The Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams are set and as many have come to expect, the fallout has been controversial, to say the least. This player made the team. That player didn’t make the team. Debates on who made it and who missed the cut are all part of this circus known as the NBA All-Star Game and we’re not oblivious to all of it.
Personally, we thought Chris Paul was a lock to be named an All-Star in the West and that Joel Embiid, minutes restrictions notwithstanding, has made a pretty compelling case to be included in the East. But alas, neither player made it, as did a host of others that deserve to be All-Stars, but just lost out on the lack of available spots.
Make no mistake though. The snubbed players aren’t indictments of bias, as some people will annoyingly point out; they’re a testament to a league that’s insanely deep in star-quality players. There are just too many players worthy of consideration, but not enough spots to put them there. Would you rather see this many snubs or have guys like Tyrone Hill, Jamaal Magloire, and BJ Armstrong named All-Stars for lack of better choices? I know what our answer’s going to be.
That said, let’s dive deep into the NBA Snub All-Stars.
Spoiler Alert: Add them all together and you can actually make a third team of All-Stars. It’s true.
Eastern Conference All-Star Snubs
That’s seven names that didn’t make the list and all of them, warts and all, deserve to be All-Stars. Here’s the thing though. Look at the guys who were named as reserves and it’s very difficult to take those players out in favor of some of the guys on this list.
Would you take Jabari Parker over Paul George?
How about Bradley Beal over John Wall?
While we’re at it, does Dwight Howard deserve to be named an All-Star over Paul Millsap?
They’re all tricky questions because a case can be made for those snubbed guys. Ultimately though, it is hard to Parker over George because of the burden George has to carry as the number one option on an Indiana Pacers offense and as the designated perimeter stopper on defense.
Speaking of elite two-way players, Wall has turned into a monster on both ends for the Wizards and as good as Beal has been shooting the ball this season, the Washington Wizards is not the current fifth seed in the East without Wall turning into a faster and more athletic version of Jason Kidd.
Don’t sell us short too for mentioning Dwight Howard there because the man has been playing All-Star caliber basketball this season. The numbers says so. His net rating says so. And his team's record says so. But he’s not the best all-around player in that Atlanta Hawks squad. Paul Millsap is. That’s why he’s an All-Star and Dwight isn’t, even though it has nothing to do with what Dwight hasn’t done this season.
As many deserving snubs there are in the East, prepare yourselves for something crazier because the snubs in the West are a lot crazier.
Western Conference All-Star Snubs
That’s 10 players. 10 freakin players from one conference who got snubbed out of an All-Star spot. I’m not going to go back in history but has there ever been a year when you’ve had this many worthy All-Stars who didn’t make the All-Star team and that they’re all from one(!!!) conference?
What the F, right?
For the record, if Chris Paul wasn’t hurt, he’d be a lock to make the West All-Star team. No ifs and buts about it. The same can be said for Blake Griffin, but not with the absolute certainty of CP3.
Conley, Lillard, and McCollum are absolute All-Stars too, but unlike CP3, they fall victim to two things: a system that can only put as many as four backcourt reserves on the team and the absolute absurdity of the league having a ridiculous amount of All-Star guards, a lot of whom just happen to play in the same conference.
I mean, take a look at the guards who made it as reserves. Russell Westbrook should’ve been a starter, for crying out loud. And even if he did took Steph Curry’s place, the reigning two-time MVP would’ve been an absolute lock to make the team as a reserve. Same thing with his backcourt partner Klay Thompson. Granted, the spot Thompson got could’ve been contested by Conley but in the end, you can’t argue against putting Thompson on this team, not when he’s the author of the single highest individual scoring game of the season.
The front court snubs in the West is pretty incredible too. There’s a good chance that the guy who ends up winning Defensive Player of the Year isn’t an All-Star in the same season he wins the award. That’s in play if Gobert continues to dominate on the defensive end for the Utah Jazz. And how about LaMarcus Aldridge? Nobody talks about the San Antonio Spurs—no surprise there—but Aldridge has turned into a tremendous complement to Kawhi Leonard in that team. Don’t forget too that the Spurs are 36-9 and just 2.5 games behind the Warriors for the best record in the league. Aldridge has played a big role in that and he deserves an All-Star nod too.
I can see the arguments for somebody like Aldridge and Gobert making it over somebody like Cousins if team records are a big part of the criteria in making All-Star selections. But it’s only a part of the whole process and as important as Aldridge and Gobert have been to the success of the Spurs and Jazz, respectively, Cousins has single-handedly kept the Sacramento Kings in the thick of the playoff race either. That should count for something too.
And before somebody calls us out for not shining the spotlight on DeAndre Jordan, let it be clear. We wholeheartedly support DJ making the team. It’s a well-deserved choice that should’ve happened a long time ago. He’s not a sexy name, and playing in the shadow of CP3 and Blake is difficult, but when those two guys have been injured, Jordan is the one guy the Clips have relied on to stabilize the team. That’s a worthy All-Star in our book.
Do the math and add all the All-Star snubs from both conferences and you get 17 players. 17!!! That’s more than enough to make a third All-Star team. More importantly, it’s proof that the NBA has never been filled with star-caliber players than where it is today.
So call them snubs if you wish. Or you can also call them All-Stars. Either way, you won’t be wrong.