There are only 24 NBA players who can be named All-Stars. It’s not as exclusive as the All-NBA teams, but it still never feels like enough. Some players are perpetually left on the cusp of making it in but can’t quite get to the game itself.
It’s worth noting that there are often injuries that prevent one or several selected players from suiting up, which would allow someone ‘snubbed’ to still sneak into the game. There’s no guarantee, but injury substitutions happened one last season, twice the year before, and four times for the 2015 All-Star Game.
NBA players on this list likely won’t be happy with it. In a league that demands supreme confidence, there will always be players who believe they should make it. You’ll likely see some vague tweets that can only mean one thing, or aghast statements to the media when asked on Wednesday. That’s all an essential part of the All-Star voting process.
Here are the biggest All-Star snubs — in other words, the players most likely to tweet the thinking-face emoji within the next few hours.
1. Paul George
Oklahoma City might have one bright star, but George has been nothing short of brilliant, especially on defense. PG13 leads the NBA at 4.4 deflections per game and has racked up 93 steals on the season — tied with Russell Westbrook for another league-best. He’s also shooting threes at a high clip, playing off the ball when Westbrook is running the show, and running the offense himself at times, too. The rest of the All-Stars are lucky he didn’t make the game because they weren’t scoring much on him.
2. Andre Drummond
The Pistons have been at some of the highest and lowest points of the Eastern Conference standings this season, but Drummond has been consistent. He’s improved his free-throw shooting from 38.6 percent last season to 62.9 percent this season and is dishing out a career-high 3.9 assists to go along with 14.3 points per game and a league-leading 15 rebounds. We have no clue how he didn’t make it.
3. Lou Williams
Williams isn’t No. 1 on this list, but he’s No. 1 in our hearts. How is he not in this game? Williams has been quite the pleasant surprise for the Clippers this season. He’s stepped up as their offensive fulcrum, leading the team in scoring at 23.3 points per game. He’s only second behind Griffin in usage rate, but has played 418 more minutes to this point. Oh, and did I mention he’s doing all of this off the bench?
4. Chris Paul
OK, we know Paul has been hurt. But when he’s played? He’s been absolutely incredible — you could argue that he’s been the best point guard in the NBA in that period. Before you hit me with the “small sample size” explanation you’re about to, realize that Paul has played in 28 games this season — more than half the games the Rockets have played this season. Their record when he plays? 23-5. When he, James Harden and Clint Capela play together, they’re a whopping 17-0. Take that for data. Paul should be an All-Star.
5. Ben Simmons
Simmons may only be a rookie, but his game is full-grown. He may be 6’10, but the modern-day rendition of Magic Johnson has taken Philadelphia — and the league — by storm. Don’t like the Johnson comparisons? Consider this: Simmons is averaging 16.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 1.9 steals, and nearly a block a game. He just missed the cut, but he probably won’t miss many more.
6. Goran Dragic
The Heat are a team that function much better as a collective rather than depending on any one individual’s performance to drive them. With that being said, though, Dragic has been the best player on a team surging to the top of the Eastern Conference. He’s averaging 17.3 points and 4.9 assists per game.
7. Kemba Walker
The Hornets have been one of the more disappointing teams in the league this season, but that’s no reflection on Walker’s play. When you look at his numbers, it’s no wonder why he’s been the center of many a trade rumor this season. He’s averaging 21.8 points and 5.9 assists per game as the team’s primary creator without much else on the roster — this guy played well enough for a spot but just missed the cut.