Every year the league honours its players by hosting an exhibition game between the most talented players for the fans delight. This NBA All-Star weekend tradition has gone on for 67 years and is a highlight of every season.
The starting lineups are decided through a voting process in which the players, media and fans all vote for five players from each conference. Once the starters are announced, the reserve spots are chosen by the NBA’s 30 coaches.
Of course, plenty of talented players have earned their selection this season. Proven superstars such as LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way for their respective conferences, while other young studs like Ben Simmons and Nikola Jokic will make their first appearances.
However, there will always be a few players that are left out. With only 24 spots between both rosters, it is inevitable that some talented guys will miss the cut. Let’s examine the biggest snubs from the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.
The 19-year-old rookie, Luka Doncic, has left his mark on the 2018-19 NBA season. Because of his success overseas in EuroLeague, Luka came in as one of the most unique rookies in recent years. He’s wasted no time proving his worth as an NBA player.
Despite lacking the physical gifts of many other NBA players, Doncic is elite at scoring the ball. He is crafty and displays a high IQ when getting his shots off. Luka leads all rookies in points with a stat line of 20.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.
If he continues this pace, Doncic will become the third player in NBA history to post these averages as a rookie, joining only Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan.
Doncic finished second in the fan All-Star voting by racking up over 4 million votes. He totaled more votes than names such as Stephen Curry, James Harden and Kevin Durant. However, because the NBA splits the votes between fans, media and the players, he was left out of the lineup.
Things became worse for Doncic as the head coaches elected not to vote him into the game as a reserve. While he may be one of the best rookie players the league has ever seen, Luka Doncic was not deemed worthy of the All-Star Game this year.
Heading into the 2018-19 season, many people assumed the Denver Nuggets would take the next step in their development and become a playoff team. Nobody expected them to come out and be a top-two seed in the Western Conference. Led by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, the Nuggets have shattered our expectations.
While Jokic is the clear best player, Murray has been a vital member of the team. His production of 18.5 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds a game has helped propel the Nuggets to a 35-15 record.
Murray is becoming an elite sharpshooter with the ability to go off on any given night. His most notable moment this season came when he knocked down 5-of-11 3-pointers and scored 48 points in a victory over Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics.
Considering the Nuggets have one of the best records in the league, it is questionable as to why they only have one player representing them in the 2019 All-Star Game, especially when no single player stands out significantly from the rest of the team on the stat sheet. Regardless, Murray will have to wait a year before he gets another chance to prove himself.
In the last decade, only two players have won the Defensive Player of the Year award and not been named to the All-Star game in the following season. Marc Gasol and Joakim Noah are the first two players to do it, with Rudy Gobert becoming the third this year.
Gobert is having a phenomenal season for the Utah Jazz. His presence on defense has been just as strong, averaging 2.2 blocks per game and ranking fourth in defensive rebounding. Meanwhile, his offensive game has never been better. Putting up a career-high 15 points per game on 65 percent shooting, Gobert has truly become a two-way threat on the court.
Unfortunately, Rudy will be absent from the 2019 NBA All-Star Game and many are wondering why. The only possible justification is that the expectations for Gobert and the Utah Jazz were high heading into the season and the team has faltered since then.
Perhaps Gobert would’ve been a lock for the All-Star game if Utah were a top-five team in the West. Either way, he will be watching from the sidelines this year.
Before the season started, fans everywhere scoffed at Lou Williams for saying that the Los Angeles Clippers were the “Better team in L.A.” Halfway through the season, the Clippers have two more wins than the Los Angeles Lakers, and Tobias Harris has been the main reason why.
By the time Harris was traded to the Clippers last season, a large chunk of NBA fans had given up on him. The Clippers would become his fourth team in six years and he had failed to land a secure spot on any roster since he entered the league.
It seems like Harris used this as motivation to improve drastically. This season he is averaging 21.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. All three of these are career-high marks. He is also shooting above 50.3 percent from the field for the first time and connecting on a career-best 43.3 percent of his attempts from beyond the 3-point line.
The Clippers are one of the most pleasantly surprising teams in the league this year and it seems unfair that none of their players will be honored in the All-Star Game. This team has fought incredibly hard to still be in the playoff picture at this point in the season and Harris has been their leader. Because of this, Harris is the biggest snub from the 2019 All-Star Game.
By Kayode Hammed: (Twitter: @kayodemed)
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