Why there were surprises for All-Star reserves
by Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Each Friday, NBA A-Z guys Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt will take on a topic or topics from around the league to discuss. This week, they take on questions about the NBA All-Star reserves.
1. Who were the top snubs?
Sam: The omission of Golden State’s Stephen Curry created the most noise, which will tend to happen when the head coach of the team (Mark Jackson) jumps on Twitter to deem it a “joke.” Yet while Jackson was right and Curry was deserving, the absence of Brooklyn center Brook Lopez is the one that’s even more inexplicable.
Some surmised that it was because of the midseason firing of Avery Johnson; coaches didn’t want to reward the Nets in any way because they’d shown him the door. But I still have a hard time understanding how Lopez’s ability to be the first-half MVP of a team that’s third in the Eastern Conference goes ignored. There should be attention paid to representing the teams that have done well, and the idea that the Nets have no one and the Bulls (fourth in the East) have two representatives in Luol Deng and Joakim Noah isn’t right.
Jeff: It’s Golden State’s Stephen Curry in the West and Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez in the East. You can make arguments for other players who didn’t make it, but no one has a better argument than Curry and Lopez.
Comb the traditional and advanced stats, Lopez definitely belongs. The Nets have rebounded nicely from their December swoon, and they wouldn’t be in the position they are (26-16, third in the East) without improved Lopez’s significant offensive and defensive contributions.
Again, nothing against Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, but mostly healthy Curry is in the middle of a breakout season that deserves recognition. He has proved himself an outstanding scorer and passer and is the league’s best three-point shooter – while leading the Warriors to a strong and surprising season.
2. Who are the surprise picks?
Sam: There were no surprises in terms of players being completely undeserving of being on the team – just the misappropriation of credit based on team success. In … [For more on Why there were surprise picks for NBA All-Star reserves, click here.]