With the 2017-18 NBA All-Star rosters set for February 18th, you knew there would be controversy as there is every year when selecting the reserves. So, please hold off on your “LOU WILLIAMS WAS ROBBED!” propaganda’s. We will get to him I promise. For now, let’s take a look at the Eastern Conference and what players didn’t make the cut but probably should’ve.
Drummond has been having a career year with the Pistons this season. He’s averaging a career best 15 rebounds a game, which also leads the entire NBA in rebounding. He’s made drastic improvements to his free-throw shooting, shooting 62% from the line, the highest he’s ever shot in his 6-year career. We’ve also seen Drummond develop into a pretty solid playmaker for his position averaging a career-high 4 assists. He’s also averaging 14.3 points a contest, the 2nd most he’s averaged over an NBA season. More importantly, the Detroit Pistons have been a playoff team all year despite the injury to starting point-guard Reggie Jackson. The Pistons are currently just 2 games back from the 8th seed but that shouldn’t have held Drummond back from making the roster.
Seriously, how did this kid not make the list of reserves? He’s the runaway rookie of the year, he’s putting up stupendous numbers, and has his young Sixers in playoff position. I mean, the numbers speak for themselves. 16.3/7.9/7.2 with 2 steals and 1 block. He’s 6th in the NBA in assists and 8th in steals. Among the rest of the league’s point-guards, Simmons ranks 2nd in blocks, rebounds and field-goal percentage. Did I mention he’s a rookie? The Sixers are sitting at the 8th seed right now in the East and it’s in large part due to him and fellow teammate Joel Embiid. I don’t want to throw any shade at John Wall here, but was he really more deserving of a spot than Ben Simmons? I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Now I don’t know who should get the spot between Whiteside or Dragic but the fact that they weren’t even considered is just a shame. The Miami Heat have quietly been on a tear this season. They’re just 1 game out of the 3rd seed in the East. They’re also the 6th best three-point shooting team in the East converting on 36% of their attempts. They’re 4th in the NBA in blocks(2nd in the East), and top 10 in defensive rating among all 32 teams. Lastly, they’re one of the clutchest teams in the league with a league best 20 clutch wins and a plus-minus of 52 in the crunch time. Most impressively, they’ve done this with injuries to key players like Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters. Whiteside’s numbers are more than worthy of a selection, putting up 14.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2 blocks. But again, he’s missed a good chunk of games so I can understand why he would be left off. Goran Dragic would be the next man up. While his efficiency isn’t great, his numbers are on par with Kyle Lowry –who was selected to his 4th straight All-Star game. It just feels wrong to not reward this team with all they’ve done this season. I’d even settle for Erik Spoelstra as an assistant coach.
And now, the chaos really begins. The Western Conference snubs.
Didn’t I tell you we’d get to him? Lou Williams is probably the most controversial snub of everyone on the list. If anyone deserved to be an All-Star, it was this guy. The 6th-man of the year candidate is averaging career high’s in nearly every department. He’s scoring just over 23 points a game and dishing out 5 assists with an elite .608 true shooting percentage. And he’s doing this in just 32 minutes of action off the Clippers bench. I understand the west is packed with talent this year, but would anyone really be upset if Lou Will was added to the roster and say…Klay Thompson was taken out? I suppose some selfish fans in San Francisco who absolutely must have 4 of their players in the game would have something to say about it, but they’ll get over it the next season when all 4 players are voted in yet again. This is a once in a lifetime moment for a player like Lou that definitely shouldn’t have went unrewarded. Give the people what they want!
What a storyline. The man who was shipped off to Indiana for Paul George will be making his first ever All-Star appearance and George will be watching the game from the comfort of his home. There’s no doubt in my mind that Paul George should be an All-Star. He’s one of the leading candidates for defensive player of the year and if you’ve watched Okahoma City play this year you could see why. He leads the league in steals(2.1) and is 6th in defensive win shares(2.5). Because of his rapid hands and pestering defense, the Thunder are 1st in the NBA in steals per game and have the 3rd best defensive rating. In addition to playing top-notch defense, George is also shooting a career best 42% from three on 7 attempts. He’s the teams best three-point shooter, and their second leading scorer averaging 21 points on the season. It’s a shame we won’t see Russ and George out there throwing lobs to each other or possibly defending one another. Thanks coaches and players.
Now how in the world does ‘The Point God’ get left off the reserves? Chris Paul has been nothing short of spectacular this season. He’s efficiently giving the Rockets 19 points each game, dishing out 9 assists, and still showing everyone he’s an elite defender by picking off 2 steals a game. His offense has been even more impressive. This season, Chris Paul ranks top 5 in the following categories across the entire league: offensive rating(4th), offensive plus-minus(4th), plus-minus(5th) and win shares per 48 minutes(3rd). Not to mention, the Houston Rockets are drastically better when he’s on the floor. In games without Paul this season, the Rockets are 10-7 compared to 24-5 when he’s on the floor. Talk about value. The biggest knock on Paul’s case is the fact that he’s only played in 29 games this season. But as the numbers show, his impact and value have been as exceptional as any reserve or starter named to the All-Star game.
And last but not least, we have Nikola Jokic. I know what you’re thinking “Jokic?!?” While he might not deserve a spot as much as the other guys on this list, Nikola Jokic has went unmentioned by nearly every NBA fan for someone who’s quietly having a brilliant season that deserves some recognition. At just 22 years old, the 6’11 serb is averaging a cool statline of 16.2/10.4/5.0 and has the young Denver Nuggets in position for their first playoff series since 2013. The only other player in the NBA with at least 15+PPG, 10+RPG, and 5+APG is Demarcus Cousins. All the other All-Stars you see in the West have an additional player worthy of All-Star consideration, Jokic has a 2nd year Jamal Murray and 23 year-old Gary Harris as his supporting cast. Denver has battled injuries all year to key players like Will Barton, Gary Harris, Wilson Chandler and Paul Millsap who is still sidelined with his injury. This team has still managed to battle for seeds 5 through 8 all season long and it’s because of the marvelous play from the largest point guard in the NBA.