Every All-Star game selection is a reason not only to celebrate those making the game for the first time, but those NBA players who deserved a spot on it but didn’t make it. Stand-out names this season? Stephen Curry leads the bunch, with Brook Lopez and Brandon Jennings also included on the snub list.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Everyone seem to agree on this one – Curry is the player that deserved more than anyone making it into the All-Star game but didn’t. The point guard on his fourth season in the NBA is healthy again, and without another ball-hog next to him (Monta Ellis), he’s flourishing as both the best three point shooter in the league and generally as a team leader. Curry is averaging 21 points per game, making 3.2 three point shots a game. He leads the league in three pointers made, second in accuracy with 45.4% and 8th in the NBA in points per game.
The starters for the West at guard are Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, on the bench these are Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook. Besides Bryant, you can argue that Curry is having a season that is just as good as Paul, Westbrook and Parker, meaning just as much to his team as they are.
David West, Indiana Pacers – Luol Deng, Chris Bosh, Paul George, Joakim Noah and Tyson Chandler. Those are the frontcourt bench players for the East. It seems that George is the big star for the Pacers team this season, but David West is doing just as good of a job in Granger’s absence, especially when it comes to the fourth quarter and taking over. West is averaging 16.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this season, and probably deserves a spot just like any other forward/center on the East’s roster, at least from the bench players.
Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks – You can argue that Josh Smith is just as deserving of a spot in the All-Star game for the first time ever, but his attitude at times does hurt his credibility. But what about Horford, maybe the most versatile big man in the Eastern Conference, just as crucial to the success of the Hawks this season despite the departure of Joe Johnson? Horford is averaging 15.9 points and 9.9 rebounds per game this year.
Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers
Crawford isn’t a starter, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be on the Western roster. He’s averaging 16.8 points per game, and the Clippers’ bench is probably the biggest reason they’re so highly rated and being considered in the title race this season. Crawford is also the kind of player fans love to see in an All-Star game, possessing the best crossover dribble in the NBA.
Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets – Yes, Lopez can’t defend. But he’s still one of the top 4 or 5 centers in the NBA, especially when it comes to his ability to score. Lopez is averaging 18.6 points per game in under 30 minutes a night, which probably means he’ll be much more fun and maybe deserving to be in the All-Star game instead of someone like Tyson Chandler.
Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks – Kyrie Irving and Jrue Holiday made the All-Star game on the bench, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo as the starters. One could argue that Jennings, leading the Bucks to the playoffs this season for the first time in his NBA career (if things stay this course), averaging 18.6 points and 6 assists per game, distinguishing himself as the superior player in the backcourt next to Monta Ellis.