According to Jody Genessy of the Deseret News, players and coaches expressed their thoughts about not having an All-Star for the second consecutive year. Coach Tyrone Corbin gave his team a note of confidence after their performance midway through the season.
It’s disappointing. I think if you look at the work that Al [Jefferson] and even Paul [Millsap] and some ways Gordon (Hayward) at times, they should be considered....We’ve grown as a team. Their numbers mean something to how we have a chance to be successful or not. I think you can compare them to the other guys at their position or their spots. They should be considered.
It's definitely interesting that some small-market teams without a big name just don't get recognized enough.
True, this Jazz team is rather well-balanced without a clear-cut leader, but a player like Al Jefferson is putting up 17.1 PPG, 9.8 RPG and 2.1 APG with a PER of 20.6 (per Basketball Reference). He's, arguably, the best player on the seventh-best team in a very competitive Western Conference.
For comparison, LaMarcus Aldridge was chosen as a reserve, but his Portland Trail Blazers are struggling to stay in the playoff race. He registers 20.7 PPG, 8.8 RPG and 2.5 APG with a lower PER than Jefferson (19.6). He's also playing five more minutes per game than Jefferson.
Jefferson: "I think my name should be in the (All-Star) mix, too." Any All-Stars on Jazz? Al: "I think the whole team should make it, man."— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) January 23, 2013
I'm not sure about the "whole team" making the All-Star team, but Jefferson is definitely trying to make a point that the Jazz are playing great, but still aren't getting the recognition they deserve.
According to Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune, Randy Foye agrees that Jefferson should've been considered.
I think he's up there. He's played against all of the best and he's held his own or he did what he had to do against them.
Jefferson also added that he always thought he deserved to be an All-Star in previous years, but now he just tries to forget about it if he doesn't get selected again.
I do not get my hopes up for it no more.... I used to be excited about it, my first, second year in Minnesota I got excited. So to keep me from being disappointed, I don't think about it. If it happens, I'm thankful. If it don't, I'll get some rest, that's the way I think about it.
Of course, it's every little kid's dream to play in the All-Star game with some of the biggest names in sports.
But judging from Jefferson's statement, it looks like he lost all hope of getting a spot in the All-Star game when he got snubbed year after year while putting up great numbers.
Stephen Curry is probably the biggest All-Star snub this year, but Jefferson also deserves some respect. It's evident that others believed he should have made it as well.
Chad Ford's West All-Star Reserves, West:Harden, Westbrook, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Al Jefferson, Marc Gasol, David Lee— warriorsworld (@warriorsworld) January 23, 2013
At the other end of the spectrum, Gordon Hayward took it as a challenge upon himself to make the All-Star game.
Gordon Hayward said he is motivated by draft-classmate Paul George's All Star selection. "It just means there’s a lot more work to be done.”— Bill Oram (@tribjazz) January 25, 2013
Although Pacers forward Paul George is clearly having an All-Star year and leading his team to a 26-17 record, it's great that Hayward realizes he must keep improving and work harder after being inspired by his fellow draft-mate.
Hopefully he'll have a bigger opportunity to show what he's capable of next season.
On the other hand, Paul Millsap wasn't impressed.
Paul Millsap wasn't expecting Jazz to get an All-Star: "I don’t think we played our best basketball all year, nobody on this team really."— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) January 25, 2013
Actually, it's kind of funny that Millsap mentioned they're not playing their best basketball. The Jazz's four-game winning streak is tied with their longest winning streak this season so far. Last season, they went 20-22 through 42 games and on the outside of the playoff race, but this season they're 23-19 with the seventh seed.
It seems like Millsap and Jefferson have completely opposite personalities.
Jefferson acts like an optimist who's certainly excited at the Jazz's level of play this season, and probably wouldn't be surprised if there were multiple All-Stars on the team.
Millsap has more of the "we haven't proved anything yet" attitude and presents himself like a guy who continues to work hard knowing that there is a large number of teams and players better than the Jazz right now.