The 2014 NBA All-Star Game is next month. A lot of talented players will get their chance to showcase their skills. But one person who may not be there is Arron Afflalo. Afflalo is quietly putting together a great year with the Orlando Magic. However, due to his team's record and the fact that he is not well known, he could miss the chance to play in the All-Star Game.
That would be a shame.
This season has been a breakout year for Afflalo. He had a career high of 43 points in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers (highlights from that particular game are in the video below).
He's also scored 30 points or more in four games thus far in 2013-14. While he's usually a career 10.7 points-per-game (PPG) shooter, this season he has been averaging 21.0 PPG.
Afflalo dramatically increased the number of assists per game from a career average of 1.9 to 4.0 assists. His rebounds per game have also increased from 3.0 to 4.5 this season.
A few weeks ago, Afflalo told John Denton of NBA.com that he would like to be considered for the All-Star Game due to the fact that he's been having a phenomenal year so far:
For one, it’s obvious I’m not one to push for fan votes. For me, it’s about team play, winning and it’s about the growth of my game and if I can get the respect of the coaches from that angle, it’s something that I would definitely appreciate. I’m not trying to outvote D-Wade and these guys who are constantly in the limelight. I’m more of a basketball purist, I love the game and hopefully that will get appreciated from a different angle.
The 28-year-old will probably be snubbed this year because he plays on a team with a terrible record. The Magic are second to last in the Eastern Conference. With a 10-25 record, there are not many coaches that will be looking at the Magic for top-tier talent.
Additionally, although Afflalo is recognized amongst Orlando fans, he is unfortunately not seen often on a national scale. Many coaches may not know him as well as they know other shooting guards. He is hardly written or mentioned in national sports news outlets because there are more popular shooting guards out there such as Dwyane Wade, Lance Stephenson, Jordan Crawford and Ray Allen.
But Afflalo should get a chance to play in the All-Star Game. He is ranked the No. 2 shooting guard in the East with a 18.79 player efficiency rating (PER). Wade is ranked No. 1 with a 22.74 PER. Afflalo is also ranked fourth in the conference with a .588 true shooting percentage.
Just because he isn't a big-name athlete who plays for a successful team doesn't mean that he shouldn't get the chance to play. In fact, Afflalo's value added to a team is 158.5, the second-best in the East among shooting guards, once again behind Wade (165.0).
If it weren't for Afflalo, the Magic's record would be whole lot worse. And it's time for the NBA to recognize what a key player he actually is.
All advanced statistics courtesy of ESPN's Hollinger stats.