2014 NBA All-Star Game

NBA All-Star Snubs 2014: Players Most Deserving of Prestigious Honor

Jan 11, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis (23) waits for play to begin against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Pelicans 110-107. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2014

The reserves for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game were announced on Thursday, Jan. 30, and there are a few players who will feel slighted by the coaches.

Bleacher Report tweeted out the seven players who made the final cut:

With only 12 players allowed on each team, there's always bound to be some deserving players who end up missing out. You can understand if they lose out to somebody who had a better All-Star resume.

This year, though, there were a few quizzical inclusions and exclusions. Among those exclusions, these three players stand out the most.

 

Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers

Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

Two words: Joe Johnson.

Three words: Joe freaking Johnson?!

How in the world does Joe Johnson get on the Eastern Conference All-Star team and not Lance Stephenson?

The Indiana Pacers have the best record in the East, while Stephenson has more assists, rebounds and steals per 36 minutes than Johnson. He also owns a higher PER (15.9 vs. 14.9).

And yet, that's not good enough to get in ahead of the Brooklyn Nets guard. Sure, Johnson has helped his team recover from that awful start, but does Stephenson not get rewarded for his team's record?

Matt Moore of CBSSports.com points out how the interpretation of the All-Star game differs between the coaches and the league:

Stephenson may yet have a lifeline, as Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel reported that Dwyane Wade may bow out of the game, leaving a spot open for the Pacers guard:

There's no reason to keep Stephenson off the East roster. He's got the numbers and is a solid contributor to the best team in the conference. In addition, he can thrill the fans with a couple of highlight-reel plays.

What more does he have to do to impress the East coaches?

 

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 28:  Head coach Monty Williams of the New Orleans Pelicans talks to Anthony Davis #23 during a break in the action against the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Quicken Loans Arena on January 28, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: Use
David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

How was Anthony Davis not on the West All-Stars? That seems to be the question many fans are asking.

Bleacher Report's Ethan Norof was in the camp that Davis should have been a surefire selection for the coaches:

This may not be an oversight for much longer. As Tim Bontemps of the New York Post points out, the New Orleans Pelicans big man would be a solid replacement for the injured Kobe Bryant:

Davis is one of the best big men in the league. He runs the floor well and plays at both ends. The Pelicans are a terrible defensive team, but little of that can be blamed on the second-year star. As Grantland's Zach Lowe wrote:

Opponents have hit only 45 percent of close shots when Davis is near the ball and the basket, per those data-tracking cameras, an above-average mark. He blocks a higher percentage of opponents’ shots than any player in the league; his arms should count as an extra player. The Pelicans’ rebounding falls apart without Davis on the floor, per NBA.com.

Plus, Davis has a PER of 26.8, which ties him with Kevin Love for fourth in the league heading into Thursday night's play.

In the end, he's probably getting in the All-Star Game, but it shouldn't come down to the fact that somebody had to get injured in order to make that happen.

 

Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 26:  Goran Dragic #1 of the Phoenix Suns dribbles the ball up court against the Cleveland Cavaliers at The Quicken Loans Arena on January 26, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by do
David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

If Goran Dragic played in the East, he'd be a lock for the All-Star Game and may even have been named as a starter.

Unfortunately for him, he's in the Western Conference, which features no shortage of talented guards.

Dragic leads the Phoenix Suns in scoring (19.7 points a game) and assists (6.1 a game). He also boasts a PER of 21.8, which is tops on the team. His defending has also been above average and certainly better than that of Damian Lillard and Tony Parker, both of whom were named as reserves.

Eric Bledsoe's injury looked like it might derail the Suns' season to a certain extent. However, the strong play of Dragic has helped Phoenix maintain a playoff place in the West.

It's unfortunate that Dragic wasn't rewarded for his play, because there's no telling if he'll be able to put another first half like this together again.

Of course, he's always an All-Star in the Suns' books:

That has to count for something, right?

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