The rosters for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game are out, and there’s bound to be some hurt feelings. Only 12 players in each conference can be named All-Stars each year, with the starters determined by a combination of fan, player, and media voting, and the reserves chosen by the league’s head coaches.
Getting snubbed for the All-Star Game almost feels like a right of passage for many of the league’s young stars early in their careers. Take Damian Lillard, for example. The Portland Trail Blazers guard was snubbed from the All-Star Game three years in a row early in his career. At this point, it’s hard to imagine there ever being an All-Star Game without Lillard as he’s grown into the one of the league’s premier players. Bradley Beal was also snubbed from the All-Star Game last year, and went on to finish as one of two players to end the season averaging 30 points per game. Beal is a starter from the Eastern Conference this season.
Find the full 2021 NBA All-Star Game rosters here. These are the players who have the biggest gripe for being passed over.
2021 NBA All-Star snubs
Devin Booker, G, Phoenix Suns
Booker’s scoring numbers have taken a slight dip playing next to CP3, but he’s still averaging almost 25 points per game with an impressive 60.7 true shooting percentage. After making his first All-Star Game last year, it feels like Booker is going to be a staple on the roster moving forward. Update: Booker was added to the game as an injury replacement.
Khris Middleton, F, Milwaukee Bucks:
Middleton has turned into one of the league’s best co-stars playing off Giannis in Milwaukee. He’s averaging better than 20 points per game on the best scoring efficiency of his career. After just missing a 50/40/90 shooting season last year, Middleton is so, so close to doing it again this season.
Mike Conley, G, Utah Jazz
The Jazz have torn through the league on their way to the best record in the NBA at the start of the season. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were named All-Stars, but Conley had a strong case, too. The point guard is averaging 16.4 points and 5.6 assists per game while shooting 41 percent from three-point range. At 33 years old, this might have been Conley’s last chance to earn his first ever All-Star nod. He has to be the best player of his generation to never be named an All-Star.
Trae Young, G, Atlanta Hawks
Young has had a frustrating season with the Hawks have falling short of expectations as injuries have piled up, but he’s still averaging 27 points and 9.5 assists per game. The 22-year-old should be a fixture at the All-Star Game for years to come with his deep shooting and flashy passing, but at some point he’ll need to lift his team into perennial playoff contention. Even if it’s feels like Young has been hit with a reality check this year, there’s still an argument he should have made it based not only on his numbers, but also the fact that the game is better better with gifted passers like him.
Bam Adebayo, C, Miami Heat
The Heat’s season has been compromised by injuries and health and safety protocol absences coming off a long run to the NBA Finals in the bubble. Under different circumstances where the team was winning more, Adebayo likely would have been a lock to make the squad. The 23-year-old center has made a scoring leap this season by showing more self-creation ability and some improvement as a shooter, especially from the free throw line where he’s knocking down nearly 85 percent of his attempts. He’s averaging 19.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game.
Jimmy Butler, G, Miami Heat
Butler reportedly turned down an offer to play in the game because Adebayo wasn’t going to be selected.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Thunder
Still only 22 years old, Gilgeous-Alexander has quietly become one of the best young players in the NBA and the centerpiece of the Thunder’s rebuild. The 6’6 combo guard just gets better and better every year as a scorer. He’s currently averaging nearly 23 points per game on 62 percent true shooting. He’s also doubling his previous career-best in assists (averaging 6.6 dimes per game) while shooting 40.7 percent from three-point range. Players like Young and Ja Morant are bigger names, but SGA is as good as any young guard in the league.
De’Aaron Fox, G, Sacramento Kings
Fox is putting up his best numbers yet in his fourth season, but unfortunately his Sacramento Kings are still only 12-18 as the All-Star rosters are announced. The 6’3 guard is averaging 22.3 points and 7.1 assists per game, which are both career-highs. He’s one of the league’s best guards at getting to the rim, but All-Star honors may not come until he improves a bit as an outside shooter. Fox is currently making 33.6 percent of his threes, and has 55 percent true shooting which is a tad below average.
Domantas Sabonis, C, Indiana Pacers
Sabonis was an All-Star last season, and he’s putting up even better numbers this year. He’s putting up 21.5 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game for a Pacers team that sits as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. The big improvement in Sabonis’ game this year has come from behind the arc. He’s making 35.6 percent of his threes on 2.8 attempts per game.
Tobias Harris, F, Philadelphia 76ers
Harris was maligned in Philadelphia last season for his big contract, streaky scoring, and average defense, but no one is complaining about the 28-year-old forward this season as the Sixers have shot to the top of the East. Harris is hitting 40.3 percent of his threes and putting up the best true shooting percentage of his career (60.7 percent) so far with Philly.