The 71st NBA All-Star Game will take place in Cleveland on Feb. 20, and just about all the participants have been named, save for a couple injury replacements. As is the case every year with All-Star selections, people want to talk snubs. Of course if you believe someone was snubbed, you have to say who would be removed in favor of the snubbed player.
Golden State Warriors forward and TNT NBA analyst Draymond Green was selected to his fourth All-Star team but won’t play as he recovers from injury. He talked about snubs from this year’s game and couldn’t resist poking fun at Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert when he was asked who he thought took an All-Star snub the hardest.
“One thing I can assure you is if I didn’t make it I wasn’t gonna cry,” Green said referencing 2019 when Gobert cried during a press conference on learning he wasn’t selected. “It has to be Rudy…”
Let’s look at the All-Stars by conference and see who was left out that we might like to include.
Eastern Conference All-Stars
Kevin Durant is your team captain, and starters include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, DeMar DeRozan, and Trae Young.
The reserves are Jimmy Butler, Darius Garland, James Harden, Zach LaVine, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, and Fred VanVleet.
Eastern Conference Snubs
Jarrett Allen, Jrue Holiday, LaMelo Ball, and Miles Bridges are all worthy candidates but in order for them to make it we would have to take away three names from the pool above.
Due to the injury to KD, his frontcourt spot should be filled by Allen. That would give the Cleveland Cavaliers two all-stars, deservingly so. They are a game and a half outside of first in the East, fourth in aNET rating, and second in aDRTG. Allen is the anchor to their defense and a key piece of their offense.
Ball and Bridges are teammates on the Charlotte Hornets, who are 28-24 in eighth, a game and a half outside the top six. Bridges is a candidate for Most Improved Player as he’s upped all his counting stat averages. But so too has Ball. The second-year pro leads the team in all advanced metrics, including EPM at +3.1.
Holiday is the linchpin on the perimeter for the Milwaukee Bucks’ malleable defense and an initiator on offense. He is second on the team in EPM at +4.2.
Our vote goes to Holiday and he will be replacing his teammate Khris Middleton. “Money Mid” was excellent in last year’s playoff run helping secure the Bucks’ championship. But he hasn’t been quite as good this season.
Allen to replace the injured KD, and Holiday to replace Middleton.
Western Conference All-Stars
LeBron James is your captain, and starters include Steph Curry, Ja Morant, Nikola Jokic and Andrew Wiggins.
The reserves are Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Green, Karl-Anthony Towns, Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, and Rudy Gobert.
Western Conference Snubs
Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dejounte Murray. Anthony Davis hasn’t played enough games and wasn’t playing all that well until the last week. A little too late for All-Star.
Due to injury, Green will not be playing. His frontcourt spot should go to Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies. They have the third-best record in the league and are fifth in aNET rating, seventh in aORTG, and eighth in aDRTG. Morant is the MVP candidate, but Jackson Jr. is the All-Defensive candidate. His switchability and elite rim protection (leads the league in blocks) are key to their defense.
Murray has made a jump in all the traditional counting stats and is averaging 19.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 9.1 apg, and 2.0 spg. He is a +2.7 in EPM, 90th percentile in the NBA.
In order to put Murray on the team we will remove Wiggins. The Warriors forward is having his best season, but he’s not an All-Star starter. The two most important players to the Warriors’ success are Curry and Green. The Warriors’ global popularity and an assist from a K-Pop star juiced the fan vote to elevate Wiggins to a level he hasn’t earned, respectfully.
This doesn’t mean Murray gets to start. I’d move Booker or Paul into the starting lineup and have Murray as a reserve.
Jackson Jr. to replace the injured Green, and Murray to replace Wiggins.
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