On Thursday night it was announced that Brooklyn Nets guard/forward Joe Johnson will be a member of the Eastern Conference All-Star team this season. For Johnson, this will be his seventh All-Star game appearance.
Though it has certainly not been his best season, Johnson has maybe been the Nets most consistent player throughout the year and their best player during their recent hot streak. For the month of January, when the Nets have gone 10-2, he's averaged 16.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and has been hitting on 45.6% of his shots. He also hit a game-winner against the Oklahoma City Thunder during that stretch.
Johnson's latest All-Star selection now gives Nets players a total of 37 All-Star selections: Kevin Garnett has been selected 15 times, Paul Pierce 10 times, Johnson seven times, Deron Williams three times and Andrei Kirilenko and Brook Lopez each once.
His selection was somewhat surprising, although it's definitely understandable. Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors, Lance Stephenson from the Indiana Pacers and Arron Afflalo from the Orlando Magic all could have made the team. Lowry has been terrific this season averaging 16.8 points, 7.6 assists and 4.3 boards as he and DeMar DeRozan have led the Raptors to the top of the Atlantic Division. However, the Raptors are just 24-21 and coaches may have thought that they did not deserve to have two All-Stars, thus picking just DeRozan to represent Toronto. For Afflalo, he's averaging 20 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists but his Magic are just 12-35.
Stephenson is one of the biggest omissions. He's turning into a complete all-around player that's been arguably the second best player this season on the team with best record in the NBA. He's averaging 14.2 points per game, 7.1 boards and 5.3 assists while shooting 50% from the field. His blocks and steals don't show it but he is a terrific one-on-one defender. The fourth-year pro out of Cincinnati also leads the NBA with four triple-doubles on the season.
The fact of the matter is that the Nets got hot at the right time for Johnson to make his seven All-Star appearance. If the Nets were still struggling or had just a .500 record through January, it's not likely that Eastern Conference coaches would have voted him in. But things have changed and he's been their best player not only through this stretch but throughout the season. That is why he made the team.
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