Every year, players get snubbed from the All-Star game in the Eastern and Western Conference. With the current system, the fans vote for the All-Star starters from both conferences, which really is the equivalent of a popularity contest than a talent contest. This is evident from the fact that players such as Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony are starting for the Eastern and Western Conferences. Both players have almost sat out more games than they have played. Furthermore, the Los Angeles Lakers have the second worst record in the Western Conference with a record of 13-34, while the New York Knicks have the worst record in the Eastern Conference with a record of 9-38. These two debacle picks were the epitome of legacy and popularity picks, rather than picks that were based upon merit.
What that means is that players that rightfully deserve to be on the All-Star team will inevitably be snubbed. Head coaches have the opportunity to do some damage control with the picks done by the fans, but with ten players taken up from the East and West, the roster spots are somewhat limited. And while coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players, there is still a bit of biasness with the relationships that they have with former players or other players on a different team.
The difficulty with all of this is that if there are players that have been snubbed, it means that you would theoretically have to kick someone currently on the All-Star team to be replaced. And if you look at the current roster of reserves, you can easily make a case for all of them.
Eastern Conference All-Star Starters
Eastern Conference All-Star Reserves
Western Conference All-Stars Starters
Western Conference All-Star Reserves
Klay Thompson – Golden State WarriorsChris Paul – Los Angeles ClippersRussell Westbrook – Oklahoma City ThunderTim Duncan – San Antonio SpursKevin Durant – Oklahoma City ThunderLaMarcus Aldridge – Portland Trail BlazersJames Harden – Houston Rockets
By all accounts, all of these reserves deserve to be All-Stars. However, were there any other players that deserved to be All-Stars a little bit more this year? Below is a list of the Top-10 players that were snubbed in 2015’s All-Star game.
*Stats are correct as of January 30th.
10 DeAndre Jordan – Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers are fourth in the Western Conference with a record of 32-14 and have won their last 6 games. The Clippers are now having fun again. And a large reason for that is because of the jovial big man in the middle – DeAndre Jordan. This season, Jordan has been averaging 10.2 points per game, 13.3 rebounds per game, and 2.4 blocks per game. The big man does what Blake Griffin cannot and that is defend the paint. Without Jordan in the middle, the Clippers would have no one to defend the paint. Jordan’s contract will be coming off the books this year, and he is going to get paid like an All-Star even though he was snubbed once again from the team this year.
9 Brandon Knight – Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks have forced themselves into the playoff conversation with a record of 24-22, which is good for sixth in the Eastern Conference. Nobody, and I mean nobody, would have thought that the Bucks would be in playoff position this year, yet here they are. A large part of the reason for this has been the play from the point guard position, specifically from Brandon Knight. This season, Knight is averaging 17.9 points per game, 5.2 assists per game, and 4.2 rebounds per game. He is also making nearly two three-pointers per game, which is important for a team that does not have a lot of firepower from downtown. Without Knight, this team falls apart and he is as valuable as any other player for any other team.
8 Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers
For all of the criticism that the Cavs have received, the Cleveland Cavaliers are currently ranked fifth in the Eastern Conference with a record of 30-18. Love is still trying to figure out what his place is on offense, yet he is still averaging a respectable 17.1 points per game, 10.3 rebounds per game, and is making 1.6 three-pointers per game. Yes, those numbers aren’t the same as they once were in Minnesota, but Love is now playing on a contending team that has won eight games in a row. That should count for something.
7 Dwight Howard – Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets are fifth in the Western Conference with a record of 32-14. Manning the middle is Dwight Howard who currently averages 16.3 points per game, 11.0 rebounds per game, and 1.4 blocks per game. Howard is certainly not the same type of player that he used to be, but he is still one of the best defenders in the NBA. Howard is currently sitting out with a right knee injury, but it is possible for him to play by next weekend.
6 Monta Ellis – Dallas Mavericks
This season, Monta Ellis is averaging 20.5 points per game, 4.4 assists per game, and 2.5 rebounds per game. With another season under his belt in Dallas, the dynamic shooting guard has become even more efficient on offense. The Mavs have slipped as of late by losing 4 games in a row, but they are still ranked seventh in the Western Conference with a record of 30-17, which is saying a lot about the competitiveness in the Western Conference. With Dirk Nowitzki on his last legs, Monta has carried the bulk of the offense for Rick Carlisle, yet he is continually snubbed every year for All-Star weekend.
5 Nikola Vucevic – Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic have a record of 15-34, which is third worst in the lowly Eastern Conference. A team ranked third worst in the Eastern Conference does not say much about the players on the team, however, Vucevic, has been a bright light for a team that has seen sunnier days in Orlando. The big man is averaging a double-double with averages of 19.5 points per game, 11.3 rebounds per game, and 0.8 blocks per game. He is one of the most efficient big men in the game and most casual NBA fans have no idea who he is.
4 Mike Conley – Memphis Grizzlies
This season, Conley is averaging 17.4 points per game, 5.6 assists per game, and 3.4 rebounds per game. Conley has helped lead the Memphis Grizzlies to the second best record in the Western Conference with a record of 34-12. The left-handed point guard has always been underrated, but it is time for him to start getting the proper acknowledgement that he deserves. Of course, getting a championship would help erase this snub, but Conely is one of the best point guards in the NBA, and that is saying a lot considering all of the dynamic point guards in the NBA today.
3 Kyle Korver – Atlanta Hawks
Kyle Korver and the Atlanta Hawks have won 17 games in a row. His teammates Al Horford, Jeff Teague, and Paul Millsap have rightfully made the All-Star team, but it is hard to excuse the absence of Kyle Korver. Korver is currently on pace to be the first player in NBA history to average percentages of 50-50-90. That is at least 50% from the field, 50% from the 3-point land, and 90% from the free throw line. Those numbers are historically astounding.
2 DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings
The Sacramento Kings have a record of 16-28, which may be the reason why DeMarcus Cousins was left off the All-Star team. But when was the last time a player who averaged 23.8 points per game, 12.3 rebounds per game, and 1.6 blocks per game not make the All-Star team? This may be a situation where DeMarcus was left off the All-Star team more because of his personal character than his body of work. Numbers wise, it is hard to dispute Cousins being off the team.
1 Damian Lillard – Portland Trailblazers
What else does Damian Lillard have to do? The sharp shooting point guard was snubbed from the Olympic Team, which is somewhat understandable, but to be snubbed from the All-Star game is almost inexcusable. This season, Lillard is averaging 21.8 points per game, 6.2 assists per game, and 4.6 rebounds per game. Furthermore, with LaMarcus Aldridge (an All-Star reserve) banged up, Lillard has been the primary weapon for the Blazers. Lillard, not Aldridge, has been the MVP of the Trail Blazers. Additionally, the Blazers have a record of 32-14, which is good for third place in the West. It is certainly possible that Lillard will replace the injured Kobe Bryant for a spot on the All-Star team, but he should have been voted there to begin with.