Expand the damn All-Star rosters so talent like this stops getting snubbed

Expand the damn All-Star rosters so talent like this stops getting snubbed

Devin Booker (r.) got HOSED.
Devin Booker (r.) got HOSED.
Image: Getty Images

Generally, in the NBA, you’re allowed to carry 15 players per team, 13 of whom are eligible to be active on game night, not including any two-way roster slots. This season, in preparation for unexpected absences (which have been primarily due to COVID-19 protocols), the active roster list has expanded to include 15 players. In either rule, NBA players are mandated to carry more than 12 players per roster. So why are NBA All-Star rosters limited to just 12 players per team?

We have a legitimate collection of snubs every NBA season. This season probably wouldn’t be the one to have had expanded All-Star rosters — or even an All-Star Game to begin with — but going forward, the All-Star rosters should at least be raised to 13 each, if not 15 in total, so that 30 would reflect the amount of NBA teams and the size of the actual rosters.

Karl-Anthony Towns averaged over 25 points and 12 rebounds while hitting 55 percent of his shots in 2016-17 but didn’t make the cut. We all remember Bradley Beal being left out last year despite averaging 30 points per game. And Devin Booker and Rudy Gobert were both unfairly snubbed on multiple occasions before breaking through, while Mike Conley never has and may never will.

This even occurred in the 1990s, with the likes of Rod Strickland in 1997-98, who had been close to 17 points and over 10 assists, later earning Second-Team All-NBA. Drazen Petrovic had been scoring over 23 points per game in 1992-93, and later made All-NBA Third-Team, while powering the New Jersey Nets to the playoffs. And Reggie Miller, similarly to Petrovic, posted 22.4 points per game on 51 percent shooting in 1990-91 pre-All-Star Game, but didn’t receive the honor.

It’s time to increase the rosters. Will there still be snubs? Perhaps, but far less so, and the following list will be evidence of that.

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2 / 10

Khris Middleton, F, Milwaukee Bucks

Khris Middleton, F, Milwaukee Bucks

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Photo: Getty Images

The 19-13 Eastern Conference third seed is predominantly guided by Giannis Antetokounmpo but would be lost with Khris Middleton. The 6-foot-7 swingman is averaging 20.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.7 assists, arguably outperforming his previous two seasons, both of which landed All-Star appearances. He’s so steady that despite averaging just over 20 points per game, his season-high is only 32 points, but he’s scored double-digits in all but one of his 32 appearances this year, and he’s scored 20 or more in 17 games.

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3 / 10

DeMar DeRozan, F, San Antonio Spurs

DeMar DeRozan, F, San Antonio Spurs

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Photo: Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs are easily one of the most overlooked NBA teams this season; otherwise, DeMar DeRozan would’ve comfortably been an All-Star Reserve. The previous four-time All-Star is averaging 19.8 points, 6.9 assists, and 5.0 rebounds while shooting nearly 49 percent for a 16-11 Western Conference team that is fifth in the standings. His 126 offensive rating is not only a career-best tally, but top-15 in the league.

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4 / 10

Bam Adebayo, C, Miami Heat

Bam Adebayo, C, Miami Heat

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Photo: Getty Images

The Miami Heat exhibited one of the NBA’s most disappointing starts, mainly due to factors outside of their control. In Jimmy Butler’s absence, Bam Adebayo carries the most credit for at least keeping them afloat, to the point where he’s being taken for granted despite making another leap. The 6-foot-9 big is averaging 19.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists while ranking in the league’s top 10 in defensive rating. He’s also added a mid-range jumper that is automatic on some nights.

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5 / 10

Domantas Sabonis, F, Indiana Pacers

Domantas Sabonis, F, Indiana Pacers

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Photo: Getty Images

The Indiana Pacers began the season 11-7, and it looked like they had a shot at sending both Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis to All-Star Weekend; both (especially Brogdon) have tailed off a bit, but Sabonis remains as one of the most significant omissions. The Pacers are 15-1,4 but are fourth in the Eastern Conference. Sabonis is tallying 21.5 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game while shooting close to 53 percent from the field, and nearly 36 percent from three.

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6 / 10

Mike Conley, G, Utah Jazz

Mike Conley, G, Utah Jazz

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Photo: Getty Images

He’s only averaging 16.4 points and 5.6 assists per game, but as the starting point guard for the NBA team with the best record, usually that does it — even if you have two teammates already on the team (Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert). He’ll go down as one of the best players in NBA history to never make an All-Star team if he never breaks through. And if he isn’t tabbed a replacement for the injured Anthony Davis (or anyone else), this may have been his best shot outside of his Memphis Grizzlies tenure.

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7 / 10

Jimmy Butler, G/F, Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler, G/F, Miami Heat

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Photo: Getty Images

Even though he missed 12 games, he still impacts his team’s winning more than most other All-Stars in the league. Since returning from COVID, Jimmy Butler is averaging 20.6 points, 8.7 assists, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.7 steals for a Miami Heat team that has gone 8-5 during that stretch. For the season, his averages are 19.1 points, 7.6 assists, and 7.6 rebounds, but with Butler, his production always transcends the numbers in the form of winning, defense, and plays not accounted for on stat sheets. The Heat are only 14-17, though, so a Sixth All-Star appearance was unlikely for him.

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8 / 10

Trae Young, G, Atlanta Hawks

Trae Young, G, Atlanta Hawks

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Photo: Getty Images

The usage rate is still well above 30, and his team is only 13-18 while 11th in the East, but Trae Young is averaging 27.0 points and 9.6 assists. Even while only shooting 43 percent from the floor, it’s difficult to leave off this production level from the All-Star Game, especially when the teams are so close to one another on the standings, making it increasingly challenging to penalize losses this year. (Or, at least it should.)

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9 / 10

Devin Booker, G, Phoenix Suns

Devin Booker, G, Phoenix Suns

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Photo: Getty Images

The grandest of omissions from the All-Star Game is Devin Booker, who is in a position all too familiar for him. He’s been snubbed arguably two other times in his career, but this is the worst example of such disrespect. Booker’s leading the Phoenix Suns with 24.7 points per game while shooting 50 percent from the field and 38 percent from three. He was also not selected in favor of the injured and aforementioned Davis, as well as teammate Chris Paul, who is deserving, but arguably not as much. The Suns are 20-10 and fourth in the Western Conference, and not having their leading scorer with numbers as efficient as Booker’s is relatively absurd.

LeBron James agrees.

Booker, however, was later added to the team as a replacement for LeBron teammate Anthony Davis, who is out with a calf strain.

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10 / 10