The NBA announced All-Star reserves on February 3, with several intriguing names making the cut.
Cleveland point guard Darius Garland and Toronto point guard Fred VanVleet were both first-time All-Stars in the Eastern Conference. They’re joined by Jimmy Butler, James Harden, Zach LaVine, Khris Middleton, and Jayson Tatum.
VanVleet becomes just the fourth undrafted player in NBA history to make an All-Star team, joining Ben Wallace, Brad Miller, and Connie Hawkins.
The Western Conference reserves didn’t have any first-timers. Devin Booker, Luka Doncic, Rudy Gobert, Draymond Green, Donovan Mitchell, Chris Paul, and Karl-Anthony Towns will join starters Ja Morant, Steph Curry, LeBron James, Andrew Wiggins, and Nikola Jokic.
Starters Morant and Wiggins will be making their first appearances in an All-Star Game as well.
Of course, All-Star selections are a cause for celebration, but they always start simultaneous conversations about who didn’t make it. Several deserving players didn’t get the nod this year, but injuries are likely to open up at least a few more spots.
Green has already announced he won’t be able to play. James and Durant are also currently out with injuries. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver selects injury replacements.
So, which players are the biggest snubs? Here are five who deserved more consideration.
Ball and Bridges lead arguably the league’s most dynamic offense. The Charlotte Hornets are the highest-scoring team in the Eastern Conference, they look like a solid bet to make the playoffs, and Ball’s dynamic passing combined with Bridges’ insane finishing ability make them a can’t miss duo to watch any time they’re in the open court together.
Bridges is averaging 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. His three-point shooting has cooled off after a hot start, but he’s still having a fantastic season and merits consideration. Ball is averaging 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists per game. He’s already emerged as one of the best young point guards in the league.
Both also have the unfortunate circumstance of playing unfortunate positions. Ball is in the conversation with VanVleet and Garland, and it is hard to argue either of them shouldn’t have made it.
Bridges would be competing against Tatum and Middleton, and it’s hard to argue against either of the, particularly because both are superior defenders to Bridges at this point in his career.
Based on sheer watchability and fun-factor alone, Edwards has to make it to the game as an injury replacement. His highlight reel dunks are already legendary. He’s one of the funniest and most quotable players in the league.
Combine those things with the fact that he’s averaging 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists per game while making 36 percent of his threes for a likely playoff team and it’s hard to argue he shouldn’t be in Cleveland for the game.
The Heat have dealt with a slew of injuries this season and still managed to be among the best teams in the Eastern Conference. They deserve an All-Star representative. But I’m not sure the right one was selected.
Butler has been great this season, but he’s also missed 20 games due to injury.
Herro is not the defender Butler is, but he’s been a consistent presence in the lineup and has been a go-to player for the Heat when Butler and Bam Adebayo have been out of the lineup. He’s averaging 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game and making 37 percent of his threes. His constant presence in the lineup makes him a more deserving representative from the Heat.
Murray is a victim of playing for a non-playoff team. He’s averaging 20 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals per game. He’s also become one of the best defenders at the point guard position in the league.
But because the Spurs are quickly falling out of the playoff race, his brilliance has been overlooked. Murray’s performance in the first half of the season has been better than Doncic’s, but the Mavs are in the playoff picture and Doncic has more star power, so he got the nod.