The Washington Times - January 8, 2009, 06:31PM

The announcement for the NBA’s All-star teams comes out in 21 days, and despite impressive numbers, it appears that Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison will be on the outside looking in. This is how the voting looks right now:



LeBron James leads with 1,940,162 votes, Kevin Garnett ranks second with 1,375,814 votes and Yi Jianlian of New Jersey ranks third with 1,216,348. After that it’s Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Hedo Turkoglu, Shawn Marion, Danny Granger, Josh Smith, Michael Beasley and Tayshaun Prince.

Yi Jianlian No. 3 out of all Eastern Conference forwards?!?!?! See this is the problem when you have fans — and in Yi and Yao’s case a whole country — controlling the votes.

Jamison and Butler are nowhere among the leaders. Crazy thing is Gilbert Arenas ranks sixth in fan votes at guard and Brendan Haywood ranks seventh among centers. Neither have played a minute this season.

Jamison and Butler’s numbers certainly are All-Star worthy. Only three forwards — LeBron James, Indiana’s Danny Granger and Chris Bosh — have better scoring averages than Jamison’s 20.9 points a game. And only three forwards — Indiana’s Troy Murphy, Elton Brand and Bosh — have pulled down more rebounds than Jamison’s 9.4 a game. Butler’s 20.6 points a game rank fifth among Eastern Conference scorers, his 4.5 assists and 1.7 steals each rank third, and his 6.4 rebounds rank 15th.


And Jamison on Wednesday just became the eighth active player to have 14,000 points and 6,000 rebounds, joining Tim Duncan, Shaq, KG, Rasheed Wallace, Jason Kidd, Dirk and Juwan Howard.

The numbers are a titch lower than last season when Jamison was averaging 21.1 points and 10.5 rebounds at the All-Star break, And Butler was averaging 21.9 points, 4.3 assists (his only category lower than this year) and 2.4 steals.

Last year the fans overlooked both, but the coaches included both. Could they do the same this year? Or will the Wizards’ worst-in-the-East record hurt Jamison and Butler?

Carmelo Anthony in 2006 was hurt by a losing record and missed the All-Star game despite averaging 26.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists. But Joe Johnson has made the All-Star game twice as an Eastern Conference pick despite his team having losing records.

It’ll be up to the coaches to put one or both on the team as was the case last year. I’d say both are deserving, and that’s not homer talk. The stats — other than that record — say so. We’ll have to wait and see …