Late last week, I saw a tweet from ESPN’s Chris Palmer asking the world who the best players in the NBA were who’ve never made an All-Star game. While I didn’t totally agree with his list of Lamar Odom, Jason Terry, Al Jefferson, Andre Miller and Jamal Crawford, I figured it was an interesting topic.
So I made my own, with the only essential characteristics being that the player must be playing now and have at least five years of NBA experience. While most of this list is still young and will have opportunities to knock down the door, it is a little surprising to see some of the players that have never been named an All-Star. Not a bad squad right here:
LaMarcus Aldridge – His snubbing this year was one of the worst in recent memory. Whatever requisite an All-Star needs, he had it: an improved all-around game (22 points and 8.6 rebounds a night), an overachieving team and the reputation as his team’s unquestioned leader. There’s no way Aldridge stays on this list much longer.
Andrew Bogut – As we’ve covered before, Bogut might be the second-best defensive center in the game and in a conference devoid of good power players, how he hasn’t made the February showcase is troublesome. Actually, two things have prevented him. First, the Bucks are hardly ever any good. And second, he plays in Milwaukee, where the team gets no national love.
Andrew Bynum – This one is easy to diagnose. If Bynum didn’t take yearly vacations due to leg and knee injuries, he would’ve made the main event by now. Whenever he starts to get it going, his knees give out and he starts back over again. But when he is right, like he is right now, Bynum might be the second-best center in the game.
Monta Ellis – Over the past two seasons, Ellis is averaging nearly 25 points a game. There are only a select few other cats who can say that and most of them are All-Star regulars. Still, Ellis hasn’t found his way there yet. This season was much of the same for him: 24.2 points, 5.6 assists and 2.1 steals a game on a bad team.
Rudy Gay – Gay is quietly becoming one of the better young wing players in the league. While his numbers have stayed consistent for the past four years – somewhere around 19-20 points, six rebounds and 1.5 steals, Gay’s shooting percentages and efficiency have all steadily increased. He was having the best year of his career before the shoulder injury this season. If Memphis can keep this team together, he stands a good chance to become an All-Star next year.
Andre Iguodala – Iguodala’s offensive numbers are down this year; he’s averaging just 14.1 points a game, his lowest in five years. But because Philly has surrounded him with better players, his role has changed. He’s playing more point forward, averaging a career-best 6.4 assists per game. Plus, as he showed in the World Championships this summer, he locks up. Is there a better wing defender in the entire league? I have no idea how he didn’t get any All-Star love.
Stephen Jackson – Forget the craziness. Forget the off-court issues and the brawl and all of that. Since leaving Indiana, Jackson has become one of the best all-around players in the entire league. So why hasn’t he been to an All-Star Game? For one, his Warrior and Charlotte teams all did just enough to slip beyond the Lottery, but never enough to stand out in the playoffs (besides Golden State’s 2007 upset against Dallas). And his past reputation probably has something to do with it. Now that he’s graduated to the twilight of his career at 32 years old (he actually turns 33 tomorrow), Jackson probably missed his best chances.
Kevin Martin – While he doesn’t have the greatest all-around game (never averaged five rebounds or three assists in a season), Martin has been filling it up for the past five years. Since becoming a full-time starter, he’s averaged at least 20 a game every year.
Lamar Odom – It would’ve been fun to see Odom make the All-Star team this year while winning the Sixth Man award. Odom is in a weird spot. His talent dictates that he should’ve earned a spot by now in at least one midseason classic. But the fact remains that he never really had a case. He’s always been good but not great. With the way the Lakers are structured, he probably never will make an All-Star team.
Josh Smith – It seems every year, we have the same conversation revolving around Smith. He’s always just on the brink of making it, but never seems to have that extra push to get him into the game. While his teammate Al Horford has been named to the East squad in back-to-back seasons, it’s possible he’s not even the best frontcourt player on his own team.
Who do you think is the best NBA player who has never made an All-Star team?
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