Every year there are more players deserving of the all-star honors than there are actual all-star roster spots. This year it has been even more challenging than usual to find just twelve players from each conference to play in this game. I do believe that everyone who made the all-star team this year is well deserving. Even though these players all deserve it, there are still questions as to who should’ve made it over who.
Devin Booker, Suns
Devin Booker is leading the Suns in scoring at 25.2 points per game shooting 50% from the field. Some may argue that his advanced stats have dipped from last season, and that could be a reason why coaches didn’t select him for the game. However, Booker has made a “sacrifice for the greater good” to play with fellow all-star Chris Paul. This is something that other players get praised for but Devin Booker didn’t.
With the leadership of Devin Booker and Chris Paul, the Suns are the second seed in the Western Conference and they are rolling. Devin Booker was labeled a real “all-star snub” after the reserves were announced. Although Chris Paul is deserving of this honor, many believed that D-Book was the better option. This even led LeBron James to name Booker “the most disrespected player in our league.”
Mike Conley, Jazz
It isn’t hard to understand why Mike Conley was left out of the all-star game. His stats clearly don’t pop off at the page. Conley is only averaging 16 points and 6 assists per game. Those are not considered all-star numbers.
Conley has two teammates that are both in the all-star game in Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. These two were clear-cut locks for the all-star game. The Jazz have the best record in the NBA and appear to be steamrolling through everyone, so clearly their two best players would be in the game.
However, if you look at the impact that Mike Conley has during their games, he is doing wonders. Conley is playing lights out no matter who is on the floor with him. He could play with Gobert, Mitchell, Clarkson, or anyone on the team and he would still be making his mark. His plus-minus is remarkable and his PER is among the best in the league. He is one of the most consistent players in the NBA and plays a large part in Utah’s early success.
Domantas Sabonis, Pacers
Sabonis is in the same boat as Devin Booker when it comes to being a little late to the all-star game. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver named Domantas Sabonis an all-star, replacing the injured Kevin Durant. Many believed that Sabonis should have easily made the all-star list, given Indiana’s solid play and the numbers he is putting up with that success.
Sabonis is averaging 21 points per game along with 11 rebounds and 6 assists. He seems to do it all for the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers do have other solid pieces around Sabonis such as Myles Turner and Malcolm Brogdon, but Sabonis is clearly the heart of the team.
Despite Sabonis putting up big numbers, the Pacers are 9th in the Eastern Conference. They have struggled as of late due to the loss of Malcolm Brogdon. Even though they have struggled, Sabonis is the sole reason why they had some early success and why many believe that Indiana will bounce back.
DeMar DeRozan, Spurs
Unfortunately, the San Antonio Spurs are a team and a franchise that usually does not get the spotlight. After the Tim Duncan era of Spurs basketball passed, the team keys were handed over to Kawhi Leonard. NBA fans all remember how that turned out. With that being said, no one projected the Spurs to have any more success.
The San Antonio Spurs are ranked 5th in the Western Conference and that is in large part due to their star, DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan is averaging 20 points per game along with 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Those are solid numbers on a team that was projected to go absolutely nowhere. It is clear that he is their leader, and the heart and soul of this Spurs team.
Zion Williamson got the nod over DeRozan, and rightfully so. But if we are looking at the advanced stats, Demar DeRozan has more of an impact on the game and his team’s success than Zion does. The Spurs are also 4.5 games ahead of the Pelicans.
The all-star game is about generating buzz and money, and that is not what DeMar DeRozan is. He is 12 years into his professional career and is still developing his game, doing everything he can to get the Spurs into the playoffs.
There were several other “snubs” that you could make the argument for, but for many, these players are more deserving than the rest. The NBA today has come to the point where talent has surpassed the number of slots available for all-star honors, but that is just part of why this league is so great.