Every year there are players whose on-court performance earned them a place in the NBA All-Star Game. But with only 24 spots available, some are inevitably left out each year. The snubs. I’d like to sit here and say I know exactly how the coaches make their decisions, but that’s about as truthful as a positive Anthony Bennett scouting report (He’s really putting it all together at practice! It’s only a matter of time!!!). The point is I have no idea how they pick the way the way they do; if I had to take a guess, I’d say they value veterans and winning over a young-and-up comer in the midst of a career year in a losing effort.
This season we’ve seen injuries open up spots previously held on lockdown. But with more openings, comes more controversy. It’s a lot easier when players like Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose are healthy and filling positions. This season there were quite a few players whose performance merited a selection. Let’s take a look at some of the players who didn’t hear their name called last night. The 5 biggest snubs:
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5. DeMarcus Cousins
Was it his attitude? Cousins leads the league in technical fouls, and hasn’t exactly been out on the court making friends this season. But with Boogie averaging 22.6 PPG and 11.6 RPG, both career numbers, how can you leave him off? He’s 10th in PPG, sixth in rebounds, ninth in steals (1.8 SPG), and his PER (Player Efficiency Rating) is good enough for sixth, higher than All-Star Selectees LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin, Paul George and Stephen Curry (and more).
The only legitimate reason is the Kings woeful record at 15-30. If Boogie and fellow young big man Anthony Davis don’t make it as replacements, they would be the first two players with a PER of over 25 to miss out on the game (both Kareem and Shaq technically missed out too, but Kareem missed almost half of the early season with injuries, and there was a lockout Shaq’s year). He’s the only top-ten scorer who was not selected! Personally I’m heartbroken. Boogie has played much more under control this season, and his play clearly warranted his inclusion. Kings fans can only hope his snub motivates him even as the season progresses forward.
4. Lance Stephenson
I think I know why Stephenson wasn’t selected: the Pacers are already sending two representatives to Louisiana (Paul George and Roy Hibbert), and there simply wasn’t enough room for a third member. But Born Ready played his Brooklyn born bottom off. Think about it like this: last season Stephenson scored a total of 687 points the entire season. Stephenson has already scored 625 this year.
On the year, Sir Lance averages 14.2PPG, 7.2 RPG and 5.4 APG, all career-highs. He’s also upped his shooting percentages to 49.9 percent and 34.4 percent from three. Oh, and he leads the entire NBA in triple-doubles this season. How do you give Joe Johnson (15.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG and 2.8 APG) the nod over Stephenson? Did Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov threaten war if no Net was selected? Stephenson should have heard his name called. He’s my pick to explode for a Curry-like second half out of all the snubs.
3. Goran Dragic
Nobody expected the Suns to be playing for a playoff spot this season, but here they are in the sixth seed because of Dragic and the injured Eric Bledsoe. Dragic is averaging a career-high 19.9 PPG, 6.1 APG, and 3.4 RPG. Can you name the two players in the league that are averaging 19 points, six assists and shoot better than 49 percent from the field? I’ll tell you: LeBron and… Dragic. Since Bledsoe went down on December 30, Dragic has kept the Suns alive by averaging 21.9 PPG, 6.5 APG, and shooting an incredible 45.9 percent from three. The Suns deserved to send someone to New Orleans; Dragic was snubbed.