A.I., ’Melo not worthy of All-Star team 

An interesting choice faces Western Conference coaches this week when they select reserves for the NBA All-Star Game. They have an opportunity to make a substance-over-style statement, a chance to do the equivalent of — using their parlance — "playing the right way."

Western Conference coaches should do the right thing and not include either Allen Iverson or Carmelo Anthony on any of their ballots. The West is littered with players more deserving than either one of the Denver duo.

The short of it is that coaches vote for sevenreserves — two guards, two forwards, a center and two others at any position. The league will announce the reserves Thursday.

If you hear that Iverson or Anthony has made the team, you’ll know that the coaches either weren’t paying attention or didn’t care enough to choose the most worthy players.

It seems almost a foregone conclusion that Steve Nash and Iverson will join Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady, the latter two voted in by the fans as backcourt starters. And that Dirk Nowitzki and Anthony are shoe-ins behind Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett at forward.


Iverson has played only 19 games for the Nuggets, fewer than half of the team’s total. In addition, although Iverson’s numbers are nice (27.1 points per game, 7.7 assists per game) the fact of the matter is that Denver is only 8-11 since he was traded from Philly.

It’s not Iverson’s fault that he was traded when he was, and that he’s only been in the conference for five or so weeks. But fair or not, he has yet to make an impact in the West and has no business playing in the All-Star Game.

Next up is Anthony, another player the coaches should leave off their list. Anthony was an All-Star lock until he was suspended for 15 games for his role in the Dec. 16 brawl at Madison Square Garden.

Anthony has since returned, but, unfortunately, he’s missed more than a third of the season. That’s too many to be an All-Star. Chris Paul, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom are in the same boat, too. Sorry.

And let’s be honest. The sucker-punch shouldn’t help. Anthony is a great player. He made a mistake and seems sincere about earning back his reputation. But what’s right is right; he should sit this one out.

Should three Phoenix Suns players — Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion — make it onto the Western Conference team? Is Utah’s Deron Williams deserving? Will Dallas’ Josh Howard be recognized? Will San Antonio’s subtle dropoff diminish Tony Parker and/or Manu Ginobili’s prospects? Can you make a case for the Warriors’ Baron Davis?

What about Elton Brand and Mehmet Okur and even Zach Randolph?

All of those names are worthy of discussion. So long as Anthony and Iverson aren’t part of it.

Matt Steinmetz is the NBA insider for Warriors telecasts on Fox Sports Net.

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