The NBA All-Star weekend. A few days of razzle and dazzle, celebrities, and, of course, a basketball game. Surprisingly, or maybe not surprising at all, the game is the least entertaining part of the entire weekend, unless you like watching 10 men lightly jog from one end of the court back to the other while watching alley-oop after….you get the picture.
The slam dunk contest and the three point contest have some intrigue to them, but the game just cannot match them, considering its lack of intensity and enthusiasm. However, to watch the players who are competing in those competitions does not mean you’re watching the All Stars of the year. So, sadly, to really see the All Stars, you need to unfortunately watch the game.
Over the course of its 64 showcases, there have always been a few occasions where you might be confused about a particular player being in the game. Notably, the NBA has had issues with players being voted in as starters over the past few decades whom have either been injured or non-existent over the first half of the NBA season. This list, however, is not only for those who did not deserve a start, but also for those who snuck themselves onto a roster of the top 13 players in their Conference due to injury, coach’s decision or pure magic (no one has used magic as we know of yet). Seriously, this is about the players who, without a doubt, did not deserve their place on their respective All Star squads, though you can't really blame them for showing up.
15 Christian Laettner - Atlanta Hawks - 1997 All-Star Game
The once highly heralded Duke starlet, Christian Laettner never really got off and running in the NBA after being drafted third overall by Minnesota in 1992. After arriving via trade in Atlanta, his second season totals were some of his best in his career, as he averaged 18.1 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game. Not All Star worthy numbers and considering he was chosen over Chris Webber, who was averaging 20 points and 10 boards a game, this was definitely a bad All Star selection when you realize the players left off the team.
14 Dick McGuire - New York Knicks - 1956 All-Star Game
During the mid 50s, average points per game and rebounds were slightly lower than you see in today's game. Still, when you see Dick McGuire’s stat line of 6.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.8 apg and then realize he was named a starter that year at the All Star game, you're left wondering what took place. He wasn’t a big time scorer even for his era and had low defensive totals in comparison to the rest of the 1956 All Star starters. However, considering the fact that he was just outside the top five in assists per game in the NBA and also had an average rebounding average for a point guard, McGuire may not have been the worst of all-time, but he's still certainly not a great one.
13 Steve Francis - Houston Rockets - 2004 All-Star Game
In the mid 2000s, Steve Francis started to wear down in only his fifth full NBA season. His fall would eventually coincide with his trade to the Orlando Magic during the following off-season and he would be moved more than a few times over the final three years of his career. Yet, Francis still snuck his way onto the 2004 Western All-Star squad. Better yet, he was voted a starter somehow with just 16.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 5.9 apg at the point guard position. To make matters worse, Francis was starter above Steve Nash (averaging slightly less points but a much better 8.8 assists) and if Stephon Marbury (20.8 ppg & 8.3 apg) had not been traded from Phoenix (West) to New York (East) prior to the ASG, he would have easily been better as well. This was the last hurrah for Stevie Franchise before fading away.
12 Anthony Mason - Miami Heat - 2001 All-Star Game
Anthony Mason’s 2001 appearance is a strange one to comprehend. He was a former NBA Sixth Man of the Year award winner in 1995 with the New York Knicks and arrived in Miami as a vet to add depth to the front court. Instead, he was forced into a starting role and performed admirably averaging 16.1 ppg and 9.6 rpg. However, these numbers were not truly All Star worthy numbers and as a hard working defensive player that really never modeled his game around skill and finesse, this was a weird selection.
11 Mehmet Okur - Utah Jazz - 2007 All-Star Game
After being a second round pick to the Pistons in 2001 and winning a title as a bench player, Mehmet Okur went for the money and playing time in Utah. While he never became elite, he did put together a few successful seasons with the Jazz but nothing spectacular or All Star worthy. His entry into the 2007 contest was due to a rash of injuries to the front court of Western All Stars. Therefore, there was almost no other options to go with aside from Okur, who earned his first and only Atar appearance.
10 Wally Szczerbiak - Minnesota T'wolves - 2002 All-Star Game
One of the funkier NBA names of all-time, Wally Szczerbiak was a sharp shooter but never was able to bring much else on the court. Therefore, his game never really was elite, as he was a one dimensional player who stayed beyond the arc. Szczerbiak was chosen to represent the West in 2002 and although his numbers were solid (scoring 18.7 ppg), all he did was shoot three pointers and very little of anything else. His lack of all-around skill is why he was truly an undeserving All Star and more of a fit for the 3-point contest.
