What an honor it must be to get named to the NBA All-Star game. Every year 30 players, 15 from the Eastern Conference and 15 from the Western Conference, get to play in an exhibition game against one and other. Along with the destination of being an All-Star, players also receive pay bonuses and endorsement deals as part of being named an elite NBA player. Inevitably a player who is deserving of All-Star recognition is snubbed, which usually causes an uproar around the league. The past couple of seasons Damian Lillard has been left off the roster, so he is a prime example of an All-Star snub.
Year after year we hear about All-Star snubs, but we rarely hear about faulty All-Star inclusions, that is until now. Today we will countdown the 15 Worst NBA All-Stars since 2012. The players featured on this list are quality NBA players, I want to make that known, however, they are not All-Star caliber players. There is a distinction that also needs to be made before we continue. This list is not the 15 worst seasons by an All-Star, this is the 15 worst players to make an All-Star Game. We know guys like Yao Ming, Kobe Bryant, and Steve Francis were named All-Stars long after they were at that level, but that is not what we are addressing today. As we peel back player after player you will likely recognize their names, but you will also likely be surprised to find out that they were once All-Stars.
15. Luol Deng
Luol Deng has been a quality role player since he entered the NBA back in 2004. He was a star college player too, during his days at Duke University. Over the past decade he has been a part of some of the better teams in the league, especially during his time with the Chicago Bulls. In 2012, and in 2013 he was selected to the All-Star Game. During those seasons he was playing along side Derrick Rose, who won the NBA MVP one of those years.
As was mentioned previously, Deng is a terrific role player on a good team. But, to make an All Star team you should have to do more than fifteen points, and six rebounds, which is what Deng did during his two All-Star seasons. Luol is now doing what he is best at, he is helping mentor younger players with the Lakers, and enjoying the final couple years of his career.
14. Mo Williams
As you will find with many players on this list, Williams played alongside the league MVP the same season he was named to the All-Star team. It is amazing what playing with talent around you can to for a role player. Williams has always been a knock down shooter, but that is all he is. He has always been a below average defender, and his court vision, or lack there of, makes him unfit to play the point guard position.
In 2009 Williams was fortunate enough to play alongside LeBron James. With the MVP running the show, Williams was able to average a career high 17.8 points per game that season. Now, 17.8 ppg is very good, but considering he only averaged 3.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists it didn’t make much sense to see him suiting up with the All-Stars that year.
13. Elton Brand
Elton Brand was one of the more highly touted players coming out of college. Scouts, and experts alike all raved about Brand’s potential. Over his first half decade in the league he was an effective player, but always a fringe All-Star caliber player.
In 2002 and 2006 he was selected to the All-Star game. In 2006 he certainly earned his spot, averaging over 24 points and 10 rebounds, the best season of his career. In 2002, however, he appeared in only 62 games, and shot just a shade over 50% from the field, a very low percentage for a player who mainly shoots close range shots. Brand’s career was marred with injury, and his true potential was never realized. He has retired from the game, and is now helping the Philadelphia 76ers as an assistant coach, helping to groom their young talented big men.
12. Dale Davis
There was nothing particularly good or bad about Dale Davis’ 1999-00 season. He stayed right on his typical averages, scoring just over ten points per game and just under ten rebounds, as well as playing his solid brand of defense. He was a big part of the Pacers team that would lose in the NBA Finals that season, but nothing about his season was All-Star worthy.
So what made him an All-Star in this particular year? Honestly, I have no idea. Maybe the NBA felt that since the Pacers were so good, they needed to have an All-Star not named Reggie Miller? Whatever the reason, it would be the only selection of Davis’ career, so hopefully he enjoyed his experience.
11. Jamaal Magloire
Jamaal Magloire was supposed to be a perennial All-Star, and help anchor a team with NBA title aspirations. However, injuries and an overall lack of elite talent hindered those dreams. Early in his career Magloire showed flashes of what many believed he could become, but nothing ever sustained for Jamaal.
