NBA All-Star weekend is just around the corner, and with it has come all the drama of opting out, whether or not to participate in the dunk or 3-point contest and who is or is not considered an All-Star. This year in particular, though, it feels as though multiple players having career-best seasons were left off the final list of starters and reserves in favor of someone else. In this week’s roundtable, the DC Sports Section will be giving our takes for who the biggest snub was on this year’s All-Star roster. Let’s get into it.
Collin Sexton has been slept on since he was in high school, and this year he has shown that he is an All-Star level player. Not only was he left out of the All-Star game, he was left off the snub list of the players that were snubbed from the All-Star game. Sexton is averaging a career high 23.8 points per game while shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. Sexton has been the bright spot on a struggling Cavs team and he has shown his potential to be a game changing player down the stretch. Definitely an All-Star snub.
Admittedly, this has been a trend over the last two seasons as Devin Booker got into the All-Star via an All-Star’s injury both years. But for someone who didn’t get in this year, the clear answer is Trae Young. The dude is averaging 26.2 points per game and has a shooting percentage of .372 from beyond the arc. Not to mention, he’s also third in the league in assists with 9.5 per game. I don’t understand it at all. Is this because Young plays the Atlanta Hawks, an underappreciated team, and one that recently fired their head coach? People forget sometimes that Young makes some of the deepest 3-point shots in the league, and that there is barely anyone that lands shots from that range – the next closest guy is Steph Curry. Young is an incredible team player that is making the Hawks relevant even though they don’t appear to be in the playoff picture. With those numbers, he should have been a two-time all-star this season.
My only real complaint this year is more of a minor gripe than anything, but Damian Lillard should be starting over Luka Doncic. Lillard, who was ahead of Doncic in both the player and coaches vote, was selected as a reserve because Doncic slightly edged him out in the fan vote. Dame is scoring more (29.6 points vs. 28.6) and shooting better from 3-point range (38.0 percent vs 35.7 percent ) while his team’s record is much better (19-14, No. 6 in the West vs 17-16, No. 10 in the West). If you’re into analytics, Lillard also holds the superior 5.0 win shares versus Doncic’s 3.9. Oh, and the next best trailblazers in CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic have both missed the majority of the season. Dame and Luka are both great, but Lillard is doing more with less on a better team. He should be starting alongside Steph Curry in the West backcourt.
I may be a bit biased in saying this as a loyal Miami Heat fan, but I just have to acknowledge how insane Jimmy Butler is playing right now. Even if Butler was injured early in the season, he’s come back and led the Miami Heat back into playoff contention where they rightfully belong. Shooting 44.2 percent and averaging a solid 20.1 points per game, Butler continues to prove why he is one of the best shooting guards in the game right now. While this consideration could have gone to someone like Bam Adebayo, big men play this year has been insane with players such as Joel Embiid, Nikola Vucevic and Domantas Sabonis playing at a superstar level. Butler has rightfully earned his spot on the team and is the biggest snub in my eyes.