that we’re winning and we’re still in the playoff race.”
Despite his personal opinion, Jennings does indeed have a shot. It’ll depend on whether or not the coaches vote in three guards to reserve spots as they’ve done in seasons past, or if instead they use the new frontcourt designation to add more players at the forward and center positions.
But given the talent in the East, and depending on how those roster spots are allocated, it’s at least possible that Jennings could make an appearance in Houston on February 17.