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NBA All-Star Game 2014: The Biggest Snubs

Billy Lennon |
February 6, 2014 | 9:27 a.m. PST

Staff Writer


Andre Drummond will be an All-Star sooner rather than later. (Creative Commons)
Andre Drummond will be an All-Star sooner rather than later. (Creative Commons)
Every year, there are a few NBA All-Star surprises, along with snubs that will be watching the fun weekend from home. Here were five of the biggest snubs in each conference. 


Lance Stephenson- Indiana Pacers

Stephenson is the prototypical “glue” guy on a team full of glue guys. He’s the best rebounding shooting guard in the league, has made great strides on his perimeter jumper and leads the league in triple doubles with four.  He averages 14.2 points per game on 50 percent shooting in a slow offense along with 7.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists. He also sports the fifth-best defensive rating in the Eastern Conference. Lance himself has admitted to being angry about the snub, and who can blame him with this phenomenal campaign video made on Lance’s behalf by an anonymous fan.  I can’t wait to see the campaign next year, Sir Lancealot. The early leader in the Most Improved Player race has a good chance to make the team going forward. 

Arron Afflalo- Orlando Magic

It's unfortunate that Arron Afflalo is trapped in the basketball wasteland that is Orlando with extremely limited exposure, because he is having an outstanding season serving as Orlando’s night-in and night-out first-scoring option. Despite being the primary focus of every defense he’s faced this season, Arron has been stellar, averaging 20 points per game on 47 percent shooting, including 42 percent from three-point land.  He dropped 43 points back in December, the third-best mark in the league by a guy not named Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love or Stephen Curry (though Terrence Ross certainly isn’t on too many All-Star ballots). 

Sadly, America has forgotten Orlando still has a franchise, assuming Orlando faded away into nothing after Shaq, T-Mac and Dwight abandoned the Florida swamps for greener pastures. If they hadn't, we’d be probably be seeing “Spell Check” Afflalo helping out the Eastern Conference’s cause with corner three’s and top-shelf perimeter defense. They will need all the help they can get.

Kyle Lowry- Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have been one of the biggest surprises in the East this season, due largely in part to the stellar play of point guard Kyle Lowry.  While sporting a 20.43 Player Efficiency Rating (PER) that ranks ninth in the East and first amongst point guards, Lowry and Demar DeRozan have led the Raptors to a high standing in the miserable Eastern Conference. 

Lowry averages 16.8 points and 7.6 assists while playing ball-hawk defense. He has also significantly stepped his game up since the Raptors traded Rudy Gay. Despite the acquisition of last year's NBA assist leader Greivis Vasquez, Lowry has averaged 18.3 points and 8.2 assists since December 1, proving he can shoulder a bigger load than he’s been given in past seasons. 

Andre Drummond- Detroit Pistons

Drummond ranks fifth in the East in PER, while also leading the league in rebounds, offensive rebound rate and field goal percentage, shooting an astounding 61 percent from the field. Even though he is a horrific free-throw shooter, his his adjusted FG percentage is actually third-best in the league behind Kyle Korver and LeBron James.  Though he seems to have deserved a spot this year, he plays for a bad team with even worse chemistry. Despite this, Drummond has all the physical tools to be a perennial All-Star candidate. Something tells me we won’t have to wait much longer to see Baby Shaq find a spot on the Eastern Conference’s team.  

Al Jefferson- Charlotte Bobcats

Like Lowry, Jefferson has also been the driving force of a team that has performed above low expectations. This Charlotte team has been much more solid defensively than most people would have anticipated, though much of that should be attributed to the high motor and tenacity of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Their offense has looked slow, especially when running through Jefferson in the low post. But they've been reasonably efficient, and the Cats are currently eighth in the Eastern Conference.  Jefferson has the seventh-most win shares in the East, and has especially stepped it up of late, averaging 23.9 points and 11.3 rebounds in the month of January alone. 

