Now that we have the 2016 NBA All-Star rosters set, we can discuss who was overlooked for a spot in the star-studded matchup. Everyone can lay claim to a player on their team, but we will highlight the five biggest snubs.
Dwane Casey: Head Coach
While most people will focus on players getting snubbed from the All-Star game, Dwane Casey has been a terrific coach these past few seasons, developing the Raptors into a well oiled machine, finally looking like a contender for the Eastern Conference. The Raptors are second in the Eastern Conference(30-15), and his resume is much more impressive than Tyronn Lue, who has just started his head coaching career. Although Casey is a very humble man, this disrespect will help give him the extra fuel to make the Raptors a scary squad in the second half of the season, and come playoff time.
DeAndre Jordan: Forward
The All-Star game is suppose to be entertaining for the fans, and what energizes the crowd better than highlight reel blocks and dunks. Jordan has made a name for himself for his inability to make free throws consistently, but in an All-Star game this part of the game is rarely used. The Western Conference is loaded with talent at the forward position, but with a game you are searching for highlights, LaMarcus Aldridge maybe the odd man out, and his season has been less than spectacular, especially in big games. Aldridge is still a fantastic basketball player, but not deserving of an All-Star bid this season.
Damian Lillard: Guard
Damian Lillard is obviously the biggest snub from the 2016 All-Star game. Although he is playing on a losing record team, Lillard has helped carry the Trail Blazers into contention for a final playoff spot. He is posting career highs across the board. Although this is Kobe’s last season in the NBA, we need to get to the point where the All-Star game is about talent and production, not just a popularity contest for the league’s former superstars. Lillard is also not playing for the USA for the 2016 Olympics, some say it is for the shoe sponsorship, some say he was snubbed, we can only speculate. Lillard will use both of these snubs to fuel a continued dominating season performances, and maybe the extra fuel the Trail Blazers need to make the playoffs.
Dirk Nowitzki: Forward
If we are electing aging superstars to a game, like Kobe Bryant, than Dirk Nowitzki needs to be on the All-Star roster. Nowitzki and Zaza Pachulia have formed a great frontcourt, which has ascended the Mavericks into the middle of the playoff standings in the Western Conference. Even at the age of 37, Nowitzki is averaging 17.6 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game, while shooting nearly 45% from the field, and nearly 40% from three. Nowitzki has been a leader on and off the court his entire career, and his numbers are better than Bryant and Aldridge, leaving us with a bad taste in our mouth of what could have been with Nowitzki in the All-Star game.
Kemba Walker: Guard
Most people are concerned with the likes of Pau Gasol for Eastern Conference snub, but I think the frontcourt was perfectly set for the Eastern Conference. Gasol does have a claim, but Kemba Walker has been playing excellent, and no one is talking about him. Every single stat has improved for Walker so far this season, and although he is playing for an inconsistent Hornet’s squad, his talent cannot be overlooked. His stats are similar to Kyle Lowry, and better than Dwyane Wade and John Wall. Not having Walker over the likes of these two showcase how much of a popularity contest this game really is.
By: Mac Crowe, @Mac_Truck17