The 2018 NBA All-Star Game is rapidly approaching and, as of Tuesday evening, the full rosters made up of players from both the Eastern and Western Conferences are available for consumption. Of course, the actual match-up won’t be decided until the teams are selected by captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry but, in the meantime, there is another discussion to be had and that surrounds the players that were not chosen this time around.
While the concept of “snubs” is not new, we found three deserving players from each conference that were left off and, in short, at least two of them were not pleased on Tuesday evening.
The most glaring omission from the Eastern Conference comes courtesy of Detroit, as Drummond is putting together the best season of his career as the centerpiece of the Pistons. The 24-year-old center has always been a double-double machine but, this season, he is defending at an improved level and, perhaps more impressively, Drummond is now a willing facilitator with the ability to deliver passes from both the post and the elbow.
In the immediate aftermath of the selection announcement, he let the world know of his displeasure. One of his published sentiments was not suitable for all audiences.
Frankly, it was hard to blame him.
The West is always treacherous and, with that as the backdrop, there were no obviously ridiculous inclusions. Still, it seems wild to see George on the outside looking in, especially as Victor Oladipo made it in the East. His individual counting stats have taken a predictable hit alongside Russell Westbrook but George is a two-way force and it speaks volumes to the depth of the conference that he would be left off without a great deal of fanfare.
Paul missed 17 of Houston’s 45 games, which is probably the culprit of this snub. He is still an utterly tremendous player on a per-game basis, though, and Paul’s transition to second banana alongside James Harden in Houston has been both impressive and, at least in some ways, predictable based on his skill set.
The Hornets are 19-26, which is why Walker isn’t going to the All-Star Game. Charlotte’s struggles aren’t his fault, though, as the team has been quite effective when he plays and ghastly every time he leaves the floor. Few expected Walker to make it based on the factors in play, but he’s deserving on the surface.
The Heat entered Tuesday evening with a 27-20 record and sole possession of fourth place in the East. Miami put that performance together without the benefit of a true star and, plainly, Whiteside makes the list by default given his big-time counting numbers. He has a PER north of 25 that is good for third in the conference and, even with real warts to his game, Whiteside has many fans around the Association.
Williams doesn’t have the traditional All-Star profile and, as noted above, the West is treacherous. Still, he is the biggest reason that the Clippers are back in the playoff race.
Williams has been utterly ridiculous lately. In December, the 31 year old averaged 25.2 points per game and shot 42.7 percent from three. In January, Williams upped that to 29.2 (!) points per game on 47/40/94 shooting, which created legitimate All-Star momentum
In the end, he didn’t make it and Lou Will joined Drummond in voicing his displeasure.
Some of these snubs are actually snubs whereas others plainly fell victim to circumstance. That won’t stop the conversation from buzzing and this sextet represents the best of the best that fell short.