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Lance Stephenson leads list of three biggest All-Star Game snubs from each conference

Jan 30, 2014, 8:38 PM EDT

Boston Celtics  v Indiana Pacers Getty Images

There are only 12 All-Star Game roster slots per conference, and there are more than 12 deserving players.

Somebody is going to be left off — we like to call it a snub, but most of the time it’s more like splitting hairs between good players. You pull on of these guys off the coach’s list of All-Star Game reserves to get your guy on and the fans of the player yanked will cry snub. And the circle of life continues.

Still, it’s a little frustrating this year because the coaches chose to play it safe and go with veterans like Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki and Joe Johnson over exciting young players. I had hoped the coaches would be more daring and less conservative. But alas…

Here are the three biggest snubs from each conference

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers. He is the guy who does a lot of shot creation for the team with the best record in the NBA — coach Frank Vogel told Pro it wasn’t his plan coming into the season to have Stephenson playing this big a roll in the offense, but his play demanded it.

“I wanted to expand his role,” Vogel said of Stephenson this week. “What I envisioned was getting him out early, bringing him back to play with the bench unit and running offense through him. That sort of expanded when he started producing with the starting unit. So obviously, we’re a balanced team and we’re going to go to the hot hand so to speak, or to whoever is making the most efficient plays. With the second unit that’s who we’re going with, but a lot of times with the first unit he’s been great too.”

Stephenson averages 14.2 points a game, 7.1 rebounds and 5.7 assists a game. He has a true shooting percentage of 56.3 percent (a few percentage points above the league average). The argument against him is he is just a cog in the Pacers’ system, he could be the fourth or fifth offensive option at times. And that he could be more efficient. Maybe. But for an exhibition game — and for rewarding the best first half players — I’d rather have Stephenson on the court instead of Joe Johnson.

Arron Afflalo, Orlando Magic. This was one of those splitting hairs decision compared with DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors (who made the team). Afflalo is the guy the other team schemes to stop on one of the weakest rosters in the league — he has a usage rate of 23.8, the highest of his career. And he’s scoring 20 points a game (also a career high) while having a true shooting percentage of 58.6 percent. He’s not a nice player putting up good numbers because he has to on a bad team, he’s a very good player putting up efficient numbers despite defenses gearing up for him.

(Yes, you could make a case that Kyle Lowry is more deserving than Afflalo. I’m not going to, but you could.)

Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons. This is a tough one because I want to see the young players but the veterans who made the Eastern Conference frontcourt — Chris Bosh, Joakim Noah and Roy Hibbert — are all deserving. And I love the addition of Paul Millsap, who ha balled so hard for the Hawks this season. Drummond is averaging 12.6 points a game on 60 percent shooting (he should get more touches, but this is the Pistons) and 12.7 rebounds a game.

WESTERN CONFERNECE

Goran Dragic (Phoenix Suns)/Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies). I am combining these two because while both deserve to go both may get to — Kobe Bryant is out for sure due to his knee injury, and Chris Paul may be out due to his shoulder injury. These two guys should be the replacements. (The league office and Commissioner Adam Silver get to make the call on who is selected as a replacement.)

Dragic is averaging 19.7 points and 6.1 assists a game to lead the offense of the biggest surprise team in the NBA this season. It was thought when Eric Bledsoe went down the Suns would fall apart, but Dragic has stepped up and been an All-Star level player.

Mike Conley quietly orchestrates the Memphis offense and is scoring 18.2 points a game, dishes 6.3 assists a game, is shooting 37.3 percent from three to help them space the floor, plus is one of the best defensive point guards in the game.

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings. This is the kind of exciting big man I’d like to see in the All-Star Game — he is averaging 22.6 points and 11.6 rebounds a game and at age 23 you can make a case he’s been the best center in the West this season. Yes, he makes some bad decisions still, at other times still battles bouts of laziness, but he is maturing and he is a force.

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans. He is averaging 20.4 points on 51.9 percent shooting and he grabs 10.4 rebounds a game, plus he leads the NBA in blocked shots at 3.3 a game — and he has 21 blocks combined in the last two games he played. He can score a variety of ways and, most importantly for this kind of exhibition game, he is the best transition big in the NBA right now. And he’s the hometown guy for this All-Star Game. I really wanted Davis to make the cut.

  1. antistratfordian - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:40 PM

    Luck Fance Stephenson.

    • spthegr8 - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:44 PM

      Yeah that’s what they said too apparently. Lance got ROBBED!!

    • pacers24 - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:53 PM

      Yeah his 4th triple double of the season tonight was a big F U to the coaches

    • money2long - Jan 31, 2014 at 1:48 AM

      guys i cracked the code.
      if you rearrange the letter’s in anti’s name it reads:
      “star idiot fan rant”

      • antistratfordian - Jan 31, 2014 at 2:57 AM

        star? thanks!

      • money2long - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:36 AM

        of course you like it :) you made your name a cryptic message.

        you’re the idiot of all idiots !

        anti, the STAR IDIOT !!

      • antistratfordian - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        Good lord, this guy. Yeah, I made my name a cryptic message and you deciphered it – and with great pride apparently. Congrats.

        *facepalm*

      • money2long - Jan 31, 2014 at 7:37 PM

        another rant ! haha !

      • money2long - Jan 31, 2014 at 7:40 PM

        step one, face palm
        step two, lebron’s nuts palm ?

        bwahahha

      • 1heatedtoombrayduh - Jan 31, 2014 at 7:41 AM

        dang anti, they took time out of their busy schedule to analyze your name…this person gave you a LOT of attention

      • money2long - Jan 31, 2014 at 7:39 PM

        hahahhahahahahhaha! yea, he gets a lot of attention, like the bubble boy

    • av416 - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:53 AM

      I hate to have to come to the defence of my raptors once again but here we go…to start, thank the basketball gods that Demar got in as a reserve, his game has truly evolved over the last year as he’s raised his ppg from 18 to 22 and has added an assist and rebound per game as well. He has been the offensive force the Raps have carried to the top of the Atlantic, a more efficient and assertive scorer than Rudy ever was in TO (PRAISE MASAI). Now we get to Kyle Lowry…The fact that Joe ‘jack it up’ Johnson makes it as a reserve over a guy who has been in the top 10 of MVP voting (look it up) and has put up 17 pts and 8 assists on a team that like I said earlier, are atop the Atlantic, how ever woeful it is. Like I said, I hate to defend my home town over and again, but these two players deserve more recognition for what they’ve done.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:23 PM

        You made some good points, av416. The one thing I would say about Johnson though is that while, on the season, he hasn’t been overly impressive – he did have a recent stretch of strong play where it almost appeared as if he was powering the Nets offense by himself. That had to be fresh in selectors’ minds – especially when he was doing it during a recent national broadcast against elite competition.

      • av416 - Feb 1, 2014 at 12:30 AM

        I agree with your point JJ carried BKN many times this year. But if we want to follow that logic, Demar Derozan is out two games, and that is a go-to all star wing player. The Raps lack isolation scorers, and without DD Kyle put up consecutive 30 pt games and asserted himself on offence the way he needed to ensure a W. Those games were literally days before the reserves were announced and with his better overall numbers on a winning team, Kyle should have made it. Perhaps the ineptitude of some Eastern conf coaches is why so many teams in the gutter.

    • bougin89 - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      “No, a bandwagoner starts following a team because they start winning – like you guys with the Lakers around 2008.

      And if this dude was a bandwagoner who only “follows the next hottest player”, as kb2408 said, he would already be a LeBron or Durant fan. Instead, he’s still following a way-past-his-prime Garnett around, even when he’s on some lackluster sub .500 team.”

      You must have been drunk last night. Did you really call out somebody else for being a bandwagon fan? Really?

      • antistratfordian - Jan 31, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        Yes, problem?

      • bougin89 - Jan 31, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        You can’t see the irony of that? A bandwagon fan calling out another bandwagon fan. Do you really pride yourself on being a hypocrite?

      • antistratfordian - Jan 31, 2014 at 5:09 PM

        I could care less, but I won’t right now.

        But be that as it may, everyone has a different definition of the term and you can find a way to call anyone a bandwagon fan at some point. Per my definition though – which is the one I follow – a bandwagon fan starts supporting a team out of the blue because they are, all of a sudden, winning. At it’s most extreme, it’s something like what wives in Seattle have been doing the past few weeks with the Seahawks.

        If you want, you can say I was a bandwagon LeBron James fan back in 2001 and I’d be okay with that.

      • bougin89 - Jan 31, 2014 at 5:18 PM

        Bandwagon fans are beneath the fans that are loyal to one team.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 31, 2014 at 5:25 PM

        You weren’t born loyal to any team.

      • bougin89 - Jan 31, 2014 at 5:34 PM

        Nope, but I’m above bandwagon fans because I’ve stuck with one team since day 1.

      • antistratfordian - Jan 31, 2014 at 5:40 PM

        What an accomplishment. For the most part, a fan base is just a succession of groups of bandwagon fans from different eras overlapping each other.

      • bougin89 - Feb 3, 2014 at 10:18 AM

        You couldn’t be more wrong.

        Loyal fans are typically generations of families/friends that follow and root for the same team.

