All-Star Snubs: 2014

AllStar2014The All-Star selections are out, and though there seems to be a number of deserving players in the western conference who were unable to secure a roster spot (DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis to name two), it seems that those who did make the cut were all deserving.  There seems to be a couple of familiar, but perhaps misplaced names (Chris Bosh and Roy Hibbert) on the eastern conference roster, however, and some players whose performances went unnoticed by the league’s coaches, most notably Al Jefferson and Andre Drummond. 

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh was named to his 9th All-Star game.  Given his reputation, this may not be surprising, but looking at his numbers this year, some might be left scratching their heads at the selection.  Bosh is averaging a career-low 6.7 rebounds, a frankly paltry number for any power forward or center who gets over 30 minutes a game and one that doesn’t even get him a spot in the top 20 for rebounds per game.  His scoring average is a solid 16.9, but that is a total that is bested by nor less than 42 players this year: hardly cause for an All-Star selection.  Bosh’s FG% is a solid .540, but given that many defenders have to double-team LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, it is not surprising that Bosh would get some open looks at the basket. 

Al Jefferson is on pace to averaged 20/10 for the third time in his career, but has yet to make an All-Star team.

Al Jefferson is on pace to averaged 20/10 for the third time in his career, but has yet to make an All-Star team.

Al Jefferson, on the other hand, has strung together several 30/10 games and has led the Bobcats to 20 wins already this season, leaving them one win shy of last season’s total number of wins with more than two months left in the season to eclipse that number.  Aside from helping the Bobcats to improve, Al Jefferson has managed to put together 10.5 rebounds per game, 4 more than Bosh in only 2 more minutes per game.  His scoring total is also higher than Bosh’s at 19.3 points per game, and not only has Jefferson managed to hand out more assists than Bosh (not hard considering Bosh’s paltry 1.1 assists per game), but also commits fewer turnovers.  On the defensive end, neither player is renowned for their defensive prowess, but Jefferson does record more blocks than Bosh, while getting the same about of fouls per game, especially impressive considering that he plays more minutes and doesn’t get the friendly calls that Bosh gets playing in Miami.  So who in their right mind could vote Bosh in the All-Star game over Al Jefferson?  I’m not sure.  It seems that Jefferson would be the clear-cut pick over Bosh.

Andre Drummond get more steals, blocks and rebounds than Bosh, and has a higher FG%, but unlike Bosh, Drummond was not named to the All-Star team.

Andre Drummond get more steals, blocks and rebounds than Bosh, and has a higher FG%, but unlike Bosh, Drummond was not named to the All-Star team.

Jefferson wasn’t the only player who Bosh made the roster ahead of.  Pistons’ sophomore Andre Drummond has proven himself to be the best rebounder in the game in only his second season, almost doubling Bosh’s rebounding numbers.  Drummond is currently averaging 6 rebounds more, which more than compensates for the 4 fewer point that Drummond is getting when compared to Bosh.  Bosh’s .540 FG% is impressive, but not nearly as impressive and Drummond’s .600 FG%.  On the defensive end, there is little question as to who the better player is.  Drummond averages 2.5 blocks per 36 minutes and 1.5 steals, both of which better than double Bosh’s numbers, while his personal fouls are only slightly higher than Bosh’s total.  Bosh is clearly the more rounded offensive player, but it seems that coaches have little appreciation for the dominant rebounding and defensive play which Drummond has be displaying this season. 

Roy Hibbert is the defensive anchor on the east's best team, but his numbers simply don't match up with Jefferson and Drummond.

Roy Hibbert is the defensive anchor on the east’s best team, but his numbers simply don’t match up with Jefferson and Drummond.

Like Bosh, Roy Hibbert seems to have benefited from his reputation.  In the past, Hibbert has displayed excellent rebounding and defensive skills, but his defensive averages do not exceed Drummond’s, and his rebounding average has been mediocre at best (Drummond’s per game rebounding average bests Hibbert’s by over 4).  Hibbert’s FG% is much lower than Drummond’s, and his fouls are equal to Hibbert despite the fact the he gets fewer steals than Drummond and only barely tops Drummond’s blocks total.  It is true that Drummond’s game is raw and he needs to develop his awareness on the court at the offensive end, but his dominant rebounding and defense should be rewarded.  It seems that coaches, rather than rewarding players who are playing well now, are more interesting in awarding roster spots on the All-Star team based on reputation and previous performances.  Hibbert is still a great defensive anchor, and is starting on the best team in the east, but his numbers simply are not as good as Drummond’s or Jefferson’s.

If Turner (left), Hawes (center) and young (right) were posting their current numbers for the Miami Heat, they likely would have secured roster spots on the All-Star team.

If Turner (left), Hawes (center) and young (right) were posting their current numbers for the Miami Heat, they likely would have secured roster spots on the All-Star team.

There are other players who were overlooked.  Some on teams whose records were not that good.  Thaddeous Young, Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes are all putting up solid numbers for the 76ers, and it could be argued that are all more deserving than Bosh for a roster spot on the All-Star team.  Even rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams is having a better season than Bosh, and could likely handle the center position better than the former Raptor (though I say that only to demonstrate how weak Bosh’s performance at center is, not because I would expect coaches to vote a rookie point guard to play center in the All-Star game).  The Pistons’ Josh Smith and Greg Monroe are arguably playing better than Chris Bosh this season as well.

Fan voted Kobe to the All-Star team because he is popular, but coaches should be able to make better choices than adolescent boys.

Fan voted Kobe to the All-Star team because he is popular, but coaches should be able to make better choices than adolescent boys.

It is understandable that when the fans vote, they will vote for the players they like, and not the players who deserve to be on the roster.  Hence the reason why Kobe Bryant earned his 16 All-Star spot, despite posting his lowest averages of this century, couple with his lowest FG% since his rookie season.  I understand that fans, many of them mere adolescents who watch the same team every game, are going to place misguided votes.  They might want to see a guy who won the dunk contest, rather than the best defensive player.  In that context, the starters for the All-Star team are often more about popularity, but the All-Star reserves are selected by coaches who should know better than to vote for a guy who is four seasons removed from averaging 20/10 (Bosh) over the only player in the East who is in a position to accomplish that bench mark (Jefferson).  An NBA coach should reward a player who is currently the only player who is in the top 20 for steals per36, the top 10 for blocks and the top 3 for rebounds (Drummond), rather than give the nod to a center who can’t even crack the top 20 for rebounds or steals, though he might be a solid shot blocker (Hibbert).  Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that Hibbert and Bosh are both great players, but this season, there are better players in the eastern conference who will be watching the All-Star game from home, and that is a problem. 

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @JasonJHorn.

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