The 2023 NBA All-Star Game selections are set. Let's take a look at who will be joining Team Antetokounmpo and Team LeBron later this month in Utah. And then let's complain about who will NOT be making the trip. It's time for NBA All-Star snubs to get their day in court.
From the East, we've got Joel Embiid, Jaylen Brown, Bam Adebayo, Julius Randle, DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday and Tyrese Haliburton.
A few of these names come as no surprise. Embiid should probably be starting; Brown is joining Jayson Tatum as the best scoring duo in the league; and Adebayo has kept the Heat in playoff contention despite Miami suffering a host of injuries.
Jalen Brunson Snubbed?
Some will argue that Jalen Brunson has played as much of a role in the New York Knicks' success as Randle and that perhaps he should be getting his first All-Star nod.
Other names you might expect to see include Trae Young, James Harden, Jimmy Butler and Pascal Siakam. Butler probably misses the cut due to the number of games played. Young is averaging 27 points and 10 assists per game, but the Hawks are a .500 team and perhaps the voters did not feel compelled to reward such consistent mediocrity with an All-Star selection. Overall team performance may have kept Siakam off as well, because it is hard to argue with 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists per game for the Toronto forward.
The name that may be a head-scratcher on the surface is Holiday. His counting stats are not as shiny as those of some players left off the All-Star roster, but his defense and intangibles are widely respected among the NBA literati. With Milwaukee sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference, there may be a belief that it deserves two All-Stars, whereas the Knicks -- fighting to stay out of the play-in game -- only get one. Fair? Maybe not.
For me, Brunson is probably the next guy on. But I wouldn't argue with Siakam.
Western Conference Reserves
From the West, we've got Paul George, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jaren Jackson Jr., Damian Lillard, Lauri Markkanen, Ja Morant and Domantas Sabonis.
Jackson, Markkanen and Gilgeous-Alexander are all making their All-Star debuts. Some think Shai deserved a spot as a starter, as he's had a truly breakout season -- averaging almost 31 points per game to go along with 5.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds. Let's just hope Oklahoma City plans to keep competing this season instead of shutting him down with a phantom injury in an attempt to improve its draft position.
Jackson and Morant both represent the second-place Memphis Grizzlies, despite the allegations that Jackson's defensive stats are juiced by the home team's scorekeepers. The Grizz seem to have turned the corner from "fun team of the future" to "actual contender." Having two players make the All-Star team seems to solidify that jump.
Sabonis will represent the resurgent Sacramento Kings in Utah. Maybe the Haliburton-for-Sabonis trade wasn't so bad for the Kings after all? Haliburton is making his All-Star debut for the Pacers, and both are in the All-Star Game this year.
De'Aaron Fox Got Robbed, But He's Not Alone
A few names jump out as missing from this list. Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox is averaging 24 points and six assists, and the Kings sit in third place in the West. There is an argument that he may be more deserving of a spot than Paul George. Their numbers are fairly comparable, and George has played in 10 fewer games than Fox has.
Others pointed out that Aaron Gordon of the Denver Nuggets may be a deserving candidate. His numbers don't exactly jump off the page, but he's provided a steady offensive option and excellent defense for the first-place Nuggets; and if the Grizzlies are getting two All-Stars, perhaps the Nuggets should as well.
Anthony Edwards is averaging 25 points and six rebounds per game in 54 contests for the Timberwolves this season. After a relatively slow start to the season, Ant Man could certainly have made his first All-Star team this year. Minnesota's disappointing season may have cost him a spot.
Finally, there's a lot of outrage from Laker Nation that Anthony Davis will not be heading to Utah for All-Star weekend. To that outrage, I say: Dude has only played 28 games this year. That is simply not enough to qualify as an All-Star. The best ability is availability; and even though Davis is still a dominant force when he plays, he simply has not played consistently enough to warrant an All-Star nod. Also, giving two All-Star selections to the 12th-place Lakers would be obscene.
Stay mad, Lakers fans.
MORE: The Utah Jazz Might Be Cursed: A Deep Dive into the Sour Notes of Salt Lake City
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