Is Deng an All-Star? Not without Help

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Byline: Mike McGraw

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was on the verbal campaign trail this weekend, offering the opinion that Luol Deng is having an all-star season.

The timing was perfect, because Deng had a nice weekend. On Friday, he outscored Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu 24-1 in the second half. Then he produced 19 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds against Indiana's Danny Granger.

Considering the Bulls' 33-14 record, no one should question Thibodeau's basketball knowledge right now. So does Deng deserve a spot among the Eastern Conference reserves?

The East isn't exactly overflowing with all-star candidates. It would reasonable to suggest four Boston Celtics among the seven subs.

Here's an odd fact about the NBA: Of the current top 25 scorers, only eight play in the Eastern Conference. There are the five all-star starters, plus three guys who barely even deserve all-star consideration -- Toronto's Andrea Bargnani, New Jersey's Brook Lopez and Granger. Maybe if one of those guys could find a way to average 6 rebounds per game, it would be different.

The obvious East reserves are Boston's Paul Pierce (18.9 points), Rajon Rondo (12.5 assists) and Ray Allen (17.1 points, .452 3-point percentage), along with New York guard Raymond Felton (17. …