Lowe's Stars: Pierce in, KG out

January, 22, 2013
1/22/13
1:00
PM ET
Grantland's Zach Lowe offers his All-Star ballot (ignoring the fan-voted starters) and suggests that Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce are the two most deserving players for Boston. First, his case for Pierce as a reserve:
If Boston deserves a second All-Star, Pierce is a fine choice. He continues to evolve as his individual explosiveness declines. He's working off screens more now as a catch-and-shoot player who doesn't need much space to fire off a 3-pointer — a shot Pierce has taken, and hit, more often as he's aged. He's also a useful secondary distributor in high pick-and-rolls (including a killer combination with Rondo), when he catches after jetting off a Garnett screen at the elbow, and in a developing two-man game with Jason Terry. Best of all, Pierce has become a brainy defender in all senses — a borderline All-Defense talent who keeps his feet and always knows where to be in Boston's scheme.

And why he wouldn't have Garnett in Houston:
[Garnett] is absolutely a worthy choice — a wonderful player who can still hit mid-range jumpers, fire whip-smart interior passes, post up when Boston needs it, set monster (illegal) screens, and play some of the best team defense in the world. Boston's defense just folds when he hits the bench... But he's logging just 29.8 minutes per game, his rebounding and individual defense have slipped just slightly, and he's not a "throw me the damn ball" offensive force on a night-to-night basis anymore. His Player Efficiency Rating of 18.4, while still excellent, would be his lowest since 1996-97.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
18.4 2.0 1.2 35.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.4
AssistsR. Rondo 10.7
StealsR. Rondo 1.7
BlocksJ. Sullinger 0.9