Beyond the Arc

by Ben Fiore

On February 15th, All- Star weekend will kick off in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Through that Friday and Saturday, the 3 point contest, Dunk Contest, Skills competition, Celebrity game, Rising Stars game and intermittent activities will commence.  Then on Sunday, the actual game will be played.  Okay, now that I explained the All-Star weekend for all the newbie normies who don’t watch basketball, let’s jump into what I’m really here to talk about.

The NBA All-Star rosters were released last week.  Here’s who they have:

East:

  • Kyrie Irving (BOS)
  • Kemba Walker (CHA)
  • Kawhi Leonard (TOR)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)
  • Joel Embiid (PHI)
  • Bradley Beal (WAS)
  • Victor Oladipo (IND)
  • Kyle Lowry (TOR)
  • Ben Simmons (PHI)
  • Khris Middleton (MIL)
  • Blake Griffin (DET)
  • Nikola Vucevic (ORL)
  • Dwayne Wade (MIA, honorary)

West:

  • Stephen Curry (GSW)
  • James Harden (HOU)
  • Kevin Durant (GSW)
  • Paul George (OKC)
  • LeBron James (LAL)
  • Russell Westbrook (OKC)
  • Damian Lillard (POR)
  • Klay Thompson (GSW)
  • Anthony Davis (NOP)
  • LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)
  • Nikola Jokic (DEN)
  • Dirk Nowitski (DAL, honorary)

As deserving as most of these names are, I believe that there were a few guys left out that could or should be in the game.  I have comprised a top 3 for each conference that were the BIGGEST snubs of the year into a ranked 6 name countdown.

6. Jimmy Butler (PHI): Jimmy has been downplayed most of the year, I think do in part to the trade and drama this year.  He has been putting up solid numbers, has come in clutch, and truly fit in almost too well in Philly averaging 22 PPG.  I would substitute him for teammate Ben Simmons, if we are keeping a Sixer in the mix.

5. Jamal Murray (DEN): The Nuggets have probably been this years biggest surprise team, relatable to the Hawks a few years back.  They are 2nd in the West and I believe they owe a lot of that in part to Jamal Murray.  He is the leader of that team alongside Jokic and has pushed the pace and built those low key players around him into a real threat this year.  In terms of new value and overall personal and team performance, I would put him in over Russ or even Steph, who I feel benefited by name this year.

4. DeAngelo Russell (BKN): D-Loading has honestly had a break out year.  Now that he isn’t snitching on Nick Young and playing at a mediocre level in LA anymore, he has single handedly turned the Nets around.  So much so that if the playoffs started today, THEY WOULD BE IN.  I can’t remember the last time I could say that.  He’s had a few remarkable shots and averaging 19.6 PPG and 6.4 APG.  Not even his biggest fan, but dude can play and should be in.

3. Tobias Harris (LAC): Tobias has racked up 20.7 PPG, and 7.9 RPG while trying to salvage a dying franchise after being traded to it for Blake Griffin.  He has been an under the radar play maker and just a smooth to watch basketball fiend.  He and Montrezl Harrell have really made the Clips competitive again, and also has them in playoff contention right now.  This is his best year of play yet and should be in the game.

2. Luka Doncic (DAL): The boy wonder is averaging 20.6 PPG as a rookie along with rebounding and assisting ability of that of a veteran.  I know for a damn fact that the only reason he isn’t an All-Star is the sole fact that he’s a rookie. “Oh we’ll just throw him in the Rising Stars Game”.  That’s BS.  Dude should be a STARTER let alone on the team at all.  We all need to see it.  He was 2nd in total fan votes, so it’s even more of a head scratcher as to why he wasn’t selected.  GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT.

TOP SNUB: DeMar DeRozan (SAS): I think DeMar got the short end of the stick in the Raptors, Spurs trade.  He is averaging 21.3 PPG, 6.2 APG and 6.2 RPG with the Spurs holding a (32-23) record at 6th in the West.  The Raptors are more noticeable as the 2nd seed in the East, but DeMar has flourished in this new system with 2019 All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge.  He is the biggest snub to me because he is a bonafide BALLER and everyone knows it.  If he was a Raptor still, he would have been.

As much as I might disagree with these, it is what it is as my dad would say.  So for all the All-Stars who shouldn’t be, congrats you lucky bastards.  And as for the snubs, better luck next year fellas.

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Written by benfiore

NBA writer of Beyond the Arc. Employee, podcast host and writer for Thoughts From the Bench.

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