Wahoo! Gil to start!

Wizards Insider has the scoop.  

Apparently, the Gilbert Arenas marketing project (the party, the the blog), has paid off, as Arenas made up 200,000 votes in about two weeks to pass Vince Carter and join Dwayne Wade in the all-star starting lineup.


The Takeover continues! (AP)

Obviously, the fans have made the right decision, as Arenas has clearly been a better player than Carter this season.  He's clearly one of the 5 best players in the conference, and it would have been a crime if he wasn't starting.  

The more interesting question is whether Arenas starting will have any impact on Caron Butler's all-star candidacy.  Ivan Carter says that it will.

Gilbert starting also all but guarantees that Caron Butler will be selected as as a reserve by the East coaches though Arenas learned how that can go last season when he was passed over by the coaches and had to be picked by Stern. Butler deserves it. Those of you who have been reading this blog since training camp may remember that one of my predictions was Butler making the All Star team. He came to camp in the best shape of his life and has consistently played great ball all season. Also, is there a chance that Antawn Jamison will be added?

Think about it. Michael Redd and Paul Pierce are out so there are seven spots open and only, as I see it, a few locks: Butler, Jermaine O'Neal, Dwight Howard, Rip Hamilton and either Jason Kidd or Carter. Can the Nets get two with a losing record? Should they? How about Joe Johnson? Maybe Detroit's Chauncey Billups or a player from the Bulls? But which Bull? Antawn may have a shot, especially if the Wiz go into Feb. 4 with the East's best record and Eddie Jordan gets to coach the game.

Meanwhile, ESPN's John Hollinger continues to argue against Butler, claiming that David Lee (that's right, David Lee) deserves to be an all-star before Butler.  

In fact, the main frontcourt rival to [Emeka] Okafor in my mind isn't Butler or [Luol] Deng -- it's New York's David Lee. Absolutely nobody is talking about him for an All-Star berth, but put his numbers side by side with any of these other forwards and tell me why he doesn't belong. He's shooting 60.6 percent from the floor, and despite playing only 30 minutes a game he ranks seventh in the NBA in rebounding, right ahead of Duncan.

Umm...yeah.  David Lee has been a pleasant surprise, and Isaiah Thomas should play him more, but come on now.  You're telling me David Lee should be an all-star over Caron Butler?  Butler beats him in practically every category.  You could extrapolate Lee's numbers for 40 minutes, but there's no guarantee he'd rebound at the same rate with extended minutes.  Butler is playing the minutes, and playing them extremely well.  That's all the information you can use here.

Still, Butler is by no means a certainty.  I don't agree with Carter that he is now that Arenas is on the team.  I don't see any relation; the coaches still select the team independently of the starters.  Butler's candidacy will go right down to the wire, and while I certainly would put him on the team, he's going to have to beat out a similarly deserving candidate.  

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