Every year when the NBA All Star reserves are announced, it’s mandatory that everyone with an opinion yell from the rooftops about the biggest snubs. It’s almost more exciting to see who didn’t make it then who did.
There is a ton of star power in the league today with nine players currently averaging 29 points or more per game. The last time that happened was never. The closest? In 1962, six players led by Wilt Chamberlain averaged 29+. That’s it. So it makes sense that we’d have a few guys this season who look like All Stars by the eye test and by statistics, but there just aren’t enough spots on the team to reward everyone playing at that level right now.
The perception of James Harden this season is remarkable. Many think he’s past his prime, he’s a shell of his former self, and there’s this general feeling that he’s just not that good anymore. Has anyone actually watched him play? It’s true that he isn’t what he was in Houston – one of the greatest offensive players the game has ever season – but the man is leading the league with 11 assists per game and still putting up 21.4 points. The 76ers are also 3rd in the Eastern Conference and legitimate title contenders. This was a big miss.
Jalen Brunson is the best New York Knicks point guard since… Stephon Marbury? Mark Jackson? Walt Frazier?? The Knicks have had a giant point guard shaped hole in their roster for decades, but Brunson looks to be their answer. His 2022 playoff performance was not a fluke He’s averaging career highs across the board, and is the heart and soul of a competitive Knicks team right now. The problem is they weren’t going to reward two Knicks, and it’s hard to argue Julius Randle isn’t just as deserving. He’s putting up almost 25 points and 11 rebounds every night.
This was supposed to be De’Aaron Fox’s year. He had been a flashy player on a cellar dwelling team his entire career but the Kings have finally, surprisingly turned themselves around. They’re now a top-3 team in the West. Credit was given where it was due though, to Domantas Sabonis. He’s leading the league with 12.3 rebounds while putting up just under 19 points and 7 assists per game as well. Fox is having a great season, but his All Star snub is a clear casualty of the current talent in the league.
Fox’s next game
When you say a guy got snubbed, you really have to also say who he should be replacing from the players who did get the All Star nod. In Trae Young’s case, he could easily have made it over Demar Derozan or Jrue Holiday. He’s getting more points and assists than Derozan, plus the Hawks are higher than the Bulls in the standings. Holiday has missed 12 games this season and also doesn’t come close to the point/assist numbers that Young puts up. It’s odd to see a point guard averaging 27 and 10 left off the list.
Anthony Edwards had a coming out party of sorts in the lone playoff series the Timberwolves had last year against the Grizzlies. In those 6 games he averaged 25.2 points and shot just above 40% from three. He hasn’t quite turned into the All NBA level player we thought we saw then, but he’s averaging career highs in points, assists, rebounds, and PER (player efficiency rating), and he has the Timberwolves (without KAT) playing competitive basketball in the West.