The NBA is currently stacked with starpower. When it comes down to recognizing players for their feats and accomplishments, plenty of deserving names won’t get the credit they’ve earned. Unfortunately, a slew of great talents get left off the All-Star team due to the vast talent pool in the NBA.
Here are the three most egregious snubs from this year’s crop of players:
George’s omission from the All-Star team this year can be heavily credited to a strong field of Western Conference wings. With the addition of Jimmy Butler, and the sustained excellence of guards like Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Stephen Curry, cracking the West roster is more difficult than ever.
In the end, the coaches opted for the pair of Klay Thompson and Damian Lillard over George. Although the former Pacers star is the best defender of the bunch, he lacks the raw numbers that the others bring to the table. Thompson is enjoying the most efficient season of his career on the league’s best team. Lillard operates as the No. 1 option for his club.
Had the Thunder’s season started off a bit better, George could have easily slid into one of the reserve spots.
Many moons ago, the Detroit Pistons rested near the top of the Eastern Conference standings with a 14-6 record. At that point, they certainly warranted at least one All-Star nomination. Things have changed drastically since then, as the Pistons have lost 17 of their last 25 games. They’ve fallen just outside of the playoff picture despite getting solid contributions from their top players.
Drummond is the current league leader in rebounds. The athletic big has also made great strides at the free throw line — knocking down a career-high 63-percent of his freebies. However, Drummond lost out to Al Horford and Kristaps Porzinigis in the coaches’ vote.
Horford anchors the best defense in the league, and Porzingis posts flashier numbers than Drummond. Had the Pistons never slumped, Drummond would have been elected.
Williams making the All-Star team would have been great for the league. Not only has he been the biggest catalyst in the Clippers’ recent surge into the playoff picture, but his former role as a sixth man serves as a tale of great triumph. The journeyman guard has played for six teams in his 12-year career, and has only started in 104 out of 827 games. He carried the stigma of a high-volume bench scorer that could never lead a team.
The opportunity to seize a bigger role arose early in his Clippers tenure — with Williams ultimately taking full advantage of it.
Since December, Williams has averaged 27.3 PPG and 5.7 APG on 45.3-percent from the field, and 41.8-percent from three. The Clippers are 18-11 since Doc Rivers decided to start Williams. Those are All-Star caliber numbers no matter how you slice it.
The All-Star game has become a bit of an after-thought during the weekend festivities, but that doesn’t exempt voters from selecting the most deserving candidates. The coaches seem to have done a good job overall, but there’s a long list of worthy candidates that will have a justified gripe with their choices.
Sources: David Richard/USA TODAY Sports, Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports, Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports