The Western Conference all-star reserves were announced on February 23. Western Conference all-star reserves include Chris Paul, Paul George, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Zion Williamson, and Anthony Davis (replaced by Devin Booker due to injury). Let’s talk about three snubs that made strong arguments to be all-stars, but were not selected. Also, Devin Booker will not be mentioned as a snub, now that he will be participating in the all-star game.
Sources: 2021 NBA All-Star reserves:
West: Chris Paul, Paul George, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Zion Williamson, Anthony Davis
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 23, 2021
The king of snubs returns with another disapproving season from the NBA. Mike Conley, one of the greatest players to never make an all-star team, was left off the list again this season.
Conley is having a spectacular season with the Utah Jazz, which is much improved from last season with the Jazz. Conley is averaging 16.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. He is shooting 44.7 percent from the field, 41.5 percent from distance, and 82.2 percent from the free-throw line.
Conley holds the highest box plus-minus (4.2) on the Utah Jazz and the second-highest amount of win shares on the Jazz too (3.3 win shares). Conley has recorded the eighth-most steals per game this season (1.5) and the 23rd highest assist percentage in the NBA (29.3 percent).
The Jazz is also currently the best team in the Western Conference, with a four-game lead over the Los Angeles Lakers. The only difficult factor to get around with Conley is that he is on a team with two other all-stars and a possible sixth man of the year with Jordan Clarkson.
DeMar DeRozan was a quiet snub for an all-star ballot this season. One of the biggest reasons that DeRozan should be an all-star is based on his team’s success. The San Antonio Spurs are exceeding the NBA fans’ expectations this season, with a 17-12 record, landing them fifth in the competitive Western Conference.
DeRozan is the outright offensive leader for the Spurs this season. He is averaging 20.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, and seven assists per game this season, which is a career-high average for him. He has been extremely efficient, shooting just under 50 percent from the field, 32.3 percent from three, and 89 percent from the charity stripe.
As mentioned before, DeRozan is the clear offensive leader for the Spurs. He is the only player on the team averaging over 20 points per game thus far. He leads the team in offensive rating (127), win shares (3.8), offensive win shares (2.9), box plus-minus (4.1), and offensive box plus-minus (4.1).
Since the Spurs are standing out as one of the best teams in the Western Conference, and DeRozan is at the helm of the success, he makes a great argument to have been named an all-star this season.
Brandon Ingram is fresh off of his most improved player award last season with the New Orleans Pelicans, and he has continued to improve this season as an elite scorer. Ingram is averaging 24.2 points per game, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game this season. He has been shooting well, at 46.9 percent from the field, 38 percent from distance, and 87.9 percent from the free-throw line.
Ingram was an all-star last year and has improved statistically in points, assists, offensive rating, box plus-minus, and win shares per 48 minutes. Through that logic, he should be an all-star for a second straight season, but the narrative does not seem to be in his favor.
Ingram is a tough sell because the Pelicans already have their poster boy, Zion Williamson, to represent them in the all-star game. That being said, the Pelicans are also 14-19 this season and hold the 11th spot in the Western Conference, deeming them unsuccessful this season.
Who should not have made the list
Zion Williamson probably makes the most sense for a player that would be the first to leave the list. The Pelicans sport the worst record for a team who has a player in the all-star game (for the Western Conference). Purely based on an equal factor of team success, the Pelicans are suffering compared to other all-stars’ teams.