It might be surprising to the rest of the league, but Anderson Varejao is quietly producing All-Star numbers this season. As for actually getting a spot on the Eastern Conference team, that still seems like a long shot.

Dwight Howard is the overall leader in voting and deserves the starting nod at center, but there are a few players behind him — including Varejao — making a strong case for inclusion in the All-Star game.

"He's been invaluable," Scott said. "Obviously Dwight is going to be the No. 1 center in the East, but other than that, I don't know who is playing better at that position."

Varejao is averaging 9.4 points and 11.1 rebounds entering tonight's game at Boston. Chicago's Joakim Noah, second in the voting behind Howard, entered Saturday averaging 8.2 points and 9.1 rebounds.

With Atlanta's Al Horford injured, the centers putting up numbers most comparable to Varejao (or better) are Indiana's Roy Hibbert (14.2 points, 9.8 rebounds) and the Knicks' Tyson Chandler (10.5 points, 10.2 rebounds).

Washington's JaVale McGee also has similar numbers, but will find it difficult to make the team based on the Wizards' miserable season, which culminated with coach Flip Saunders losing his job last week. It's more difficult in the NBA for players on losing teams to be named an All-Star than any other sport.

It's what could ultimately hurt Varejao and Chandler, too, given the losing records by the Cavs and Knicks.

Varejao's reputation is that of a high-energy player and a nuisance to opponents, not an All-Star. Even Cavs coach Byron Scott concedes it's difficult for guys with one worthy season to make an All-Star team.