On Thursday the NBA announced the starters for the 2016 All-Star Game and to say it was a highly controversial list is an understatement. Fans sent out tweets and facebook posts announcing their displeasure. Usually, most of us at Fan-I Sports are not sympathetic to those basketball purist type fans. After all, it is a fan vote for the starters. If you want someone to get in, vote for them; however, there were some clear All-Star “snubs”. While, there is a chance that those players can get in as a reserve, there is also a chance that they will not. Here are five players that clearly got snubbed.
5. Andre Drummond 17.7 ppg, 15.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg
One reason why many hardcore basketball fans hate the All-Star selections every year, is the voting system. The old system had fans select one player per position. The new system has fans chose 2 guards and 3 forwards, regardless of position. While it gives fans more flexibility to pick deserving guards or forwards, the possibility of leaving positions out exists. Case in point, this year with the centers.
There was not one center selected to be a starter. While, many people will point to the fact that centres in the NBA do not have the role they used to in the “old days”, I will respectfully disagree.
In fact fans should have got Andre Drummond into the game. He has been dominant and is the main reason the Detroit Pistons are curently riding a playoff spot. For me the reason why I think he is not in is because Detroit is not relevant. The once championship-caliber franchise, has eroded into a simple mid-market team. Obviously, the pistons still have a loyal fan base and it is still a legendary franchise, --- I also remember last year when Toronto Raptors fans took over the Palace of Auburn Hills and made it the Raptors second home stadium, which also included Raptors fans taking group pictures on the Pistons logo.
Let me say as a side note, 10 years ago I never thought that the Detroit Pistons would be irrelevant and the Toronto Raptors would have grown to be what they are now. If I told the 9-year old version of myself, he would pee his pants of laughter. Anyway, the point is the Pistons are not relevant and therefore Drummond could not get the fan base to support him enough.
4. DeMar DeRozan 23.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.2 apg
A lot has been made about this snub. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have both elevated their play this season and are playing hungry. In fact, DeRozan has been playing the best basketball of his career. Currently, DeRozan has scored 30+ points in 3 straight games. Mix that in with the Raptors being in second place, a 7 game win streak, and the all-star game being in the 6ix, you would think that DeRozan was going to easily be a starter, unfortunately that was not the case.
In my opinion, the reason why DeRozan did not get in as a starter was simply due to circumstance. Dwayne Wade had a commanding lead among the guards when the Thursday ballots were released and was quite frankly unreachable. This made the possibility of the Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan tandem in the All-Star game as starters nearly impossible; however, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan was in striking distance of Kyrie Irving.
In Lowry’s case, he was extremely close to catching Irving, only traling by 32,000 votes. Experts, and fans were convinced that if one got in as a starter than the other would get in as a reserve. Therefore, while Canada pushed for both to get in, Kyle got more of the push because he was closer to Irving. As a result, Lowry will be playing in the All-Star game as a starter and we await to hear about DeRozan’s status. While, many fans are convinced that DeRozan will get in as a reserve, we as fans have been witness to coaches also making puzzling decisions as to who gets in the game.
3. DeMarcus Cousins 26.1 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 2.8 apg
Believe or not, the Kings with all their problems are riding a playoff spot. Granted, the Western Conference is having a bit of a down year but it is surprising that the Kings have not fallen completely off the map.
One of the reasons why is due to the play of DeMarcus Cousins, who is destroying everything in his path. The outspoken big man has been playing fantastic and is keeping his team afloat --- albeit nearly sinking --- but afloat nonetheless. So why is he not in? Well his attitude turns a lot of people off. While his play keeps his team afloat, his antics, as well as his words about coach George Karl and the franchise, has pissed off a lot of people in the Sacramento area. This has made fans apathetic towards voting for Cousins. In fact even Zaza Pachulia had more votes than Cousins when it was all said and done (to be fair Pachulia had a lot more votes than a lot of players).
I personally have had people come up to me and make the argument that his mouth is the main reason for Sacramento's problems. To be frank, there a lot of racial issues I could bring up as to why people are upset with Cousins’s attitude, while athletes like Brady are just fine, but this is a simple countdown list and Cousins’s attitude is an actual problem.
2. Anthony Davis 23.4 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.7 blkpg
The New Orleans Pelicans are a disgrace, however it is not like Anthony Davis is not doing the best he can. Davis has been labelled a “stat-stuffer” but remember that this is the same player who willed his team to a playoff spot last year. Even this year, with all the problems that the Pelicans have, Davis has led the team to being 4-games out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. To me, people were hesitant to put Davis in due to his reputation as a stat stuffer. While I think that reputation is ridiculously unwarranted, it is out there and it is fan vote.
1. Jimmy Butler 22.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.8 spg
This is perhaps the most shocking snub. Jimmy butler is without a doubt, the best guard in the Eastern Conference this season. Offensively he can produce at high efficiency and is a shutdown defender, Jimmy Butler is an all-star starter just off talent alone, but not by vote.
Why, you may ask? My theory is that people do not respect Jimmy Butler. Butler’s game lacks a certain flash that most of the All-Stars on this list have. Thus, he is not on a sport show’s highlight reel package with dunk or three often and people know of him but do not actually respect him enough to vote. This a paradigm that is not uncommon to many players. Guys like Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Kemba Walker etc. are not given enough fan respect, and in Butler’s case, it costed him an All-Star appearance as a starter. Although, I am confident the coaches will get Butler in the All-Star game as a reserve.
Here a couple players who are in my honorable mention:
Honorable mention: Draymond Green 14.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 7.3 apg
Everyone is giving Wardell Stephen Curry praise and rightfully so, but, Draymond Green has been doing wonders this season as well. Green does so much for the Warriors on the court and is responsible for generating offense, as well as being a stout defender. That is mainly the reason why he is nearly averaging a triple double for the season. Best part about this, he was a second round pick and was labeled as a “Tweener”. So why is he not even a snub but an honorable mention? Well, there is a guy in his “position” named Kawhi Leonard who is playing at an MVP level so as well as Green is playing, he unfortunately is not good enough to be a starter. To be honest, it is not an indictment on Green’s play but instead it does indicate the level of talent in the forward position in the West. Leonard, Durant etc. while the argument could be made he should start over Kobe, Kobe is retiring this season so we will leave that one alone.
Honorable mention #2 Pau Gasol 16.3 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.1 apg
Pau was literally hundreds of votes away from overtaking Carmelo Anthony as an All Star starter. Pau’s resurgence with the Bulls for the last two years has been fun to watch, as a result many people want to give him an all-star nod. The unfortunate part is that centers are being unrepresented in the starting roles this season and that is a shame. In Gasol’s case, there were better centers than Pau this season. I do believe that Gasol will get to go to Toronto as a reserve, which leaves me content.