Top 5 All-Star Snubs
As if the NBA needed any more fascinating subplots, we get the 2012 All-Star team selections which included a number of players who probably don’t deserve to be there. I’m looking at you, Dirk Nowitzki.
This of course leaves an overwhelming number of excellent players on the snub list, which is quite a bit longer than usual. Amazingly, there are 15-20 players who could’ve legitimately made the team this year but did not. Even narrowing that down to the Top 5 snubs was a challenge, but here they are, anyway:
#5 – Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks – Chicago’s Luol Deng making the team is a clear testament to the Bulls having posted such an incredible record over the course of the last season and a half, but Deng has missed a large portion of the year so far with that torn ligament in his wrist while Smith has been doing the same sorts of things for Atlanta without the missed time. Deng scores a little more, Smith rebounds a little more, but for the most part the numbers are more or less the same. However, when it came down to it, coaches had to decide whether to give Atlanta or Chicago two All-Stars, and Chicago was the organization that got to double down.
#4 – Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz – This one stings, especially for Jazz fans who came into the season expecting things to go poorly and instead were given a solid young team competing for a playoff spot, all behind Millsap’s 16.5 ppg and 9.7 rpg. Plus, he hasn’t missed a huge chunk of the season like a certain Dallas Mavericks forward having a much worse season than Millsap.
#3 – Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors – With older guards like Steve Nash and Tony Parker clearly getting in for their body work rather than their play during this current season, it’s extra frustrating that Ellis was snubbed for a second year in a row. With 22.6 ppg (6th in the league), 6.3 apg, and 1.8 spg, it’s hard to say Ellis wasn’t playing like an All-Star this season. Of course, his 3.7 turnovers per game probably didn’t help much, and he doesn’t have the rapport with voting coaches like other players do. Still, based on performance alone, he probably should’ve gotten in.
#2 – Kyle Lowry, Houston Rockets – A clear candidate for Most Improved Player, Lowry has transformed himself into the 15-11 Houston Rockets’ best player. His numbers this year—14.7 ppg, 7.9 apg, and 5.8 rpg—are easily the best of his career, and his leadership is a huge reason the Rockets have played so well despite mediocre talent. Again, we all know and love names like “Nash” and “Parker,” but Lowry is simply having the better year. He really should’ve made the team, and the fact that he didn’t makes him among the biggest tragedies of the lot.
#1 – Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics – The fact that Rondo is second in the league with 9.6 apg means he’s probably the best pure point guard in the Eastern Conference. Throw in his 13.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 1.7 spg, and you’ve got a stat line that looks quite a bit different from that of Deron Williams, but in some ways is actually quite a bit better than that of Deron Williams. Point guards looking to dish rather than score always make the All-Star game more fun, and only having one Celtic in the event this year is going to feel very strange.
Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks – We know the reason why. Jennings’ Bucks are a lousy 11-14 this season, which means his 18.9 ppg (third among Eastern Conference point guards) and 5.3 apg weren’t enough to get him into the All-Star game. Of course, Deron Williams was voted in with 20.9 ppg and 8.6 apg for an 8-19 New Jersey Nets team, but those stats apparently were enough to circumvent his own lack of team success.
Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks – Without taking anything away from Roy Hibbert, who’s having an excellent season and certainly deserved to be voted in, an argument could absolutely be made for Chandler, who’s averaging 12 ppg, 10 rpg, and 1.3 bpg (for comparison’s sake, Hibbert’s at 13.6 ppg, 10 rpg, and 1.8 bpg). Chandler’s opportunities for making an All-Star team are running out, and with such similar numbers to Hibbert, it could’ve been argued that he should’ve been the backup center in the East.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers – It takes a very special rookie to sneak into the All-Star game, especially one that’s not voted in by fans, but Irving certainly made a strong push to sneak in there the last month or so. He shoots a great percentage for a PG, his 21.66 PER is top 25 in the whole league, and his talent and clutch shooting already has most of us pegging him as a perennial All-Star in the future. Just not yet, apparently.
James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder – In a year with so much talent, it would be hard to award the Oklahoma City Thunder three All-Stars, but Harden has one of the highest PERs among all shooting guards in the entire league. He’s having a great season, but there was just too much talent elsewhere to allow the Thunder three participants.
Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics, and Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs – Both had tremendous streaks snapped (14 straight All-Star games for Garnett and 13 for Duncan), but it’s hard to call these guys snubs based on their play this season. It’s just a little frustrating that we’re not including Nowitzki’s name here for the same reason, especially with so many other Western Conference players looking more deserving.
Other Notable Snubs: Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers; Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers; Ryan Anderson, Orlando Magic; Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons; Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers; Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies
Was there anybody else snubbed from this year’s festivities that you felt should’ve gotten in? If so, hit up the comments and stand up for your favorite players. There’s always next year, right?