Devin Booker on All-Star Snub: NBA Is Different Than Game I Fell in Love with

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2020

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, handles the ball ahead of Memphis Grizzlies forward Kyle Anderson in the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

Suffice it to say Devin Booker isn't taking his All-Star snub very well and thinks it's representative of the changed state of NBA

Booker spoke to reporters Friday, a day after he was left off the Western Conference All-Star reserve selections, and said the league is "different" than the one he grew up with. 

"It was always a goal of mine [to be an All-Star], but it just reproves the point that the NBA is different than the game that I fell in love with at the beginning—of all the best players in the All-Star game—growing up watching that," Booker said. "And now it's an entertainment-, drama-, political-filled league.

"But we're a part of it now. It pays well so I guess we should be quiet about it."

Booker was left off the All-Star team despite averaging 27.1 points, 6.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds while knocking down a career-high 51.0 percent of his shots (36.8 percent from three). 

The NBA announced All-Star reserves Thursday, with Booker and Bradley Beal among the notables who did not make the final cut. While the league does not release the result of the coaches' voting, Booker was likely among a final grouping that included Chris Paul (in), Russell Westbrook (in), Brandon Ingram (in), Karl-Anthony Towns (out) and Ja Morant (out).

It's fair to argue Booker deserved a selection, but it's hard to find a place in a deep West field. Booker is probably more deserving than Westbrook, who struggled from the field his first couple months in Houston before turning it on of late. Paul has done a remarkable job keeping the Thunder in the playoff conversation despite the team being written off by most coming into the season. Westbrook and Paul also have Hall of Fame resumes, and that tends to carry sway with coaches. 

Most of the advanced metrics favor Booker in a head-to-head with Ingram, but the Pelicans forward is a favorite for Most Improved Player and is coming back from career-threatening blood clots. From a narrative perspective, Booker is no match. 

Booker's best route for being included in the future may be advocating for the elimination of conference-based All-Stars and having the coaches simply choose the best players. That route makes even more sense under the league's draft-style format for the game.