MIAMI: Although the Cavaliers didn’t send out iPods loaded with highlights, coach Byron Scott believes Anderson Varejao should be an All-Star.
Varejao’s wait for the long-coveted honor will end at 7 p.m. Thursday, when the full roster for the Feb. 26 game at the Amway Center will be announced on TNT.
The Cavs center’s candidacy has grown steam, especially after his 20-20 performance Jan. 31 against the Boston Celtics.
Varejao was averaging 10.8 points, 11.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists going into Tuesday night’s road game against the Miami Heat.
Varejao, 29, has never been to an All-Star Game in his previous seven seasons. He was named to the NBA All-Defensive second team in 2009-10, when he also finished third in voting for the top sixth man.
Former teammate LeBron James and Heat star Dwyane Wade believe Varejao should join them in Orlando.
“I thought Andy was an All-Star in the past and he never got the nod,” James said Tuesday morning. “There’s not many players in the Eastern Conference playing good ball like he’s playing. If he does get an opportunity, it will be well-deserved. I know how hard he works.”
Wade said he believes this could be Varejao’s year.
“You have to game-plan for him. He’s not one of those guys you can say, ‘Just box him out.’ You’ve got to do other things,” Wade said. “That’s the kind of player you look for.
“I heard something about role-player slots in the All-Star Game. He would be high on the list.”
Scott said he receives packages from teams touting their players and once got an iPod that he gave to his son Thomas.
“I don’t make calls, I don’t send videos,” Scott said, believing Varejao’s body of work should sell him.
Varejao is flattered by the recent attention.
“It makes me feel good about myself, it makes me feel like I’ve been doing a good job helping this team,” he said. “If I’m there, I’m there. If I’m not there, what can I do? It’s a good motivation.”
Asked if he was anxious about the announcement, Varejao said, “I’m not going to say I’m not, but it’s not my priority. If it happens, I’ll be really happy.”
Gee gets nod
With a shortage of guards against the Heat, Scott started Alonzo Gee at shooting guard.
“That’s probably the best matchup we have for Dwyane Wade,” Scott said. “At least you’ve got your athleticism against athleticism.”
Scott didn’t seem overly alarmed about the soft tissue infection in guard Daniel Gibson’s neck that forced him to miss his fifth consecutive game.
After practice Monday, Gibson told the Cavs his neck was still “a little stiff,” Scott said, so the team elected to leave him home.
“We’re not real concerned right now,” Scott said. “After practice he felt a little discomfort, so we felt it wasn’t in his best interest to fly. Hopefully it was just a very minor setback.
“We’ve got a stretch of home games coming up, so we feel pretty comfortable he’s going to be able to play pretty soon.”
The Cavs were also without guard Anthony Parker (strained lower back) and rookie forward Tristan Thompson (sprained left ankle). Parker missed his fourth consecutive game, Thompson his third. Scott said Gibson could play tonight at home against the Los Angeles Clippers, but Scott doesn’t expect Parker or Thompson to be available.
The Cavs play nine consecutive home games and 11 of their next 13 in Quicken Loans Arena. … The NBA announced a change in format for the rookie-sophomore game that is part of the All-Star weekend. First- and second-year players will be combined on teams with a draft format. Cavs rookie Kyrie Irving said he would wait to be picked before commenting. … Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on former Cleveland State guard Norris Cole: “Norris is a bulldog coming in off the bench and changing the tempo of the game.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her blog at http://marla.ohio.com/. Follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MarlaRidenour. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.