        It’s not surprising a bandwagon fan doesn’t understand this.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 3, 2014 at 3:55 PM

        There is a difference between “loyal fans” and an entire fan base. I didn’t say, “For the most part, loyal fans are just a succession of groups of bandwagon fans from different eras…”

      • bougin89 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:06 PM

        That’s true-ish.

        My only point on Friday was to make an empty statement using opinion as fact after posting that I didn’t use my opinion as fact, like you do.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:24 PM

        well, that’s just your opinion.

      • bougin89 - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:48 PM

        If that’s your opinion on that, I’d get a new opinion.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 3, 2014 at 4:51 PM

        Well, that’s just your opinion.

      • bougin89 - Feb 3, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        Pi is exactly 3.

      • bougin89 - Feb 4, 2014 at 10:35 AM

        Obvious observation of the day:

        Bandwagon Kobe fans are the same kind of fans as bandwagon Lebron fans.

        Did you see the Bucks game last night though??

    • dexterismyhero - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      go eff yourself lil heat fan.

  2. kb2408 - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    Davis was an obvious pick. Hopefully this snub will make him even hungrier next season.

    • kb2408 - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:47 PM

      So was DC. Both big men have been better than D12 this season.

      • 00maltliquor - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:59 PM

        That’s true. But D12 is a “brand” name player, no one has the nutz to leave him out. He IS having an All-Star caliber year though so it’s not a highjacking like Joe Johnson is over ________(fill in the blank). Dirk’s been good too, but not over about 4-5 other players in the West.

    • money2long - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:22 PM

      when i commented in a pbt article of “who will be all star reserves”, i got 8 thumbs down and 1 thumb up for saying i wasn’t sure if anthony davis would make the team. not surprised people will look at him like a snub.

      • 00maltliquor - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:34 PM

        Give us the self-quote!!

      • money2long - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:59 PM

        lol !! sure

      • money2long - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:02 PM

        money2long – Jan 24, 2014 at 8:27 AM
        this got a lot of thumbs down, but im not so sure Anthony davis will make the team.

        http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/01/23/we-know-the-starters-so-who-should-be-the-all-star-reserves/

  3. 00maltliquor - Jan 30, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    Even MORE outrage!! David Lee got snubbed from the SNUB list!

  4. billtetley53 - Jan 30, 2014 at 9:04 PM

    Yet when Dwight came to the lakers you said that the the lakers would be in the WCF…..

    You are an idiot. He sucks now because he snubbed the lakers…..iffy.

    Grow up kb. Man, you’re a hateable person. I bet you have a real punchable face too.

    You really should quit commenting again.
    Why would you put your ignorance on display for everyone to see?

  5. sportsnut101 - Jan 30, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    Take joe I shoot the worse Johnson out of all star spot u gotta be kidding me this guy goes 4 for 12 so much it’s not even funny anymore

    In the west it’s tough But Davis N Cousins I can see missing it cause of there record Winning does count I would think

  6. casualcommenter - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    Multiple Nets players have missed time due to injury, including Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, and Brook Lopez (out for the year).

    Joe Johnson has had ample opportunity to step up and put the team on his back, yet he’s averaged just 16 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists per game this year.

    I don’t know how he earned an All-Star spot.
    I’d put Stephenson, Afflalo, and Lowry ahead of him. They all outproduce him staistically, and 2 of them (Stephenson and Lowry) come from better teams than the Nets.

  7. eugenesaxe1 - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    Blame the fans for voting in undeserving starters. You know the saying: Crap flows downhill. The coaches only had so many spots to make up for the tards voting for Kobe/Wade/JJohnson etc.

    • money2long - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:50 PM

      the coaches were the ‘tards’ who voted in jjohnson

      • eugenesaxe1 - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:54 PM

        Right you are, I stand corrected. My point still stands.

      • money2long - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:03 AM

        i see your point, keep in mind, kobe’s spot has a 95% chance of being replaced due to his recent diagnosis.

  8. metalhead65 - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    I do not understand why they can’t expand the rosters for an exhibition game. the most deserving will make it and it’s not like the starters want to play major min. so playing time would not be a problem.

  9. mrlaloosh - Jan 30, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    The game is in New Orleans and Anthony Davis didn’t make it? Good riddance Stern.

  10. money2long - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    HEY GUYS, ANTI WANTS THE PBT WORLD TO HAVE A LOOK AT THE COMMENT SECTION ON THIS ARTICLE BECAUSE HE IS LOSING INTEREST IF OTHER PEOPLE DON’T SEE IT, SO HELP HIM OUT. YOU WILL LEARN A COUPLE THINGS ABOUT HIM.

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/01/25/paul-george-completes-four-point-play-to-send-game-against-kings-into-overtime-video/

  11. hildezero - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    I feel bad for Dragić that he didn’t make it.

