Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports
One man's All-Star spot is another man's snub.
This year's edition won't be any different in that regard. Just about everyone the coaches picked to fill out the rosters deserves to go to Houston, though not without some griping and second-guessing.
The Western Conference team is missing a pair of pivotal players for playoff contenders in Marc Gasol and Stephen Curry.
Gasol was likely passed over in favor of Memphis Grizzlies teammate Zach Randolph. Z-Bo's stats (16.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists) certainly pop more than Gasol's (13.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists).
But to focus too intently on the numbers is to ignore Gasol's underlying impact on both ends of the floor.
His skills as a passer and mid-range shooter make his front-court partnership with Randolph, a fellow slow-foot, work beautifully despite the new dictates of the wide-open NBA. Gasol is also the anchor of Memphis' second-ranked defense and should be in the running for Defense Player of the Year as a result.
Curry, for his part, has been the best player for the resurgent Golden State Warriors. He's shooting a sizzling 45.1 percent from three to go along with his team-best 20.9 points, 6.6 assists and 1.7 steals. The dude can flat-out knock 'em down and would have been a perfect choice to compete in the three-point contest.
Not to mention he's the best and most important player on the Warriors, and that includes two-time All-Star David Lee. Even Warriors head coach Mark Jackson was up in arms about it:
The most egregious snub of all, though, may well be in the Eastern Conference.
Brook Lopez certainly deserved a spot on his own merits. He's tops among centers in scoring (18.6 points) on solid 52.1 percent shooting.
Better yet, Lopez, once thought to be defensively challenged, is boarding (7.4 rebounds) and challenging shots (2.1 blocks) surprisingly well for a big lug with a "soft" approach. He also happens to sport the fourth-highest Player Efficiency Rating (PER) in the NBA, per ESPN.
Worse still, with Lopez, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson all denied, the Brooklyn Nets, currently the third seed in the East, will send nary a representative to Houston.