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Old 01-17-2003, 10:35 AM   #1
MavKikiNYC
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This isn't a joke--Chaney's actually pushing for Thomas on the All-Star team. Eastern Conference center play is at an all-time low.

DON: NO DOUBT,
KURT'S A STAR

By MARK HALE


January 17, 2003 -- Three weeks from now, somebody will head to the NBA All-Star Game as the East's backup center.
Don Chaney believes that somebody should be Kurt Thomas.

"He's earned it," the Knick coach said. "He's really made an unbelievable turnaround in terms of improvement and I'd like to see him reap the benefits of being an All-Star.

"I think he deserves to be on it. I really do."

Sure, it might sound crazy. After all, Thomas is a solid and perhaps underrated player, but his name hardly screams "All-Star."

What's more, on the undersized Knicks, the 6-9 Thomas is only a center by default.

Still, when you look at his pivot competition, after Ben Wallace, the league's top rebounder and the soon-to-be-elected starter, it's tough to find a standout. That may say more about the state of East centers than anything else, but it's the case either way.

Here's the situation: The usual suspects are either ailing (Alonzo Mourning), injured (Dikembe Mutombo) or playing another position (Jermaine O'Neal).

So, essentially there are three contenders for the spot: Indiana's Brad Miller, Cleveland's Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Thomas. Each can make a claim to the league's coaches who vote on the reserves.

Among the trio, Miller is first in shooting (52 percent from the field), second in rebounding (8.2 rpg) and third in scoring (14.2 ppg).

Maybe Chaney's biased, but he's lobbying for his man.

"I'm not taking anything away from those guys," Chaney said. "But I think Kurt's had a great year. Miller's had a pretty good year and his team has had a good year.

"But because I work with Kurt every day, my vote would be for Kurt."

Even so, Thomas is a definite longshot. Miller plays on a division-leader, while the 7-3 Ilgauskas gives the East a better matchup against West goliaths Yao Ming and Shaquille O'Neal.

Of course, it's also possible that none will make the cut if the coaches opt to forgo a backup center for an extra guard or forward.

After all, it is an exhibition and the idea is to honor the best players. And with all due respect to Thomas, would anyone argue that he's more deserving than, say, Baron Davis? Or Kenyon Martin? Or, for that matter, Allan Houston?

Thomas says he hasn't even thought about the honor, insisting he's concerned only with helping his team. Still, he admits it'd be special to receive that kind of recognition.

"It'd be great," he said. "It's what we play for, to make it to an All-Star game at least once and also to win a championship at least once."
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Old 01-17-2003, 11:51 AM   #2
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He's no All-Star..

...but I would still like to see him in a Mav uniform.
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Old 01-17-2003, 01:27 PM   #3
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in the east, he should make a significant push to be an all-star...what other centers are there in the east that have had as good of a year as he has? not very many...miller?
not saying thomas is going to make it..because he probably won't. but, he should receive consideration
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Old 01-17-2003, 01:53 PM   #4
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im sorry but have of out second line up could be an eastern all-star.
you have to make the seperation between East and West here.
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