    • money2long - Jan 31, 2014 at 12:08 AM

      sasha vujavic rigged the votes.

  12. ryanrockzzz - Jan 31, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    Joakim Noah getting into the game was a bit ridiculous. Same with Hibbert. Not only are the not the most deserving players, but they aren’t even exciting enough to make the All-Star game better.

    I also fail to see how maybe the top player in the league when healthy this year (Davis) can’t even make the All-Star team. Does he need to average 4 blocks per game instead of three? How about 24 point per game instead of 20. Crazy.

  13. jbeagles23 - Jan 31, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    No mention of Kyle lowry is pathetic

  14. xli2006 - Jan 31, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Lance was jobbed… period.

    4 Triple Doubles and only 2 players have across the board averages (Pts, Rebs, Asts, Steals) that compete with Lance… Lebron and Durant. I am NOT putting him on that level obviously but his ability to balance his game in all areas is outstanding.

    There is absolutely no reason Lance shouldn’t be an All-star.

    • borderline1988 - Jan 31, 2014 at 2:45 PM

      I’d take Lowry over Stephenson:
      Lowry: 16.8 ppg, 4.3 rbg, 7.6 apg
      Stephenson: 14.2 ppg, 7.2 rbg, 5.4 apg

      Statistically, Lowry is slightly better, but even if you say it’s a toss-up between the two, I’d argue that Lowry doesn’t have the most complete roster in the NBA surrounding him and therefore he still deserves it more.

      If you watch Raptors games, Lowry is undeniably the leader of that team. He’s the guy who makes them go. When Lowry’s game is off, the Raptors are in big trouble. They need him to be playing well night in and night out, and he’s been playing more consistent ball than at any other time in his career.

      Stephenson has had some great games this year, but he’s not anywhere near as important as Lowry is to the Raptors. His minutes played are similar to Lowry, but he’s been ‘quiet’ in way more games than Lowry has.

      But at least we can agree that Joe Johnson has no leg to stand on for taking a guard/small forward spot…

  15. borderline1988 - Jan 31, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    It’s not an issue of snubs…sometimes 2 guys are deserving but you only have one spot, so the other guy is technically a ‘snub’.
    The problem here is that there are a number of guys who just shouldn’t be there all-together. I won’t mention starters for obvious reasons..

    Joe Johnson and Joakim Noah are stupid picks….Johnson gives you 15.7 ppg on 44% shooting and nothing else…Afflalo and Lowry both have had much better seasons, in practically every possible way.
    Noah gives you 11ppg, 11rbg and 1.4 bpg..whereas Anthony Davis gives you 21ppg, 10.5 rbg and 3.3 bpg. It’s not even a contest between the two.

    I’m not so into the Lance Stephenson idea…he’s had some great games this season, but he’s only averaging 14ppg, which for his position, isn’t good enough, regardless of those ~5 apg. I don’t know how you take him over Afflalo or Lowry, both of whom are straight-up better players in my opinion, and are doing what they do without the protection of being on arguably the best team in the league.

  16. tmdill18 - Jan 31, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    I’m a Pacer fan. Love how much Lance has improved his game. But he is his own worst enemy. He shows up other players. He stares down referees and whines about every call against him. He acts like he breaks his spine any time he hits the floor. He flops regularly. He needs to act like a professional. Much of the time, he annoys me. I can imagine how much he grates on opposing teams and coaches.

  17. philadelphiafan - Jan 31, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    You could also make a case for Al Jefferson getting snubbed. Dude’s been on fire the past month too.

  18. cullenand99 - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:24 AM

    Anthony Davis is BY FAR the biggest snub this year. Leads the league in blocks, Top-15 in scoring, Top-10 in rebounding, and Top-20 in steals per game. It’s a joke that he didn’t make it.

  19. billtetley53 - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    I think its absolutely hilarious that anybody trys to tell anyone else how to be a fan. And that they are “better” than them because they were born in a certain area and their family was a fan of that team..

    You’re a fan of the Bucks bougin because of geography.

    When I was growing up, I detested all Wisconsin teams (still live here, still do)
    I liked Julius Erving so I followed the 76ers. He retired. So I liked Jordan, He retired. Kevin Garnett. He will retire. Then I’m done with the NBA. Its not really even basketball anymore anyway.

    So, you see my choices were to be a Bucks fan, not watch basketball, or find a player I liked and follow him and his team. If that’s bandwagon, so what?

    Who are you to tell us how we root for sports? In the nba, I followed players, I did for awhile in baseball too.Now, I can’t even watch it anymore.
    Regardless, our fandom is each our own, its not up to you to decide what’s right or wrong.

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