As All-Star Weekend events are finalized and the teams are set, I figure it is time for me to take a look at some of the players who didn’t quite make the cut for the NBA’s wildest weekend as well as some of the more shocking news surrounding All-Star 2017. Here we go.
Snub-Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz: While this may come as a shock to some, I believe that Rudy Gobert was snubbed for this years All-Star game. The Stifle Tower is having a strong year, averaging career highs in minutes, rebounds, points, and free throw percentage, while blocking 2.5 shots a game and has become a reliable third/fourth option for the Jazz’s offense. More importantly, Gobert has officially become the defensive anchor for the Utah Jazz, and is one of the reasons the Jazz are 32-19 and in the Playoff hunt for the first time in a long time. Through 51 games this season, Rudy Gobert has contributed 4.0 wins just on his defense alone, while this stat may not seem like much, it should be noted as it illustrates the impact Gobert has had in 2016-’17. Rudy Gobert is averaging 13 points, 12.6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2.5 blocks, shooting 65% from both the field and the free throw line, and has a player efficiency rating of 22.30. I would have selected Rudy Gobert over DeAndre Jordan.
Shock: Russell Westbrook isn’t starting the 2016-’17 NBA All-Star game… Well now that I have recovered from my initial shock, I may as well speak on this injustice. Russell Westbrook is one of the three best point guards in the NBA, quite possibly the best, as he is averaging a triple double of 31 points, ten rebounds, and ten assists. Disregard the fact that no one has averaged a triple double for a season since Oscar Robertson did it decades ago, and look at the simple truth that Russell Westbrook is having a vastly superior year to the starting PG in the West, Wardell Stephen Curry. Many will say that Curry was rewarded for his teams record, something I completely disagree with simply because of the fact that the Warriors already have three other All-Stars on the team. Is that not reward enough? Plus, Westbrook has lead a weak Thunder team to a respectful 29-22 start in the West, where’s his reward?
Snub-Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies: Another year and another All-Star snub for Mike Conley Jr. Simply put, while Tony Allen and Zach Randolph may be the heart of the Grizzlies, and where Marc Gasol adds his flare and flash to Memphis, there is no question that Conley is the leader in the Grindhouse. An efficient player with solid stats of, 19 points per game, four rebounds, six assists, 1.3 steals, and 39% from three, Mike Conley has been a consistent floor general in this league for the past three seasons. Taking on a larger role as a scorer for Memphis, averaging career high point total, Conley is reaching his potential as a great all-around point guard in this league. He has been extremely efficient, a PER of 21.9, and has contributed a total 5.2 win shares to the Grizzlies, no small feat. I just believe that its time to recognize a guard in the West on a smaller market team who deserves to the recognition for their play. If I was to swap someone out for Conley, it would be Klay Thompson without a doubt.
Other Shocks: DeMarcus Cousins isn’t starting for the West? I understand Anthony Davis is having himself a year, but when will Boogie get his due, the guy is the best big man in the NBA! Paul Millsap is an All-Star after having a slightly above solid start to the year, but Joel Embiid is a revelation for a somewhat-respectable Sixers team and still catches the snub? There is something wrong with that picture. Gordon Hayward is finally an All-Star! This was definitely a pleasant surprise.
Stats via ESPN.Com/Basketball-Reference.com
Images via Google.com