By Gordon Robinson
Every year, the All-Star Team is released and a lot of people shake their heads and wonder, “Huh? Where is so and so?” It will happen again this year. And here are the Top 5 names that you might end up wondering where they are:
1. Russell Westbrook – The top two vote getters in the Western Conference right now are Stephen Curry and Kobe Bryant and the Western Conference is as deep as it has ever been in the backcourt. Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson and James Harden are just some of the names that Westbrook is competing with to be on the team. Even after injury, he still leads the team in scoring (26.2 points per game) and assists (7.1 per game). Westbrook is one of the best point guards in the NBA, but it seems there may be no room on the roster for the young star.
2. Derrick Rose – If Derrick Rose is not voted in by the fans, he may not get a jersey this season. With guys like Jeff Teague, Kyle Lowry and even teammate Jimmy Butler emerging as more worthy candidates in the backcourt D-Rose may end up being the odd man out. While Rose has not been the MVP of a few seasons (and surgeries) ago, but he is still the leader on the Chicago Bulls and is the man that they turn to late in the game.
3. Al Horford – The Atlanta Hawks are taking the league by storm and are winning by playing “team” basketball. That may be part of the problem. The team shares the basketball and on any given night Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague or even Demarre Carroll could be the man with the most touches. With all of this ball sharing (the Hawks rank second in the league in assists) it will be hard for Horford or any Hawk to get an honest All Star look. Al’s recent triple double against the Philadelphia 76ers proves what he could do if he were the central focus on the team. Teague and Millsap are both deserving of a jersey but may also get overlooked this season.
4. Tim Duncan – It is true, the Big Fundamental is getting long in the tooth but does that mean he should be overlooked as an All Star? Duncan still leads the San Antonio Spurs in scoring (15.3 points per game) and rebounding (10.3 boards per game) but the team would barely be a playoff team if the season ended today. With younger talent emerging in the West like DeMarcus Cousins, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin and Anthony Davis there may be no room left for the “Old Man.”
5. Monta Ellis – Monta was the clear lead option for the Dallas Mavericks before they got Rajon Rondo on the team. He still leads the team in scoring (20.6 points per game) and steals (1.7 per game). It was believed that Ellis and Rondo would not be able to coexist on the floor but so far Ellis has been getting the same number of shots that he was putting up before. You could argue that Ellis is playing some of the best basketball of his career and it is a shame that because of the back court depth in the Western Conference, he may not be rewarded with an All Star jersey.