By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 12, 2008
The NBA released the first all-star voting returns yesterday and neither Washington's Caron Butler nor Antawn Jamison rank among the top 11 vote-getters among Eastern Conference starters at forward.
That's not a huge surprise given that the fan voting favors big-name stars and, in the case of New Jersey's Yi Jianlian, players with huge overseas followings. But it also doesn't help that the Wizards entered last night's game with a 4-15 record.
Last season, Butler and Jamison were named to the East squad as reserves in part because they helped the Wizards stay competitive despite the absence of injured guard Gilbert Arenas.
Despite the slow start by their team, Butler and Jamison are again putting up all-star caliber numbers.
They entered last night's game as the league's highest-scoring forward tandem (42.7 points per game), Butler was averaging career highs in scoring (22.5 points per game) and field goal percentage (48 percent), and Jamison was tied for second among forwards with 13 double-doubles. That puts Jamison on pace to match his career high of 44 double-doubles, which he set last season.
The top 11 vote-getters among East forwards are Cleveland's LeBron James, Boston's Kevin Garnett, Jianlian, Toronto's Chris Bosh, Boston's Paul Pierce, Miami's Shawn Marion, Atlanta's Josh Smith, Detroit's Tayshaun Prince, Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu, Indiana's Danny Granger and Miami's Michael Beasley.
Arenas, who has yet to play this season, ranks 11th among East guards.
Orlando center Dwight Howard leads all players in the voting, followed by Kobe Bryant and James.
Starters for the Feb. 15 game in Phoenix will be announced Jan. 22 and reserves, who are selected by the conference's head coaches, will be announced Jan. 29.