As has been the case every year in the 65 year history of the NBA All-Star Game, there are always a slew of great basketball players who have played well enough to be named to the NBA All-Star team but did not make it. Though the mid-season NBA classic isn’t indicative of talent across the board, acting more like a fan festival than an actual indicator of performance, it’s safe to say that most NBA players have dreamed of the day when they could play alongside the very best their craft has to offer. However, with the exception of maybe half of the participants, it’s analogous to a popularity contest than an actual measure of talent and performance. With that in mind, The Shadow League presents our top five snubs of this year’s NBA All-Star team.
C DeAndre Jordan
The first and most egregious of this unfortunate quintet is Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, especially so when you look at his numbers; a league leading 13.8 rebounds per game and second in the NBA with 2.4 blocks per game while averaging 10.7 PPG and shooting a ridiculous 72.5 percent from the field. Aside from the Chris Paul lobs that he catches, most of his production is based on his incredible instincts and athletic ability, arguably the most athletic center since David Robinson. He’s easily one of the best overall athletes in the NBA today. It would have been fun watching him catch lob after lob in the wide open, defense-free NBA All-Star game.
PF Zach Randolph
The next obvious omission is also from the Western Conference and is also a big man. But this big guy is slight different than Jordan, and by slightly I mean very different. He’s plodding, bruising and has only dunked 4 times in 44 games this season. But what he lacks in athleticism and speed, power forward Zach Randolph more than makes up for it with his incredible strength, rebounding and a Cottonelle soft shooting touch. He’s averaging 17 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal per game this season. Sometimes numbers do lie, but this isn’t one of those times.
Z-Bo should be an All-Star.
PG Ty Lawson
Ty Lawson is a bad, bad dude playing on a team that can’t figure out how to be good on a regular basis. However, their ineptitude doesn’t have anything to do with his performance this season. He’s currently averaging 17 points and 10 assists per game. Outside of John Wall and perhaps Russell Westbrook, there’s not a single point guard in the NBA that we can definitively say is faster than Lawson from end to end. He and John Wall are the only two guards averaging double digit assists this season. However, Wall will be playing in the All-Star game, Lawson will be watching on TV. Unfortunately for Lawson, there’s just too much competition at point guard out west for him to be recognized for just how sick his game really is.
C Nikola Vucevic
This list is heavy on snubs from the Western Conference because there are just more quality teams and players west of the Mississippi than there are in the east. However, the Orlando Magic have a quality big man who, if the center position was treated as something other than a novelty in the modern NBA, should have certainly been invited to the mid-season spectacle. Nikola Vucevic, once traded to the Orlando Magic from the Philadelphia 76ers in the Andrew Bynum debacle, is putting up grown-ass man numbers with 19.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. Those numbers were good enough to get DeMarcus Cousins an invitation from Commissioner Adam Silver, but Vucevic will have to keep plugging away until next year.
SF Gordon Hayward
Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward has been something of an enigma since he was drafted with the 9th pick overall out of Butler University in 2010. Long-armed, athletic, versatile and quick, the 6ft 9in Hayward has steadily improved over the course of his career and he’s putting up All-Star caliber numbers in his fifth year in the league with 19.7 points, 5 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He has an impact on every phase of the game while shooting a respectable 46 percent from the field. Too bad he’s in the West, and the Utah Jazz suck, or else he would have been a shoo-in.
SF Rudy Gay, Sacramento Kings
C Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
PG Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
SG Montae Ellis, Dallas Mavericks