Marc Gasol one-upped his brother, Pau, making the Western Conference All-Star team while Pau, four years his elder, wasn't tapped for the squad during a down year for the Los Angeles Lakers.
One must wonder if Rudy Gay should have joined him.
Marc Gasol certainly earned the spot on the Western Conference All-Star team. He's emerging as a premier all-around center. Gasol is fourth in blocks per game (2.2) and ninth in rebounds per game (10.2). Playing 37.8 minutes per game, seventh in the NBA and second among centers, he carries a large minute load for a big man.
Gasol's advanced metrics reinforce the idea that he is an emerging center. He's third in true shooting percentage (.617), fourth in effective field-goal percentage (.581) and defensive win shares (1.9), fifth in offensive rating (121.5) and 10th in win shares (3.8).
Gasol trails only Tyson Chandler and Dwight Howard in win shares among centers.
Also, Gasol is tied for sixth in double-doubles (14).
In his fourth season, Gasol has begun to turn the corner, setting career highs in scoring, rebounding, blocks per game, steals per game (1.1) and assists per game (2.7).
Gasol is turning into a major player, showing that he has earned his All-Star selection, but is he any more worthy than Rudy Gay?
Gay Should Be in the All-Star Game Along with Gasol
While Gasol has turned into one of the premier centers, Gay is just as deserving of an All-Star appearance.
Gay is powering the Grizzlies to playoff contention. He is playing hard, averaging the seventh most minutes per game (37.6), while keying the offense and aiding the defensive stand. Gay is eighth in steals per game (1.8) and ninth in defensive win shares.
Gay's primary offensive statistics don't jump off the page. He averages 18.7 points per game—25th in the NBA—while shooting 44.6 percent from the field.
Nonetheless, the Grizzlies offense runs through Gay. Gay makes scoring happen for a team that ranks 22nd in points per game. He pulls the Grizzlies in transition and carries the energy for the Grizzlies on offense. When opposing teams make poor plays on their end, Gay turns it into a slam dunk for the Grizzlies.
While most aren't amazed by a player who has only nine games through 26 with 20 points or more and none with 30 points, Gay sets off the highlight reels. He crosses defenders and throws it down. The Grizzlies run the fast break by his hand. Also, Gay has taken over scoring quite a few times, with 10 game-high scoring figures.
Further, Gay is steadier than Gasol between home and road splits. Gay shoots 1.2 percent better on the road than at home while scoring 0.2 points per game more at home, whereas Gasol, an infamously poor road performer, shoots four percent better and and scores 3.2 points per game more at home.
Conclusion: Gay Just Isn't Seen in the All-Star Picture
Gay isn't fortunate enough to be recognized in All-Star class. The NBA values high scorers and rewards players for selfish play, and Gay isn't that. He abides by the Grizzlies ethic, sharing the scoring load and playing selflessly. Obstinate players like Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki are rewarded for running to no avail while Gay loses out for rallying his team the right way.
The Western Conference All-Star roster reads like Golden Globe nominees. Players are thrown in the mix for their accomplishments, no matter if they're having All-Star years. Nowitzki and Tony Parker are selected in the autumn years of their career while players like Gay and James Harden are snubbed.
That's just as well. MVP votes, even if Gay's not among the top three receiving votes, represent a good consolation prize.