The massive talent imbalance between the Eastern and Western Conference has been one of the biggest stories of the NBA season. But the rules stipulate that each conference gets 12 spots in the 2014 All-Star Game, regardless of talent.
Players in the powerhouse Western Conference couldn't help but notice some of their deserving teammates will be left behind, while some weaker players will be donning Eastern Conference All-Star uniforms in New Orleans.
But no player went as far as San Antonio Spurs All-Star Tony Parker, who made a bold statement about the quality of both conferences, per the San Antonio Express-News' Jeff McDonald:
Parker on All-Star: You can make two teams out of the West. And the second team in the West could maybe beat the first team in the East.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) January 31, 2014
That's crazy talk...or is it? The West has perhaps the most talented non-All-Star in New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis. His exclusion was a borderline tragedy, according to Bleacher Report's Ethan Norof:
Anthony Davis: 20.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 3.3 blocks. 20 years old. Not an All-Star. What do these coaches watch? #Pelicans— Ethan Norof (@Mr_Norof) January 31, 2014
Let's do a little experiment and make a team from the top non-All-Stars in the Western Conference, rated by Basketball Reference win shares (WS), and see how it stacks up against the East's starters:
Western Conference All-Stars Snub Team
- DeAndre Jordan: 6.3 WS
- Goran Dragic: 6.1 WS
- Anthony Davis: 5.9 WS
- David Lee: 5.8 WS
- Mike Conley: 5.4 WS
- Total: 29.5 WS
Eastern Conference All-Star Starters
- LeBron James: 9.0 WS
- Paul George: 7.4 WS
- Carmelo Anthony: 6.3 WS
- Dwyane Wade: 3.1 WS
- Kyrie Irving: 3.8 WS
- Total: 29.6
Fascinating. Of course, Wade's win share total is down because he hasn't played much this year, but that total is shockingly close. It's hard to imagine a frontcourt of James, George and Anthony losing to anyone, but that West Snub frontcourt would have some impressive defensive potential with Jordan and Davis. And the West arguably has the edge in the backcourt, even if Wade is healthy (which is never guaranteed).
Even if the Snub Team couldn't beat the East's starters, it's hard to blame Tony Parker for sticking up for his Western brethren.