Honorable Mentions: Kemba Walker, Michael Carter-Williams, Luol Deng, Brandon Jennings

Goran Dragic has been superb in 2014. (Creative Commons)
Goran Dragic has been superb in 2014. (Creative Commons)

Anthony Davis- New Orleans Pelicans

Davis has missed a few games (fewer than All-Star Chris Paul though) and he plays for the subpar Pelicans. I find these to be the only reasons why he could have possibly been left off the team this year, as his season has been tremendous on both ends of the floor.  He is third in the West in win shares, while also leading the league in blocks at 3.3 per game. He impacts shots at the rim more effectively than Roy Hibbert, Joakim Noah and Dwight Howard. He has also dramatically improved the finer qualities of his game, such as his face-up arsenal, his offensive and defensive rebounding, as well as his back to the basket post play.  

The scary thing to consider with Davis is that his offensive game is still pretty raw with much room for improvement, and he has the frame to put on some more weight.  Davis is the biggest snub on this list, as the numbers he’s putting up right now would put him on a short list of big men all time who have accomplished such feats for an entire season (think Mourning, Shaq, Olajuwon and Kareem). It’s crazy to think that one of the top-five candidates in the MVP voting won’t be playing in this year's All-Star game. Fortunately for Pelicans fans, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing much more of The Brow at plenty of future All-Star weekends.

DeMarcus Cousins- Sacramento Kings

If Anthony Davis is the biggest no-doubt snub on this list, then Boogie is a close second. Both of the big men have put up stellar efficiency numbers, as they are fourth and fifth respectively in the Western Conference’s PER ladder. Cousins has been an offensive machine this season, putting much of the talk regarding his apparent lack of commitment and character to rest. This has resulted in Cousins becoming the most automatic 20-10 guy in the league, while also dramatically improving his passing and his defensive play. Granted, his defense still leaves a bit to be desired, but he has definitely played his way into the All-Star game this year.  The Brow and Boogie got robbed. 

Isaiah Thomas- Sacramento Kings

It’s been a tale of two halves for Isaiah Thomas, who originally was behind Greivis Vasquez on the Kings’ depth chart. After averaging just 27 minutes a game through the first 18 games of the season, Thomas has averaged 37.5 mpg since General Greivis was traded. He's posted 21.3 points per game with 7.1 assists compared to only 2.8 turnovers since taking over the starting role. Thomas looks to be the point guard of the future for Sacramento, an unlikely candidate considering they drafted him with the final pick in the 2011 draft.  He would be the first “Mr. Irrelevant” in NBA history to make an All-Star team, but will have to wait until next year. However, he has the look of a player who will probably fight for that title year-in and year-out for the foreseeable future, despite his diminutive stature.

Goran Dragic- Phoenix Suns 

Jeff Hornacek has led a team of overachieving misfits to the sixth spot in the vicious Western Conference. Who would have guessed that? 

Newly acquired Eric Bledsoe has come on stronger than expected. Miles Plumlee has been a surprising and energetic presence in the defensive post, while filling the hole left by Marcin Gortat’s absence. But, Bledsoe has been hurt and Plumlee is scoring just nine points per contest, leaving the keys to the team to Goran Dragic.  

The floor general has responded like a point guard that was trained by Steve Nash, putting up 20 points a game on 50 percent shooting. He also averages 6.3 assists and has a 22.30 PER so far this season. He has 8.9 win shares, and his outside jumper has improved dramatically, as has his ability to run a fast break, especially when Bledsoe has been on the court. He’s even shown the ability to take a mean punch to the face thanks to Nick Young. Give the man a spot!

DeAndre Jordan- Los Angeles Clippers

Credit must be given where it is due, and even though it hasn’t always been pretty (he's a  41.3 percent free-throw shooter) Jordan has done more to earn his massive paycheck this year than he ever has before. Doc Rivers has him averaging 11 additional minutes per game this season. Jordan has responded phenomenally, leading the league in rebounds and rebound rate, while also blocking 2.4 shots per game, good for third in the West.  He has managed to avoid foul trouble despite the extra minutes and is also shooting his standard 65 percent from the field on six “field-goal attempts” (easy dunks, put backs, nightmarish alley oops). However, that’s not an issue with all the mouths to feed in the high-powered Clipper offense. 

This season, DeAndre has been a great compliment to Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and company, providing the grit and toughness that has become a necessary staple of a successful team in this league. I think he deserves a ticket to New Orleans, and I’d bet you Brandon Knight would agree.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Conley Jr, Ty Lawson, Nikola Pekovic, Tim Duncan, Serge Ibaka, Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobli

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