With so much talent and so few spots, there’s always going to be a heated debate over which players deserve the honor of playing in the NBA All-Star Game.
And this year is certainly no different.
The All-Star voting still leans a bit toward popularity in terms of the starting lineup as fans account for 50% of the vote to determine the 10 starters. Players and a media panel each make up the other 50% of that selection process, while the league’s head coaches pick the reserves. Captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo then held a draft from that player pool to select their respective teams.
So who likely feels the most wronged ahead of Sunday’s star-studded showcase in Chicago? We’ll attempt to answer that question and break down a couple of the other top players who didn’t get the invite.
Here are Stats Perform’s biggest All-Star Game snubs:
BRADLEY BEAL (WASHINGTON WIZARDS)
With John Wall out this season, Beal is quietly having a career year while helping the Wizards hang around the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The veteran guard ranks fifth in the league with a 29.1 points per game – on pace to shatter his career high of 25.6 last season – despite attempting far fewer shots (965) than James Harden (1,164), Damian Lillard (1,067) and Trae Young (1,018), who rank first, third and fourth, respectively.
Beal, who is also averaging a career-high 6.3 assists, has easily been the Wizards’ MVP as he ranks seventh in the league with a 33.6 usage percentage (USG%) among players with at least 1,000 minutes. His previous career high was 28.4 in 2018-19 and only Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Harden, Young, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard have higher USG% among All-Star selections this season. Beal is probably the most deserving player not to make it considering the level of production he has achieved and the load he has carried.
Among players with 1,000 minutes
DEVIN BOOKER (PHOENIX SUNS)
Booker has been a bucket machine since he entered the league, and many people expected him to get his first All-Star nod this season. That’s because Booker ranks 10th in the league at 26.4 points per game and third in true shooting percentage (.628) – higher than any other player selected for the All-Star Game – among players with at least 1,000 minutes and a 20 USG%.
He also leads an improving Suns team with a 115.7 offensive rating, a 29.7 USG% and a 37.1 free throw rate.
Among players with 1,000 minutes and a 20 USG%
KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS (MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES)
While the Wolves are having a tough season, Towns has not missed a step. The 6-foot-11 big man is averaging a career-high 26.5 points, shooting over 50% for a fifth straight season and hitting 41.2% on a career-high 7.9 attempts per game from the 3-point line. Only Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks (43.9) has a higher 3-point percentage among All-Star selections, meaning he’s shooting better from behind the arc than any guard chosen.
His true shooting percentage (TS%) of 64.2 ranks first among all NBA players with at least 1,000 minutes and USG% of at least 20. Only Rudy Gobert (69.2), who has not attempted a 3-pointer all season, has a better TS% among All-Star selections. Towns, Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis are the only two players to average 25 points while totaling at least 375 rebounds, 145 assists, 30 steals and 40 blocks.
Players with at least 375 rebounds, 145 assists, 40 blocks and 30 steals
ZACH LAVINE (CHICAGO BULLS)
LaVine has given Bulls fans something to cheer about during an otherwise disappointing season, but he was hoping to represent the host city in the All-Star Game. He ranks 11th in the league at a career-best 25 points per game while averaging career highs in 3-pointers made (3) and rebounds (4.8). Though LaVine’s USG% (31.7) is behind only Antetokounmpo (38), Doncic (37.5), Harden (36.8), Young (35.3), Westbrook (34.3) and Joel Embiid (32.2) among All-Star selections, Mitchell (10.5) and Lillard (10.8) are the only All-Star guards with a better turnover rate (12.9).
LaVine is certainly putting up numbers worthy of an All-Star, especially considering the way he’s carried a Bulls team that’s been missing injured starters Otto Porter Jr., Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr.
Other notable snubs:
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons-Cleveland Cavaliers)
DeMar DeRozan (San Antonio Spurs)
Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)
Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers)
Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets)