NBA All-Star Game 2012: Most Likely Snub at Each Position
The NBA All-Star starters were announced a couple days ago, as picked by the fans, which always comes with a couple surprises. The main surprise in this year's All-Star game being that Blake Griffin was voted to start over Kevin Love.
But now it is time to choose the reserves, and each year's All-Star rosters have their own set of snubs. Although coaches vote on reserves, it isn't always a fair system. Often time larger name veterans will get voted in despite having an underachieving season, and that is why deserving players such as LaMarcus Aldridge, Monta Ellis and even Kevin Love (until Yao Ming's injury) were snubbed from the 2011 All-Star game.
Another factor that tends to impact rosters is always the record of the team, another way in which there are usually some snubs. Tim Duncan barely averaged 14 points and nine rebounds last season, but the fact that the Spurs were dominating their opponents made it so that he was taken and LaMarcus Aldridge, who was averaging 22 points and nine rebounds was snubbed.
Here are the most likely snubs at each position.
Point Guard: Steve Nash
You would think that the 37-year-old point guard would start wearing down at this point, but that has been far from the case. Nash is currently averaging 14.7 points and 9.9 assists a game for the Phoenix Suns, and he is leading the league in assists for the third consecutive season.
Nash definitely deserves a spot on an All-Star roster. He is just shy of averaging 10 assists despite Marcin Gortat and Jared Dudley being the team's best scoring options, and he has been a phenomenal shooter, something that most people don't realize about the pass-first point guard. In fact, Nash's 55 percent field-goal percentage puts him in the top five in the league and first among point guards. Throw in the fact that he is shooting 41 percent from behind the arc and 86 percent from the free-throw line and you have one of the best shooters in the NBA.
Unfortunately, Nash is likely to once again be snubbed from the team just as he was last year. His team has failed to compete and holds a miserable 8-14 record, making them the 13th seed in the West. It definitely isn't Nash's fault that the management has failed to surround him with good players, but he will most likely take the toll for it and be overlooked when coaches vote for reserves. Russell Westbrook is expected to be on the team, and Nash will probably lose out to a guard on a winning team such as Kyle Lowry, Ty Lawson or Tony Parker.
Shooting Guard: Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson may never be able to live up to what Atlanta fans expect of him with his big contract, but he has been having a very solid season this year.
The shooting guard is putting up 18.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists a game and has been a huge reason why the Hawks are winning despite being without Al Horford. The Hawks are currently 16-7, good enough for the fifth seed in the West and Johnson has had some great games as of late, including six of his last 10 games coming with over 25 points.
Johnson was on the Eastern conference All-Star squad last season, but you can't be so sure this year. For one, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo are both great point guards and are both likely to make the team. That means that Johnson will be fighting with a few other guards for the last guard spot on the team, and the East is stacked with backcourt talent.
In theory, Johnson should be able to beat out the other guards for a final spot. But he could miss out if a more established yet underachieving veteran such as Ray Allen is taken, or if another point guard is chosen and Brandon Jennings joins the team.
Small Forward: Rudy Gay
After being injured for a good portion of last season, Rudy Gay is now healthy and has been having a very good season. He's getting 18.3 points and 6.5 rebounds a game as well as getting 1.7 steals an outing. Although the Grizzlies don't currently have a playoff seed, they have managed to get by without Zach Randolph and maintain a 12-11 record, and Gay is a big reason they've been able to stay afloat.
Gay is also having some very good games as of late, including scoring more than 20 points seven times in his last 10 games and scoring in double digits nine out of his past 10 outings. He is also shooting 37 percent from behind the arc.
Although Gay is worthy of joining the West's squad, it most likely won't happen. Unlike the East, the Western Conference is stacked with frontcourt talent and between Love, Aldridge, Lee, Nowitzki, Gasol and others all competing for spots, Gay joining the team is unlikely.
Power Forward: Paul Millsap
Paul Millsap has quietly been having an All-Star caliber season. Unfortunately for him, there are so many good forwards in the West that nobody has noticed.
Millsap is averaging 17 points and 9.3 rebounds a game this season, as well as adding 1.6 steals and .8 blocks a game. He is shooting a very good 52 percent from the field, 31 percent from three-point range and has led his team to the seventh seed in the West and a 12-9 record.
With those numbers, Millsap is definitely deserving to make the team but there is just way too much competition among forwards. After the starters, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge are the leading reserves among forwards. After that, a number of different players could join the team.
David Lee and Al Jefferson are both having seasons rather similar to Millsap and could possibly make the team. In addition to them, it is probable that a veteran will be voted in, whether they deserve it or not. That could be anyone from Nowitzki to Pau Gasol to even Tim Duncan. With all these guys competing for just a couple spots, Millsap will likely be snubbed.
Center: Marcin Gortat
Marcin Gortat was first noticed immediately after being traded to the Phoenix Suns last December. After playing behind Dwight Howard for years and getting very few minutes, Gortat had a great opportunity to play in Phoenix and performed very well, averaging 13 points and 9.3 rebounds a game after the trade.
This year, Gortat is absolutely on fire. He averages 15.3 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a game, and he leads the league in field-goal percentage. He does that all in just 31 minutes of play, and his stats suggest he would be better than Andrew Bynum if they were given the same minutes. He has clearly established himself as the future center for the Suns and thrives in the pick-and-roll with Steve Nash. He has scored in single digits just three times this whole season, and is currently has 14 straight games of 10 rebounds or more.
Unfortunately, Gortat is likely to miss the All-Star game, which will likely aggravate Suns fans. Marc Gasol is the probable backup center for the West and is putting up similar stats to Gortat despite playing eight more minutes a game on average.
But there are a couple main differences between Gasol and Gortat. The first is that Gasol is more well known. Marcin Gortat is relatively new to being a starter, and not many people know his name, which was clearly shown in the fan voting. Although the Grizzlies average only 200 more fans a game than the Suns, Gasol had double the votes as Gortat. Not all of those extra votes came from Memphis. It is just that Gortat hasn't established his name in the NBA yet.
The other reason Gortat will be snubbed is simply because the Suns are losing and the Grizzlies are not. The Suns are 8-14 whereas the Grizzlies are 12-11 even without Zach Randolph. It may be an unfair system considering that Gasol didn't single-handedly win all the games for Memphis, but it is the way the choosing process usually works. Gortat will be unfairly judged and will be snubbed from the upcoming game.