The NBA All-Star Game rosters are set, with the Eastern and Western Conference benches being released on Thursday. There's still a good chance one or two more players are added as injury reserves for players who have to drop out, but for now, we know the 24 players who will be participating and we know which ones fell just short.
As always, there are snubs in both conferences. Here's the biggest five.
Yup ... again. Lillard was one of the biggest snubs last year before being named an injury replacement, and he wasn't happy at the time. We'll see how he handles being left out this year.
The keys to the Trail Blazers were handed over to Lillard with the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge and other key parts in the offseason, yet Lillard hasn't disappointed for a Portland team that's surprisingly threatening for a playoff berth. He's having his highest-scoring season ever, and his efficiency has remained steady despite a major uptick in usage.
C.J. McCollum isn't quite good enough to be considered a snub, but he's also having an excellent season and might be the frontrunner for the Most Improved Player award. He and Lillard are the next-closest thing to the Splash Brothers in the NBA.
Father Time may be undefeated, but he hasn't beaten Nowitzki yet. The big German keeps on trucking in his 18th season at the age of 37 for a surprising Mavericks team that was expected to take a major step back after the DeAndre Jordan fiasco. Dallas has been more successful adding talent around Nowitzki, with Wesley Matthews recovering quickly from an Achilles tear, Chandler Parsons coming on strong of late and Zaza Pachulia having his best season ever (and strangely, nearly being an All-Star Game starter, although we're still not sure we completely understand how that happened).
But the heart of the Mavericks is still Dirk, and they go as he does. With his snub, the Mavericks will be the only Western Conference playoff team without an All-Star.
While teammate Andre Drummond did get nominated as an All-Star backup, Jackson fell short despite his 19 points and 6.5 assists per game this year. Jackson is the second half of Stan Van Gundy's vaunted pick-and-roll attack that has Detroit sitting at 25-21, sixth-best in the Eastern Conference. While Drummond is the more important piece to the puzzle, Jackson's contributions can't be overlooked. The guard has been everything the Pistons hoped he would be when they traded for him at the trade deadline last season. Still just 25 years old, Jackson will get more opportunities to improve his game and make sure no coach can leave his name off the ballot in coming seasons.
Charlotte is knocking on the door of the playoffs after a disastrous 2014-15 season and Walker has everything to do with it. Look no further than his franchise-record 52 points a couple weeks back against the Jazz to see the impact he's having on the Hornets as the No. 1 option on offense. While the 20.5 points per game he's putting up is important, it's even more important that he's doing it with career-best efficiency: Walker's hitting 43 percent of his field goals and 36 percent from behind the arc.
On a more visible team in a larger market, it'd be easy to see Walker represented among the All-Star reserves this year. Instead, he will have to give it another shot next season.
If his sensational Eurobasket play wasn't reminder enough, Pau Gasol is reminding people this season that he's not done yet. His numbers have fallen slightly from last year when he was an All-Star Game starter, but Gasol is still averaging nearly 17 points and 11 rebounds in 32 minutes per game. Thanks to a legion of European (and Lakers) fans, Gasol nearly made the cut anyway, coming just 360 votes short of beating out Carmelo Anthony. This might have been Gasol's last chance at representing his team in the All-Star Game, but he has certainly proved us wrong before.
Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin (there were extenuating circumstances), DeAndre Jordan, Karl-Anthony Towns, Al Horford.
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