With the All-Star reserves announced yesterday, it’s only fitting that a list of All-Star snubs come out the following day. Which players didn’t make the cut when they should have?
Check out the list and see if you agree.
Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls
Gasol is one of nine players averaging a double-double in points (16.7) and rebounds (10.9) this season. And with Joakim Noah having been out for most of the year due to injury, Gasol has had to play the most minutes (31.9) of any big man on the Bulls roster at the ripe age of 35 years old.
He’s a big reason why the Bulls currently sit third in the Eastern Conference standings, and yet he wasn’t even included among the reserves. Maybe Kobe Bryant was right, Gasol is underappreciated.
.@paugasol of the Chicago Bulls, no question, should be in the NBA All Star Game in Toronto with the season he’s having!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 29, 2016
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
How the league’s sixth-ranked scorer doesn’t make the All-Star team, we’ll never know. But Lillard has been in this position before. He didn’t make the cut for last year’s team either, but was later added to replace Blake Griffin, who had elbow surgery to remove a staph infection.
This would have been his third straight All-Star selection, and it still could be if for some reason a player cannot participate. Lillard is averaging career-highs in points (24.3) and assists (7.1) this season.
Kobe Bryant was asked if Damian Lillard should be an All-Star and he laughed, “Is that even a question, of course” — Jen Beyrle (@JenBeyrle) January 24, 2016
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
It’s going to be odd not seeing Nowitzki in the All-Star game. He’s made it every year since 2002 except in 2013 and now 2016. But consider this: This will be the first All-Star game since 1997 without either Nowitzki or Tim Duncan.
Duncan, who is averaging a career low for minutes played (25.9) this season, didn’t make the All-Star team for obvious reasons. But Nowitzki is leading the Mavericks in scoring (17.6) and still getting a decent amount of playing time (30.7) at his age (37).
Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
Duncan isn’t an All-Star based on his numbers. He’s averaging career lows in points (8.9) and rebounds (7.5) this season. But if this is his last rodeo, wouldn’t we want to send him out the right way like we’re doing with Bryant. In fact, shouldn’t we put Duncan, Nowitzki and Bryant on the same floor for one last time?
Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
Porzingis won’t miss out on All-Star weekend, as he’s already been selected to play in the Rising Stars Challenge. But if the Knicks rookie really is a unicorn like Kevin Durant suggests, then he belongs in the All-Star game.
Porzingis is averaging 14 points, 7.8 rebounds, and he has the fifth-most blocks of any player with 92. The All-Star game is all about putting a show on for the fans, and Porzingis does that just about every game with his putback dunks and rejections at the rim.
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets
There’s only six point guards in the league averaging at least 20 points, and Walker is one of them with 20.5 per game. The other five: Stephen Curry, Lillard, Russell Westbrook, Isaiah Thomas and Kyle Lowry. Some pretty good company for Walker to be in with. He’s not only the Hornets’ facilitator but their main source of offense as well.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
New Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue was surprised that Love didn’t make the All-Star team. “I’ve just never seen being a first-place team and getting one guy in. I’ve never seen that before,” Lue said via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. Only LeBron James was selected to play in Toronto from the Cavaliers.
Love, meanwhile, is averaging 15.7 points and 10.8 rebounds. He’s played in every one of Cleveland’s games this season, and he’s playing on a championship-caliber team.
You could make the same argument for Kyrie Irving not getting in. But due to the knee injury he sustained in Game 1 of the Finals, he got a late start to the season. Irving has looked good though, with 15.4 points in 18 games played.
Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks
Horford made last year’s All-Star team while averaging 15.2 points and 7.2 rebounds. Guess what he’s averaging this season: 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds. But the Hawks aren’t as hot as they were around this time a year ago, and the East team already has Horford’s teammate Paul Millsap on it.
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers
Jordan is first in field-goal percentage (71.2), second in rebounding (13.6), third in blocks (2.2) and he’s tied with DeMarcus Cousins for the third-most double-doubles (27) this season. It’s surprising Jordan hasn’t made the All-Star team already in his career, but consider this: Cousins, LaMarcus Aldridge, Anthony Davis and Draymond Green are only reserves.
The West is loaded with talented big men. Good luck making that All-Star team.
Biggest All-Star snubs per @bball_ref Win Shares
DeAndre Jordan 6.4 11th
Kemba Walker 5.2 16th
Jae Crowder 5.1 17th
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 29, 2016
Hassan Whiteside, Miami Heat
Whiteside said in a video by Bleacher Report that if he was voted to the All-Star team he’d play defense, something there’s not too much of in All-Star games. But it would be refreshing to see someone to try and block shots in Toronto, and who better than the league’s top shot-blocker. Whiteside has 158 blocks on the season, and he’s also the Heat’s top rebounder (11.2) and third-leading scorer (12.3).