NBA All-Star Game: Top 5 Snubs of 2011
The 2011 NBA All-Star rosters are in, and both teams, as always, are stacked. But again, as always, there are some deserving people that were left off the rosters.
The teams look like this:
East (starters first): LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Amar'e Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, Ray Allen, Chris Bosh, Kevin Garnett, Al Horford, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo
West (starters first): Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Yao Ming, Tim Duncan, Mano Ginobili, Pau Gasol, Blake Griffin, Dirk Nowitzki, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams
Now, just to clarify, when I say snubs, I mean either players that deserved to get in over players that did or just players that have had definite All-Star-caliber seasons but for whom there are just not enough roster spots. The injured Yao Ming will obviously not be playing, so most likely one of the snubs mentioned here will take his spot.
No. 5: Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix Suns
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I'm not sure who he would get in over, but Nash is definitely deserving of an All-Star nod this year. He's averaging 17 points and 11 assists this year, and without him, the Suns would be nowhere near the 23-24 record they're at.
Nash makes everyone around him a better basketball player and is also a great shooter. He's currently having the second best shooting year of his career, hitting 52.6 percent of his shots from the field.
With the big offseason losses the Suns suffered, no one really expected them to do too much this year. Sure, 23-24 doesn't look great, but they would probably have about 10 to 12 wins without Nash.
Currently, the Suns sit at 10th in the very tough Western Conference, but they are only two games behind Portland, and they should continue to contend for the No. 8 seed mostly because of the stellar play from Nash.
No. 4: Raymond Felton, PG, New York Knicks
Raymond Felton has turned in a career-best year so far. I would give him the nod over Ray Allen. Allen has had a decent year, but the whole team in Boston is stacked.
They both average just over 17 ppg, but Felton has almost nine assists per game to Allen's three. Sure, that results a lot from Felton being the point guard in a fast-paced offense and Allen playing on a defensive team that also features Rajon Rondo, but that doesn't mean it should be ignored.
Felton has been a godsend for the Knicks, who needed a good point guard that could run Mike D'Antoni's system the right way. Without a good point guard to run it, the system doesn't work all that well. Felton has played great with Amar'e Stoudemire so far to form a very formidable duo in the NBA.
The Knicks are 25-23 and are currently the No. 6 seed in the East, in large part to Felton's play.
No. 3: LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, Portland Trail Blazers
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LaMarcus Aldridge has been the key to the Trail Blazers' season so far. I would give Aldridge the nod over Tim Duncan.
Duncan notched his All-Star appearance this year as a "lifetime achievement award." Fans tend to think about how great of a career Duncan has had, and that's why he was voted in this year. Don't get me wrong—he's had a good year, but his numbers are not Duncan-esque.
Aldridge, meanwhile, has put up Duncan-esque numbers this year, averaging over 21 ppg and nine rpg. Aldridge has six games this year with over 30 points and has notched 23 double-doubles.
The Trail Blazers are 26-23 and currently sitting in eighth place in the West. I think they could easily be in 10th or 11th place without Aldridge. With the oft-injured Brandon Roy not being able to stay on the court, Aldridge has really taken over the team and carried the Trail Blazers to some wins recently.
The Blazers have had a bad recent history with players not being able to stay on the court, and it almost seems like they're cursed. Let's hope nothing happen to LaMarcus Aldridge because he has a very bright future ahead of him.
No. 2: Kevin Love, PF, Minnesota Timberwolves
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This one probably won't be a snub for long, as Love will most likely get the nod for the injured Yao Ming, but he shouldn't have had to wait for that.
Love has had a sensational year, averaging over 21 ppg and 15.5 rpg. He's been a stat machine all year long, including getting the first 30-30 game in the NBA since Moses Malone 28 years ago. Love has also put up 43 double-doubles this year, including 34 straight.
The Timberwolves clearly aren't a very good team, as they sit at 11-37 and last in the West, but this is no fault of Love's. He's shown up in each and every game this year and has only had a couple bad games.
He'll most likely end up being included in the All-Star Game, but he should have been voted in from the start. You really have to love this guy's game (pun intended).
No. 1: Monta Ellis, SG, Golden State Warriors
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This is hands-down the biggest snub in my opinion. Ellis has had a ridiculous year so far, averaging 25.1 ppg, good for sixth best in the NBA and third best in the West, behind only Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant. While doing that, he also manages to dish out 5.6 assists per game.
He's currently shooting a career-best 36.2 percent from three-point land, up four percent from his career average. He's knocking down 1.6 three-pointers per game.
Ellis gave a preview of his season in his first game, going off for 46 points in a win against the Rockets. Monta has since added two more 40-point games and has 12 games with 30 or more points.
Golden State is 21-27, but it is only 4.5 games out of the No. 8 seed, and Ellis is poised to lead a charge for it.