9 Kevin Duckworth - Portland Trail Blazers - 1991 All-Star Game
A solid offensive center with the Portland Trail Blazers, Kevin Duckworth was never a sound defensive center and rather mediocre on the boards throughout his career. Duckworth had actually made the ASG roster for the West in 1989 as a backup with 18.1 ppg and 8 rpg, which also was a somewhat lackluster appearance. However, his second appearance in 1991 was even more unusual than his first, as he only averaged 15.8 ppg and 6.6 rpg. Duckworth’s appearance in 1991 was due to a Hakeem Olajuwon injury, but his totals were clearly not worthy of his selection, even if he was a key part of some successful Blazer teams during the early 90s. The 1990-91 season was by far his worst offensively and somehow he still earned a second all-star selection. It would also be his last.
8 A.C. Green - Los Angeles Lakers - 1990 All-Star Game
A.C. Green, who was a solid defensive player during his entire career and a championship winning power forward with the Lakers, was an All Star for a single season. During the 1989-90 campaign, Green averaged a very pedestrian 12.9 ppg and 8.7 rpg, and there was nothing too spectacular being done by the big man on either end of the court. There were clearly more worthy players deserving of an appearance. On top of that, Green even got the start. However, there’s no doubting his ability to win at the highest level, as Green retired with 3 NBA Championships to his name.
7 Tyrone Hill - Cleveland Cavaliers - 1995 All-Star Game
In 1994-95, Hill was in his second season with the Cavaliers, trying to find a niche for himself with the club. He was never a scorer, but was always a solid rebounding big man. In 1994-95, he averaged 13.8 ppg and 10.9 rpg, which are solid numbers and some of the best of his career, but they were not worthy of an appearance in the ASG. Somehow, the coaches chose him over a few players who had averaged 20+ ppg at that point in the season. The most notable omission was Glenn Robinson, who averaged 21.4 ppg and 6.2 rpg and somehow was not given the nod over Hill.
6 B.J. Armstrong - Chicago Bulls - 1994 All-Star Game
The story of B.J. Armstrong’s 1994 All Star start is an intriguing one. As Michael Jordan retired and left the NBA behind, fans of the Bulls needed to shift their All Star votes onto someone new for the upcoming season. Instead of showering Scottie Pippen with votes, they surprisingly chose to give some love to point guard B.J. Armstrong. A fifth year man entering his second season as a starter for the Bulls, Armstrong averaged 14 ppg along with 3.8 apg. Those numbers are barely good enough for a starting role in the NBA, let alone an NBA All Star game.
5 Brad Miller - Indiana Pacers - 2003 All-Star Game
The fact that Brad Miller made the All-Star game twice in consecutive years is kind of insane. However, his first appearance is the weirder one. With Indiana in 2002-03, he averaged 13.1 ppg and 8.3 rpg, which are average numbers for a big man, but not worthy of being selected to an All Star game. With such measly numbers, it seems strange that he made the team, but at the time, the East looked occasionally like the minor leagues compared to the West.
4 Jamaal Magloire - New Orleans Hornets - 2004 All-Star Game
One of a few Canadians to ever make the NBA All Star team, Magloire was never really an All Star caliber talent and never should have been there. Playing for the New Orleans Hornets at the time, Magloire was selected with totals of 12.1 ppg and 9.4 rpg at the break and though he finished with slightly better numbers, they weren't worthy of an All Star appearance. It should be noted that, like with Brad Miller, the West had an array of known big men and the East was picking from a weaker batch.
3 Dale Davis - Indiana Pacers - 2000 All-Star Game
2 James Donaldson - Dallas Mavericks - 1988 All-Star Game
In 1987-88, James Donaldson, a low scoring but solid rebounding center, would make his one and only all-star appearance, and it should have never been. Donaldson posted below 10 rpg in 1987-88 and scored a grand total of 7 ppg. These awful numbers somehow earned him All Star replacement duty with the Western Conference due to an injury to backup center Steve Johnson. Since they were low on centers at the time and trying to add position for position as they did at the time, James was chosen as his replacement, though his numbers were far from good enough.
1 Yao Ming - Houston Rockets - 2011 All-Star Game
When Yao Ming came into the league back in 2002, he had huge expectations and he fully delivered on them before injuries started to take their toll on his body. He made the ASG in his first seven seasons and each of those were fully deserved. After missing the entire 2009/10 season, Ming came back in 2010/11, but only played five games before retiring for good. The fans chose to vote him into the game as a starter into the game anyway and though he was replaced, his statline ranks as one of the worst for an All Star selection (he finished with 20.2 ppg and 5.4 rpg).
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