Did the voters get the reserves right? Are there any snubs that should have made the team? Is there a serious argument that any of the players selected shouldn’t have made the team?
The NBA All-Star reserves were revealed yesterday and there were some obvious snubs that included Domantas Sabonis, Bam Adebayo, Trae Young, Jimmy Butler, Jerami Grant, Brandon Ingram, Devin Booker, Christian Wood, DeMar DeRozan, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Khris Middleton. However, this was the first year in a long time that voters finally rewarded players that were overlooked for similar production in previous seasons, such as Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. Either way, there were some obvious snubs, but you have to take into consideration how many players are having amazing seasons. There is the argument that the All-Star teams should be expanded and I completely agree. I think the board of governors and the league will vote to expand the rosters for next season, considering the number of stars that were left out of this All-Star game. I will go into information on the final guys who made the team and whether they deserved it or not based on statistics, team wins, and what they do to impact their teams. I will then go into who I think will and should replace Anthony Davis and whoever else can’t play in the game.
Ben Simmons: Season statistics: 15.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 7.9 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG.
Simmons was definitely one of the last guys to make the team. His statistics are definitely the weakest of any All-Star selected. However, I get that he was selected because he impacts the 76ers in so many ways. His defense is some of the most elite in the league, and when he turns into a scoring threat with his mix of elite playmaking and rebounding, the team is virtually unbeatable if Joel Embiid plays alongside him. The 76ers are first in the Eastern Conference with a 21-11 record and Simmons has obviously been a huge part of their success. You could make the argument that another Eastern Conference guard/forward like Trae Young (averaging 27.0 PPG, and 9.6 APG) Jimmy Butler (averaging 19.1 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 7.6 APG), Jerami Grant (averaging 23.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG) should have made it, but none of the teams those players play for are in the top eight of the Eastern Conference standings. I get that the voters had to keep a balance between guards, forwards, and bigs, but if Simmons could have been replaced by a big without affecting the guards on the roster, the only All-Star snub more deserving of a selection here instead is Domantas Sabonis (21.5 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 5.7 APG while the Pacers are fourth in the Eastern Conference). The truth is though, Sabonis will be the first guy put on the team in replacement for any player in the Eastern Conference who gets hurt or simply cannot play.
Anthony Davis: Season statistics: 22.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 1.3 SPG
It pains me to say this as a diehard Laker fan and a huge fan of Anthony Davis’ game, but a serious argument could be made that he should not have been selected to the All-Star game. I know that the voters did this to reward Davis’ superstardom and to open a slot for someone else to replace him, but this is easily Davis’ worst season since his second year in the league and it is also his most disappointing. Davis is arguably the best defender in the league and that is his only argument for a selection here. His offensive game has been lackluster, his shooting percentage not great, and his assertiveness to score virtually nonexistent. I know he has LeBron, Schroder, Harell, and others on his team that can pick up the scoring slack, but cmon. For a guy of this caliber, arguably one of the three most talented guys in the league offensively as well, not just defensively, to average only 22.4 PPG and 8.3 RPG is just ridiculous. I know that the regular season does not matter as much as when the Lakers need him to show up most, which are the playoffs. Davis’s defensive impact is still elite but his offensive game has been a colossal disappointment for this Lakers team trying to repeat as champions. When Davis comes back, he needs to demand the ball, drive to the basket, and rebound with more assertiveness and efficiency for the Lakers to get back on pace to win another championship. I know it is possible, but I just haven’t seen it from Davis yet this season. For the Western Conference, Devin Booker (24.7 PPG), Shai Gilgeous- Alexander (22.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 6.5 APG), and DeMar DeRozan (19.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 6.9 APG) all have valid arguments to have been selected over Anthony Davis. Booker’s Suns are 20-10 and 4th in the Western Conference, DeRozan’s Spurs are 16-11 and 5th in the Western Conference, while Gilgeous Alexander’s Thunder are not good even if he is having a great season.
Other than Simmons and Davis, it is hard to make an argument that someone else is more deserving than any of the other All-Star reserves selected. Julius Randle is averaging 23.3 PPG, 10.9 RPG, and 5.5 APG while his Knicks are sitting at 7th in the Eastern Conference. Chris Paul is only averaging 16.6 PPG with 8.5 APG, but he has been the biggest factor in leading the Suns to a 20-10 record so far. Rudy Gobert (13.9 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 2.8 BPG) and Donovan Mitchell (24.5 PPG, 5.2 APG) have led the Jazz to the best record in the NBA so far so there isn’t an argument against them either. You could argue why Jimmy Butler and Christian Wood didn’t make it due to them missing time for injuries, but then Jayson Tatum and Paul George making it when they also missed time due to injury? However, there is no denying the talent and success of both Paul George and Jayson Tatum (where both of their teams are in the playoff seeding right now in each respective conference while Wood and Butler/Adebayo’s teams are not).
Furthermore, if I could have selected the All-Star teams I would have put Domantas Sabonis in over Ben Simmons and Devin Booker in over Anthony Davis. Either way, Domantas Sabonis will replace any Eastern Conference player who gets hurt and Devin Booker will replace Anthony Davis in the All-Star game. However, even if those two players get in you still have Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Trae Young, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Khris Middleton, Brandon Ingram, Christian Wood, and Jerami Grant that will still be snubbed. We have All-Star snubs every season, but this season has the most ever due to tons of NBA stars showing out and producing amazing numbers in arguably the most competitive season the NBA has ever seen. Ten teams have a shot to win the NBA title this season, and five of them realistically can do it if things fall together. This is applicable to NBA stars continuing to improve and trying to implant their legacy in NBA history by leading their team to prominence.