The NBA ballers most likely to be snubbed from tonight’s All-Star announcement

The NBA ballers most likely to be snubbed from tonight’s All-Star announcement

Don’t expect to hear Chicago’s Zach LaVine’s name called.
Don’t expect to hear Chicago’s Zach LaVine’s name called.
Image: Getty Images

In advance of NBA consumers getting pissed off at tonight’s full All-Star roster reveal, it’s only right to brace ourselves for the angry fanbases who will defensively rise up in a matter of hours.

Do you honestly need more of an intro?

Host: Ain't Hard To Tell Podcast (@AHTTPodcast) | Founder: Side Hustle, digital series | Author: Hidalgo Heights (Spring 2021) | Award-Winning Content Creator | Video Game player | Puerto Rican |

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Julius Randle, PF, New York Knicks

Julius Randle, PF, New York Knicks

Illustration for article titled The NBA ballers most likely to be snubbed from tonight’s All-Star announcement
Image: Getty Images

Knicks fans are already touting Randle’s 2020-21 Most Improved Player-worthy campaign in an effort to tear down those around him. But are they completely wrong?

Randle’s averages of 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 5.5 assists are not only All-Star worthy, but they place him in elite company. The list of players in the league to be currently averaging 23-11-15 are as follows: Randle, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and that’s it. And although the Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets have better records than the Knicks, there’s only a slight gap separating the three teams.

If the playoffs were today, the 18-13 Bucks would be the three seed in the Eastern Conference, with the seventh-seeded Nuggets being 16-14 out West. The Knicks are 15-16, which is their best start since 2017-18, and they currently sit as the seventh-seed in the conference. Randle is unquestionably the leading reason, but due to the competition in the frontcourt, particularly with other standouts like Domatas Sabonis and Bam Adebayo he could end up one of the odd big men out. It wouldn’t be fair to him either because he isn’t a ‘good stats, bad team’ guy (see Jerami Grant) and will likely be a contender for the aforementioned M.I.P. all-season long, if not ultimately win it.

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Zach LaVine, SG, Chicago Bulls

Zach LaVine, SG, Chicago Bulls

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Chances are, if you’ve been paying attention, he’s made you a believer this season. The 14-16 Chicago Bulls and led by a perennial ‘good stats, bad team’ guy, who suddenly has become undeniable in this first portion of a trying 2020-21 season. The Bulls aren’t awesome, and they’ve dealt with injuries and overall absences like other teams, but LaVine is around 2019-20 Bradley Beal territory.

Last season, Beal, averaging 28.6 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 45.3/31.8/84.6 percent from the field, three-point and free throw lines, was thee notable All-Star snub. The Washington Wizards were 15-31 at the time. This season, LaVine’s averages of 28.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists are strikingly comparable, but he’s shooting 51.8 percent from the floor (first among qualified shooting guards), 43.4 percent from three, and 86.4 percent on free throws. These Bulls are obviously better than last season’s Wizards, but LaVine might get snubbed because of the reputations (Kyle Lowry) or perceptions (Trae Young) that might see him fall short. Clearly, he is worthy (and a prime example of why All-Star rosters should probably be expanded).

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Nikola Vučević, C, Orlando Magic

Nikola Vučević, C, Orlando Magic

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If you wanted to argue that Vučević has been the best player on this list this season, I would probably disagree, but I’d at least hear you out. Chances are, you wouldn’t make that point anyway, mainly because many of you haven’t seen much of him this season.

The uber-talented center toiling away down in Orlando has one-upped his 2018-19 All-Star season, but with far less healthy talent around, he’s kept the Magic afloat damn nearly by himself. Through 31 games this season, the Swiss center is averaging a career-high 24.1 points, along with 11.7 rebounds, with a shooting line of 48.1 / 40.5 / 83.5. His offensive rating is also at 115, tying a personal-best.

His second-best player this season has been Evan Fournier. People continue waiting for Aaron Gordon to ascend, but his productivity has been declining for four seasons, and the Magic are without Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Issac, and Mo Bamba is hardly a rotation player. The Magic are 12th in the conference, but they’re 13-18. Everyone but the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves are “right there.” If snubbed, it’ll likely be because of Adebayo and Sabonis, and Randle might be in over him, too. Other frontcourt stars in the East of consideration are Gordon Hayward, and Tobias Harris. (Jayson Tatum, too, but don’t expect him to be excluded.)


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Honorable Mention: De’Aaron Fox, PG, Sacramento Kings

Honorable Mention: De’Aaron Fox, PG, Sacramento Kings

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In a loaded Western Conference, and on the 12-18 Kings, De’Aaron Fox’s first All-Star bid will likely have to wait, despite averages of 22.3 points and 7.6 assists.

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Honorable Mention: Brandon Ingram, SF, New Orleans Pelicans

Honorable Mention: Brandon Ingram, SF, New Orleans Pelicans

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The Pelicans are 13-17, and everyone wants to see Zion Williamson, meaning Ingram and his averages of 23.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists will likely be on the outside looking in.

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Honorable Mention: Jimmy Butler, SF, Miami Heat

Honorable Mention: Jimmy Butler, SF, Miami Heat

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Even though he’s missed 12 games, he’s been one of the most impactful players in the NBA this season, leading the Heat to an 8-5 record since his return from COVID. During that stretch, he’s averaged 20.6 points, 8.7 assists, and 8.6 rebounds, and his season averages are close to the same.

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Honorable Mention: Mike Conley, PG, Utah Jazz

Honorable Mention: Mike Conley, PG, Utah Jazz

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Many of us want to see Conley finally get in, but even sentimentally, his case is increasingly difficult in a lively Western Conference crop of guards. Conley is at least back from injury now, and has been the pivotal point guard behind the Utah Jazz’s league-best 25-6 start.

Conley’s averaging 16.4 points, 5.6 assists, and 1.4 steals, while shooting 44.7 / 41.2 / 82.2. Some of his advanced numbers (offensive rating, offensive box plus-minus, true shooting-percentage, defensive rating) are the best they’ve been for him in multiple years, if not ever, which is the case for ORtg.

But Damian Lillard is a lock, Chris Paul and Devin Booker are both likely in, and Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, Conley’s teammates, likely will join them on March 7. As deserving as he appears to be, the surrounding elements might simply be too much for Conley to overcome.

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Host: Ain't Hard To Tell Podcast (@AHTTPodcast) | Founder: Side Hustle, digital series | Author: Hidalgo Heights (Spring 2021) | Award-Winning Content Creator | Video Game player | Puerto Rican |