With the NBA reserves announced in the past week, the NBA community is up in arms about all the snubs and surprises of who was selected. With only 12 spots per conference, it is a guarantee that at least one deserving player won’t make it. This year is no different, and with the explosion of offensive stats, snubs look far more dramatic. I do think it is an issue that the All Star teams only have 12 spots each, as this designation is too exclusive compared how it once was. Considering they have kept this figure since 1968, and that year only 151 players played in the NBA, we see a sharp decline where 15.9% players were All Stars, compared to 530 in 2019, meaning only 4.5% of players were All Stars. Does this mean we should triple All Star spots? God no, but increase it to 13 to reflect how many active players are on a team today.
With this exclusivity, only the best of the best deserve to make it, so snubs are usually not true snubs. Regardless, it is fun to see who are snubs and who are the surprises. As I did release my unofficially All Star ballot, I feel I should touch upon the differences. If a player did not make my team nor the actual game, I will not touch upon it, but let’s see why some things happened the way it did.
So this was arguably the most surprising omission, as Beal was considered a lock for me. His offensive is incredible and has also been fairly efficient without a ton of supporting pieces. While his defense is not great, he is also playing on the 30th ranked defense in the league that recently gave up over 150 points to the Hawks and the Bucks in back to back games. No matter how good the opposing offense is, giving up 150 points in a game that ends in regulation is embarrassing. And guess what? They gave up that many points in 4 separate games, meaning over 8% of the time the Wizards play a game, they are a complete 0 defensively. Now this can be a chicken or the egg situation, where Beal’s defense is so bad that they give up tons of points to opposing perimeter players, or Beal’s defensive stats are so bad since every other player on the Wizards are also so bad. Regardless, scoring over 29 points and 6 assists a night is great, and with the Wizards being the 10th seed in the East, it is not like he is putting up completely empty stats. This just made no sense to leave him off.
Maybe it is my UConn bias, but I think Andre’s stats were enough to push him to All Star status. The rebounding specialist is leading the league in rebounding (15.8 rpg) for the 4th time of his 8-year career. He is also putting up a career high 17.5 points a night with 2.8 APG, 2 SPG and 1.7 BPG. And while the Pistons have been disappointing, there is basically no talent on the team. Derrick Rose is a good point guard, and Luke Kennard is also having a solid year, but other players like Markieff Morris, Christian Wood and Langston Galloway can only do so much to help win games. I also usually do not care too much about winning for selecting All Stars, as long as the player does not lead to actively losing games. And Drummond certainly is not this. I believe the media is biased against the big man as he looked pretty bad in the playoffs last year, as well as the Pistons not receiving much coverage. I also have seen people discrediting rebounding stats, which I somewhat agree with, but regardless, putting up historic stats deserves recognition.
Jaylen Brown missing the All Star game and essentially Jayson Tatum taking his spot is probably the most logical and predictable decision I could think of. At the time of writing my predictions, I believed it was a one or the other affair for the Boston wings, and while I still think Brown is having a better year with his overall efficiency, I think Tatum making it instead is not a travesty. I am not a fan of Tatum, but he is a good scorer and impressive defender on one of the better teams in the East. Hopefully Brown gets more shine this year and for his career, but until then, missing the All Star game at only 23 years old should not be a roadblock, but rather a speed bump on his way to being a top two way wing.
Lowry was essentially my last guy out when it came to my predictions, as I felt he was right on the bubble of who should have made it, but there were too many guards on the team. I also mentioned his efficiency has not been anything stellar, but regardless, he has been phenomenal. The 33 year old point guard has helped the Raptors to the 2nd best defense in the NBA while playing better than expected when a Finals MVP left their team. I am incredibly proud of Lowry as he turned what seemed like an okay career in Memphis and Houston into a Hall of Fame one, transforming the Raptors from a middling team to what seems to be a championship contender once again.
