With the announcement of the all-star reserves Thursday night, it’s only right to discuss who has been snubbed from the all-star teams. As always, all the guys who were selected earned their spot because of how well they’re playing this year. Unfortunately, due to the high level of play in the league, some guys who are playing great basketball weren’t selected.
Below are four of the biggest snubs, one guard from each conference and one frontcourt player from each conference.
Well, here we go again. Although Lillard played in last year’s game as Blake Griffin‘s replacement, he was snubbed before that. This season he’s even better, and it shows just how deep the point guard position is. Especially in the West. His averages of 24.3 points & 7.1 assists a game make him one of two players to average greater than 24 & 7 (Russell Westbrook).
While his PER (21.7) and scoring average (24.3) are career highs, the situation in Portland is at its worst. LaMarcus Aldridge leaving for San Antonio gave Lillard full control over the team. However, outside of he & McCollum, there isn’t anyone else that’s a reliable option and Lillard is boasting the highest usage rate of his career — 31.0 is 4.1 percentage points higher than his previous career high.
I’m excited to see the wrath that Lillard unleashes over the league with this new chip on his shoulder.
In his 18th season, Dirk has shown no signs of his age impacting his game. The 37-year-old is still playing at the consistent level we’ve grown accustomed to. While his numbers don’t jump out at you — 17.6 points & 6.7 rebounds per game on 45% shooting — they’re very impressive for someone his age. In fact, Dirk would be the fifth player age 37 or older to average more than 17 points & six rebounds per game for a season.
Dallas had lofty expectations placed on them after acquiring Chandler Parsons, Wesley Matthews, and Deron Williams in the wake of the DeAndre Jordan situation. Despite the struggles those three, and the team as a whole, have experienced, Dirk has remained consistent.
Walker has been on the cusp of being a star point guard for the last couple of seasons. Despite being under .500%, Charlotte has the potential to make the playoffs in a very crowded conference, thanks to the fantastic season by Kemba. Much like Lillard, Walker is putting up career highs in PER (20.8) and points per game (20.5) and is one of five players to have scored 50+ in a game this year. Along with scoring more than 20 per game, Walker averages five dimes and almost two steals per contest. Those three averages, 20+p/5+a/1.5+s, couple him with all-star Kyle Lowry as the only two PGs in the East to possess those.
His all-star caliber teammate, Al Jefferson, went down with a knee injury in December and Walker has noticeably upped his game. In Jefferson’s absence, Walker is averaging more than 24 ppg, compared to 18.5 pre-injury.
Here we have another player who’s playing way better than anyone expected. Pau Gasol played his tail off last summer during Eurobasket and virtually carried the Spanish team. This year, alongside all-star reserve Jimmy Butler, Gasol is doing his best to help keep the Bulls afloat. While Chicago is still a formidable team, they aren’t what they used to be. The coaching change has been rough at times, and Derrick Rose is still struggling to be productive.
Through it all, however, Gasol emerged as the second best player on the team. He’s on pace to become the first 35-year-old (third overall) since Patrick Ewing in 1997-98 to average 15p/10r/2br for a season.
While the all-star game is still a few weeks away, it’s possible for these guys to be replacements. However, they were selected to this list because they weren’t picked initially.
*Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale / USA TODAY Sports*
*Data courtesy of Basketball-Reference*