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Thursday, January 28, 2010
All Star nods: Pau Gasol in, Andrew Bynum out

By Brian Kamenetzky

Thursday afternoon, one thing became abundantly clear: NBA coaches don't pay much attention to Chris Kaman.

The Clippers center, who recently expressed strongly his feelings on who should and shouldn't make this year's NBA All Star team (I'll let you guess what category in which he placed himself), was left in the cold when the Western Conference reserves were announced this afternoon.

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Pau Gasol is heading to his second All Star Game as a Laker. Andrew Bynum is still looking for his first... but at least he can pal around with Chris Kaman that weekend if he'd like.



As for Pau Gasol, how do you say "punch that ticket!" in Spanish?

The Lakers forward/center made the roster despite missing hamstring injuries costing him 17 of the team's 46 games and the criticism of his candidacy from Captain Caveman. At least Kaman can take solace in knowing he wasn't aced out by both the Spaniard and Andrew Bynum.  After a fast start to the season with Gasol on the sidelines, a well-publicized December slump and quiet showings in high profile January games against Orlando and Cleveland likely cost him a spot on the squad.

Given the other forwards named to the team- Dirk Nowitzki, Zach Randolph, Kevin Durant- it's hard for Bynum to complain all that much. And as Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles points out, while the "snub" may disappoint him, the Lakers might be better off with the angry, chip-on-shoulder Bynum. He was very motivated to make the team, now he'll have the rest of the year to show deserved it. As for Gasol, the NBA coaches responsible for naming the reserves clearly valued his value over total contributions. The Lakers are 24-5 with him on the floor, 11-6 when he's not. But while I'm a huge fan of Gasol's work and believe he's painfully underutilized on this Lakers team, 17 games missed amounts to almost 37% of the season, if my cell phone calculator is accurate. That's no joke. (Well, the part about the calculator is a joke, but the missed time isn't.)

He's an all-star talent, but probably shouldn't be in this year's All Star Game.