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(Almost) Everybody loves a winner

If you think the folks here in DC are up in arms about Gilbert Arenas being left off the EC All-Stars in favor of Rip Hamilton, think again. Perhaps they were withholding their rage until after David Stern named Jermaine O'Neal's injury replacement (rumored to be Arenas), but for the most part, sentiments on sports talk radio here are similar to those of Michael Lee of the Washington Post, who recently wrote the following:

Hamilton isn't scoring like Gilbert Arenas or Michael Redd but it's not like he can't. He is averaging a career-high 22 points and he is doing it in the more efficient manner than his shooting guard competitors, with fewer attempts (17.5) and more connections (50.1 percent). Of course, Hamilton also has the luxury of not having to carry a team on a nightly basis, but how can the leading scorer on the league's best team get slighted? C'mon.

There seems to be an (almost) prevailing sense--as Jeff Van Gundy mentioned last week--that winning teams should be celebrated and rewarded at the All-Star game. Here's a sampling of what others nationally are saying about the Pistons' four (and in reading this, try to spot the square peg):

Tim Legler, ESPN: Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace made it on the East team. He's the one player not on my original picks whose selection I don't have a problem with. The Pistons are having a dream season.

Tony Mejia, CBS Sportsline: Rasheed Wallace is a great talent, but when you face the Pistons, he's not the guy you have to fear. You play Orlando, and the first player you think of, in just his second year, is Howard. Heck, Washington's Antawn Jamison and Philadelphia's Chris Webber deserve to be there more than Wallace does, but the coaches making the choices were overzealous rather than reasonable.

Marty Burns, Sports Illustrated: [On Rasheed Wallace] Don't hold his reputation against him. He's a 6-11 low-post scorer who also defends and shoots the 3-pointer (39 percent this season). Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard might put up bigger numbers, but 'Sheed's versatility and experience give him the edge.

Best Players Not Always on Best Team [Washington Post]
Daily Dime [ESPN]
Sad Truth: If an All-Star doesn't fit, somebody must sit [CBS Sportsline]
Embarrassment of riches [Sports Illustrated]