NBA Preview: All-Star lineups they are a changin’

By By Jon Gilbert

By Jon Gilbert

“The line it is drawn, the curse it is cast. The slow one now will later be fast, as the present now will later be past. The order is rapidly fadin’. And the first one now will later be last, for the times they are a-changin’.”

It’s likely that Bob Dylan had other things on his mind besides the 2007-2008 NBA season when he wrote those words. Likely, but it’s debatable.

The likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson and Jason Kidd have dominated All-Star rosters in the last decade, but as Dylan said, “the times they are a-changin’.”

The East houses more stars than it ever has since Michael Jordan’s heyday. Once a conference with pickings so slim that the occasional Caron Butler (Washington-2007) and Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Atlanta-2002) slipped into the line-up, the new East will field legitimate All-Stars from top to bottom.

Kevin Garnett will fit nicely at center in the East. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock in Bangladesh for the past year (or you just got back from your mission yesterday), then that makes perfect sense to you.

Dwayne Wade will shake the injury bug, as well as defenders, to snag a starting guard spot alongside Gilbert Arenas. Man-child Chris Bosh is back for a second go-around as an All-Star, and it won’t be his last.

LeBron James (duh) fills out the starting lineup.

The most underappreciated player in the league on the most forgotten franchise will get his due. Michael Redd of the Milwaukee Bucks has one All-Star appearance (2004) to his credit, despite averaging more than 24 points per game for the past four seasons. Seriously, Redd is the definition of “snub.”

Ben Wallace will rebound his way back to New Orleans in February. But with his afro only receiving 400 votes, he will have to don cornrows.

Ray Allen will benefit from Garnett’s dominance in Boston, paving the way to three-point paradise and a spot on the East’s bench. He’ll ride the heralded pine with rising stars Dwight Howard and Luol Deng.

Rounding out the East will be Jermaine O’Neal and Rashard Lewis, who turned Super to Magic in the offseason.

The West will also be turned upside down.

Yao Ming replaces Garnett as center in the West, and Tim Duncan — who made reservations at his favorite New Orleans restaurant in June — resumes his forward spot.

Kobe Bryant always finds a way to make himself feel wrongly vilified — and it always works. In this season’s episode of “Woe is Kobe,” Bryant will convince himself that he is taking unnecessary flack for demanding a trade throughout the off-season, then throw up a record 25,000 shots and make 20 percent of them to become the scoring champion.

Carmelo Anthony will contend for the league high in points per game and embarrassing right hooks. Meanwhile, the viewing public will have to endure endless pictures of Tony Parker and Eva Longoria’s wedding and drastically embellished recounts of Parker’s NBA Finals MVP performance all season long. The media darling will round out the West starting lineup.

Deron Williams and Steve Nash, both of whom will probably be more deserving than Parker of a starting spot, will join their respective teammates Carlos Boozer and Amare Stoudemire on the bench.

Dirk Nowitzki and Baron Davis will also join the ranks along with first-timer Tyson Chandler.

All in all, many familiar faces will look odd in different jerseys. Who knew Dylan was such a basketball genius?

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