2011 NBA All-Star: Stephen Curry, Not Monta Ellis Is Warrior with Biggest Beef

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 21:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots the ball during their game against the Sacramento Kings at Oracle Arena on January 21, 2011 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Monta Ellis was one of the biggest snubs of All-Star Weekend. There's no getting around that. A quick look at the numbers (25.2 points, 5.4 assists, 2.2 steals, 45.6 percent shooting) seems to scream All-Star, regardless of the name on the front of the jersey.

But weren't Warriors fans prepared for that moment? Was there even a moment of surprise when the All-Star reserves were announced and Ellis' name was not among them?

After all, the team's last All-Star came 14 years ago and Baron Davis arguably had a stronger 2008 campaign (21.8 points, 7.6 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals) that ultimately fell short.

Even staunch Ellis supporters have struggled to justify his case. His numbers are there, but who would he replace? Russell Westbrook (22.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 8.6 assists), Deron Williams (21.4 points, 9.7 assists) or Manu Ginobili (17.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists)?

It's a tough call, made even tougher when considering that Westbrook's Thunder, Williams's Jazz and Ginobili's Spurs are a combined 30.5 games ahead of Ellis' Warriors.

Like it or not, the All-Star game is a collection of the best players from the best teams (for the most part, unless you're Kevin Love or Blake Griffin getting in ahead of LaMarcus Aldridge).

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But All-Star Saturday, that fine collection of basketball bliss that is the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, the Haier Shooting Stars and the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest (since when did NBA All-Star Saturday become the college football bowl season?) is a night about the best players. Not the best players from the best teams, but simply the best players at a certain skill.

So here's the Warriors biggest beef for All-Star weekend: Stephen Curry should be a part of the three-point contest. The lineup features a Warrior (Dorell Wright, the league's leader in made three-point shots), the reigning champion (Paul Pierce), and some of the league's most feared deep threats (Ray Allen, Daniel Gibson and James Jones).

But one of the participants just does not fit the bill for what fans expect from these contests.

The NBA's 102nd best three-point shooter, a player who has connected on just 33.8 percent of his 269 shots from downtown, will grace the floor. That player, Kevin Durant, will put his share of fans in their seats, but 102nd in the NBA? Really, Commissioner Stern?

Stephen Curry should be a part of this competition, no ifs, ands or buts about it. He's shooting at an unbelievable level. He will be the sixth member of the 50-40-90 club this season or next, and he would put just as many fans in the seats.

Unlike Durant, he is a top-100 gunner this season (16th overall at 42.2 percent) and was runner up in the event just a season ago.

And while the NBA may feel it has done its due to Curry by including him in the voting for the skills challenge, is that really the skill set that Curry is best known for? Curry's handles and passing are still a work in progress (6.0 assists to 3.0 turnovers), but that jumper has been silky smooth since he hit the national scene at Davidson.

If the NBA wanted a draw for the fans, they should have realized they already had it. Pierce attempting to defend his crown against his teammate, and all-time three-point leader, Allen is must-see television.

Stern failed to realize that this event didn't need Durant. It needed a rising superstar, who could go down as one of the greatest shooters of all time.