In 2004 it appears the league saw what they needed from him, and he was selected to the All-Star Game. Despite averaging only 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds, he made his first and only trip to NBA All-Star Weekend. Jamaal retired after the 2011-12 season with career averages of just over seven points and six rebounds per game. His 2004 All-Star appearance is still one of the most potential driven selections in league history.
10. Theo Ratliff
Theo Ratliff is what many fans describe as a poor man’s Dikembe Mutombo. He was a long wiry shot blocker with not much else to offer. In 2001 Ratliff was named to the All-Star Game, thanks in large part to playing along side Allen Iverson, who was named league MVP that year.
Ratliff was injured during the All-Star break and was unable to participate in the game. Due to his injury the Sixers were forced to find a center, and wouldn’t it be fitting, they acquired Dikembe Mutombo. This acquisition forced Ratliff to the bench upon his return, one of the few instances where a player is an All-Star and a bench player in the same season. So, in other words, he can thank Dikembe for his trip to the All-Star game.
9. David Lee
Despite being incredibly undersized, and less athletic than his competition, David Lee actually had a few good years in the NBA. His is now more know for his mop up duty with the Golden State Warriors, but he was once a decent player, All-Star caliber, maybe not, but he was more than serviceable.
During his days with the abysmal New York Knicks, Lee got a bounty of minutes. In his defense he did take advantage of the playing time. In both 2010 and 2013 he was lucky enough to make the Eastern Conference All-Star Team. His inclusion was purely numbers based, and with his inflated minuted in NY he was able to post stats that seemed All-Star worthy. Since 2015 Lee has bounced between four different teams, including San Antonio where he currently plays.
8. Gerald Wallace
One of my personal favorite players of all time, Gerald Wallace was a jack of many trades, but master of none. He was an above average defender with a crazy vertical jump, and he could knock down a three pointer here and there, but he was never an All-Star caliber player. In an ideal situation, Wallace would be the fourth is fifth best player on a championship team, in no way shape or form would a successful team build around him
However, in 2009-10, it was proven that he was an All-Star caliber player. He made his one and only All-Star game that season by posting 15 points and eight rebounds per game. There is no denying that those numbers are good… but All-Star worthy? I just don’t see it. Nonetheless Wallace will forever be able to say he was an NBA All-Star, and good for him.
7. Chris Kaman
When the Clippers drafted Kaman sixth overall back in 2003 they were hoping he would be a perennial All-Star and a cornerstone to their future. Unfortunately that never came to fruition, however Kaman did make the All-Star Team in 2010.
The Clippers wisely traded Kaman following his All-Star season, when they included him in a package that brought back superstar point guard Chris Paul. Kaman did have some redeeming qualities, he was a high IQ passer as a big man, and he had nice tough around the basket, however, his athleticism was limited, and his lateral quickness often led to his matchup scoring on him. Kaman is still in the league, but the writing is on the wall, and his career will be coming to an end in the near future.
6. Josh Howard
During those two years of his prime, Howard was a very nice player. Sadly, his prime was very short, and even during the pinnacle of his career, he was still a fringe All-Star. Howard was a part of some very good Dallas Maverick teams, including the 2005-06 team that came up just short of a championship. Alongside Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, and Keith Van Horn, Howard helped the Mavericks reach the NBA Finals, only to lose to Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal.
During his one and only All-Star season, Howard averaged nearly 20 points and seven rebounds. Based on his numbers alone, he may have a case for an All-Star berth. However, it is his defense that has me scratching my head when I think about him being an All-Star. Howard was often times put in the small forward, and sometimes even the power forward position. He was often undersized and overpowered by his matchup, but then again this is the NBA were are talking about, and defense is often optional.