I really need to apologize to Khris, so Khris, I know you are reading this, sorry about leaving you off my team. Initially I credited all of the Bucks’ success to Giannis, but there is so much more than the MVP on the team. Being easily the best team in the league, Middleton has been able to step into the number 1 option when need be (like when he scored 51 points against the Wizards when Giannis was sitting). And when he needs to be the second option? He is phenomenal. While he only plays 29 minutes a night, Khris still averages around 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists per game. If you put him at a 36 minute pace, a decent standard for most All Stars, these jump to 25/7/5. Oh, and not only that, he is shooting 50.8/44.1/90.1 on a decent volume while playing great defense, forcing opponents to shoot 4.7% worse from the floor when he guards them. Yeah, he’s really good.
Arguably the most egregious omission, I don’t know how Booker is not an All Star. I know I said that Beal was the most surprising, as I felt Beal was a lock, but I think Booker was the more deserving of the two. Sure, the Suns really aren’t as good as they initially looked, but they are still a half decent team. D-Book is averaging 26.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists a game. Pretty good, right? Throw in his 50.6/36.2/91.6 shooting splits and his argument gets even stronger. As I also mentioned earlier, I do not truly factor in wins, but rather if a player helps a team win. Take off Booker, and how good will the Suns be? Exactly. I am not wishing for an injury, but maybe a player will be “too tired” (or drunk/hungover) to play, and Booker should walk into his first All Star appearance.
I still agree with most of my points as to why PG deserved to make the game, but I can also see why he was left off the roster. His averages of 22.7 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4 assists a night on 43/40/90.5 splits look pretty good. However, Paul George has only played in 59% of the Clippers’ games this year, and with how good Kawhi has been, I can see how people attribute all of LA’s success to him. I think he would be the second-best replacement behind Booker, but maybe not enough to knock someone off the team.
Originally, I didn’t even consider Paul as an alternate, and I am still slightly surprised he made it. While what he is doing for the Thunder is commendable, especially since many thought he would have demanded a trade, he ran with leading a team in a transition phase. And as I said plenty of times, I do not like to reward winning with selections. Yes, CP3 leads to winning, but it seems that the Thunder got a representative for being surprisingly good. Its not egregious, but I do think this is a mix of a reward for winning and Paul’s legacy, both of which are foolish.
Westbrook has certainly improved, and with his recent streak of good games, I am not surprised he made the team, but slightly disappointed by it. Since writing up my initial ballot, Westbrook has increased his scoring by over 2 points per game and has also improved his field goal shooting by a slight bit too. Regardless, I am still disappointed by his season, where he has not contributed a ton to winning, posting the fourth worst On-Off splits on the Rockets this season. He will be fun to watch in the game, but as I also said previously, legacy spots in the All Star game is foolish.
I know I said I wouldn’t talk about guys who missed the actual All Star game nor my ballot, but I really need to address Towns and why he really doesn’t deserve it. His basic box score stats are incredible (26.7/10.8/4.2 on 50.7/40.6/80.5) but this is where the impressiveness ends. He is posting a 115.3 defensive rating, which would place him right between the Cavs and Wizards for atrociousness on that end of the floor. Yeah, pretty ugly. And even though I said I don’t like to look at wins as binary stats that play huge factors into All Star selections, Towns has not played in a game that Minnesota has won since before THANKSGIVING (!!!!!!!!!!!!!). You read that right, he has either been out or losing for the past 2 and a half MONTHS. That was week 13 of the NFL season and we just saw Kansas City win it all, and in that huge span, Towns has went winless. So yes, I don’t care a ton about wins, but when you are actively hurting your team and have not been able to win one game in nearly a full quarter of a year, don’t complain about being a top player.
Please let me know if there are people I really missed or just start a mini argument with me about whatever. I’m ready — @JoshPires7 (twitter)
More NBA Content on The Barn
- Backdoor Cut (Ep. 59) – MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES – Win streak snapped but still feelin’ good
- The BarnBurner’s 2020 NBA All-Star Selections
- Backdoor Cut (Ep. 57) – MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES mid-season awards
- Kendrick Perkins gives the Nxt Gen Grz his Tweet of Approval
- Backdoor Cut (Ep. 56) – MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES take 2 of 3 on the road, fighting for…a playoff spot??