The Western Conference's starting five for the All-Star Game didn't play out exactly as expected. Instead of Dwight Howard earning a bid in the frontcourt, he was supplanted by Kevin Love, who has been tearing it up for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Problem is, LaMarcus Aldridge is still waiting to hear his name called, as Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin took the other two spots that the Portland Trail Blazers power forward could've filled. And he didn't exactly take kindly to such an omission.
A snub, you could call it.
Aldridge did two things to prove the All-Star voters (i.e. the fans) wrong in the immediate aftermath.
"I've kind of gotten used to those things happening," the Rip City power forward told Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge, before continuing with the following:
Everybody around me was more upset than me. I came in tonight and [Nicolas Batum] was pretty fired up about it. My mom was pretty heated about it. Me, I was like, 'OK, this is happening again.' I think I definitely should have been a starter. But it's over with now, basically.
It's hard to get more definitive than firmly declaring you should be a starter, but his performance against the Denver Nuggets hours after the All-Star names were read off spoke volumes.
As most children hear from their parents, actions speak louder than words.
Aldridge exploded for a career-high 44 points, and he added 13 rebounds, five assists and two blocks to the final tally. It was one of the best nights of his incredibly impressive season, especially because he outscored Denver 15-14 in the fourth quarter and was Rip City's sole source of offense for the final nine minutes.
So, is he right? Should he have been a starter?
B/R's Grant Hughes thinks so, writing, "With only three frontcourt spots available, somebody was bound to get left out. It just seems especially unfair to Aldridge."
He obviously wasn't going to take away Durant's starting spot, seeing as the red-hot member of the Oklahoma City Thunder has emerged as the prohibitive MVP favorite. But you could make an argument that he deserves a selection over either Griffin or Love.
Griffin will be the popular name to nominate as the misfit in the starting five, simply because there's a ridiculous notion that he's massively overrated thanks to his dunks taking supremacy over his all-around improvements in many media circles and highlight packages.
But if anything, it's Love who should've been pushed to the bench.
Who should Aldridge have replaced in the starting lineup?
Not only are the Minnesota Timberwolves lagging well behind both the Los Angeles Clippers and Thunder, but Love's defense and lack of efficiency from the field also leave him lagging ever so slightly behind his LAC counterpart. It's quite telling that Griffin has actually gotten better since Chris Paul was injured.
Aldridge will certainly get into the All-Star game as a reserve, and if Kobe Bryant elects not to play—his inclusion in the starting five shows the ridiculous nature of fan voting better than anything else—Portland head coach Terry Stotts could move his power forward into the starting five.
But that will be a more empty honor, especially because Aldridge belonged ahead of both power forwards who received more votes than him.