5. Roy Hibbert
Remember when the Pacers were inches from a trip to the NBA Finals? When Roy Hibbert and Lance Stephenson were high level performers on a quality team. Those were the good old days weren’t they… The thing is though, is that Roy Hibbert was never that good, and Lance, well we will leave Lance alone for now.
Roy was just a huge body with a sliver of athleticism, but when you examine his production during his TWO, yes I said TWO, All-Star seasons, it is clear to see he was a product of the Pacers system. In 2011-12, his first All-Star season he averaged 12.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Pretty average for a starting center. In 2013-14, his second All-Star season, he averaged an even less impressive 10.6 points, and 6.6 rebounds. Somebody please explain to me how this man was a starter… let alone an All-Star.
4. Jrue Holiday
When Holiday made the All-Star team in 2013, it appeared he could become a regular at the mid-season exhibition. His career started slowly, but after a couple seasons, and some growing, he seemed to be heading in the right direction. However, after his one All-Star selection, he began to experience injuries, as well as being scouted and game planned for.
In the subsequent seasons after being named an All-Star his production dropped drastically, going from 17.7 points in his All-Star season, down to 14.2 the following year. Holiday is now in a situation where he could revive his career. He is running the show for the Pelicans, who recently traded for star big man DeMarcus Cousins, who will pair with Anthony Davis to form the best front court in the league. The opportunity is there for Jrue, perhaps he can regain his All-Star form, but to this point he is just a flash in the pan.
3. Jameer Nelson
Career averages of 12.2 points and 5.6 assists per game are exactly what you would expect from a player like Jameer. He is a heady floor general who can be trusted but not relied on. However, in 2009 Nelson had the season of his life. He averaged a career high 16.7 points per game as well as 5.4 assists while also helping lead his team to an NBA Finals defeat.
Paired with fellow All-Stars Dwight Howard, and Rashard Lewis, Nelson was able to ride those coattails to the All-Star Game, and the NBA Finals. I feel bad knocking Nelson, because he is one of the nicest guys in the league, but he is certainly not an All-Star player. In 2009, when he was named to the team, the Eastern Conference guard play was at an all time low. For comparison, the Eastern Conference reserve guards that season were: Devin Harris, Mo Williams and Jameer.
2. Mehmet Okur
Mehmet Okur had extreme luck, as in extremely good, and extremely bad. When he entered the league he had already been playing professionally overseas for a couple of years. When he joined the Pistons he landed on a team ready to win championships, which is exactly what they did, and Okur played a key role as the back up big man, providing quality minutes off the bench while the starters got their rest.
After showing he could play at the NBA level, and winning a championship, Okur commanded a king’s ransom, which was paid by the Utah Jazz. In 2004 he signed a six year $50 million contract with Utah, where he would have his one and only All-Star season.The funny thing about Okur’s All-Star selection is that it came a season too late. It appeared the league was crediting him for work he did the season prior. In 2007, he made the All-Star team, with averages of 17.6 points and 7.2 rebounds, not bad right? Well in 2005-06 he averaged career highs in points (18.1) and rebounds (10.1). Mehmet’s career is an interesting one, it started very slow, then immediately skyrocketed (all the way to All-Star status) then it bottomed out in the span of months.
1. Andrew Bynum
Another player who gets an All-Star nod thanks to his teammates, namely Kobe Bryant this time. There was no time in his career when Bynum deserved to be an NBA All-Star, however in 2012 people began believing that he was turning a corner and becoming a star in the league, so he was named an All-Star. With the prolonged dominance of big men in the Western Conference it can only be described as voter fatigue, as to how Bynum snuck into an All-Star Game.
Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Ron Artest should all have one more All-Star credit next to their name. They are the sole reason Bynum was selected in 2012. In his defense, Bynum did get nearly 18 points per game that season, but we all know those points came from an offensive system, as well as the brilliance of Kobe Bryant. At the end of the day Bynum showed his true colors, and made it clear that 2012 was an aberration, not a norm for him.
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