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Al Horford, Joe Johnson Named to All-Star Team: (Updated)

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There will be time for more thorough analysis later and tomorrow, especially about Joe's inclusion, Al repeat recognition, and Josh's absence, but for now---you're on the clock---what do you think?

(Kris - 8:20 AM Update)

Al Horford - Simply put Horford had to be on the team. In my opinion he is the most deserving Hawks player not only putting up solid numbers but doing the little things that help you win basketball games. We talk about wanting him to play the power forward position a lot but the truth is he is one of the best centers in the Eastern Conference. 

Joe Johnson - Sometimes I think Johnson's greatness gets lost in Atlanta fans frustrations over playoff failures, some ill-advised Johnson comments, and one huge contract. Johnson is an excellent player and has shown that over the last month when he has been lights out now that he is fully healthy. Makes you wonder how long something had been wrong with the elbow. Even with the injury, I think his selection by the coaches shows the respect that Johnson has around the league. When opposing teams play the Hawks they still create their entire defensive game plan around Joe Johnson. 

Josh Smith - I would have loved to have seen Smith on this stage. The reality is I feel that Atlanta was lucky to get two players considering they are fourth in the conference and seven players came off of the top two teams. Smith is a key part of the Hawks successes but it seems he will have to once again use this snub as motivation for the remainder of the season. 

Full Release from Hawks PR Department

For the second straight season, the Atlanta Hawks will have two players on the All-Star team, as the NBA announced this evening that guard Joe Johnson and center Al Horford have been named as reserves to the 2011 NBA Eastern Conference All-Star squad.  The game takes place on Sunday, February 20 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA, with coverage on TNT and ESPN Radio beginning at 7 p.m.

 

“It means a great deal to me to be selected as an All-Star again,” said Johnson.  “I can’t thank my coaches and teammates, as well as the organization, enough for helping to put me in this position.”

 

Averaging 20.6 ppg, 5.5 apg and 4.2 rpg (.450 FG%, .806 FT%) in 40 starts, Johnson is the first Hawk to reach five consecutive All-Star games since Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins was named to nine straight All-Star games from 1986-94.  A 10-year veteran, Johnson ranks 12th in the NBA in assist/turnover ratio (2.93) and leads the team in ppg, apg and FGM.  He has returned to his All-Star level after missing nine games earlier this season due to right elbow surgery, and produced an outstanding month of January performances by averaging 26.0 ppg (fourth in the NBA), while shooting .504 FG% (averaging over 10 made FGs per game), .354 3FG% and .823 FT%.

 

“I’m thrilled to be going back to the All-Star Game and I am proud to represent the entire Atlanta Hawks organization,” Horford said.  “Last year was an unbelievable experience and it’s an honor for me to be selected again.”

 

In his fourth season, Horford has started 47 contests, and is averaging 16.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 3.6 apg and 1.1 bpg (.567 FG%, .813 FT%).  One of the top all-around rebounders in the league, the Hawks center ranks seventh in rpg, tied for fifth in def. rpg (7.3) and tied for 19th in off. rpg (2.5).  He is also fifth in the NBA in FG% and tied for 25th in bpg, while recording 24 double-doubles (seventh in the league).  Horford has been a part of All-Star weekend each of his four years, participating in the Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam in 2008 and 2009, before playing in his first NBA All-Star game last season.