The biggest snubs from the ’21 NBA All-Star reserves
UNAPPRECIATED PERFORMERS

The biggest snubs from the ’21 NBA All-Star reserves

The ’21 NBA All-Star reserves have been announced. Here’s the list of guys who will participate in the 70th NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta on Sunday, March 7.

EAST: James Harden, Julius Randle, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Zach LaVine, Ben Simmons, Nikola Vucevic

WEST: Chris Paul, Paul George, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Zion Williamson

The All-Star Game rosters will be determined through the NBA All-Star Draft on Thursday, March 4, when team captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant will make their picks from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves, regardless of their respective conferences. If any of the selected players are unable to participate in the All-Star Game, Adam Silver will select the replacement from the same conference as the player who is being replaced.

In that case, which guys have the best chance of subsequently making the All-Star team? In other words — which guys deserved the selection without having to depend on other guys’ availability status come March 7. Here’s the list of the biggest snubs from the 2021 NBA All-Star Game reserves.

EAST:

Khris Middleton

  • Numbers: 20.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.7 APG on .498/.434/.895 shooting
  • Team Record: 19-13, 3rd in the East
  • after two straight All-Star selections, Middleton is putting up career numbers efficiency-wise while increasing his workload as a facilitator, averaging a career-best 5.7 APG. He’s once again flirting with a 50/40/90 club – a threshold he missed by 003 field-goal percentage points a year ago – while becoming the team’s No.1 option in late-game situations. And even though the Bucks are on the pace to win 59.3% of their games, compared to last season’s league-high 68.2%, there’s still a case to be made Middleton should’ve been an All-Star for the third straight time in his 9-year NBA career

Domantas Sabonis

  • Numbers: 21.5 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 5.7 APG on .528/.358/.710 shooting
  • Team Record: 15-14, 4th in the East
  • the 24-year-old Lithuanian is having a career-year across the board, averaging 20-10-5 — something only Hall of Fame big men (and Chris Webber) have been able to do. The Pacers are now Sabonis‘ team, and perhaps he should’ve been the one suiting up for the All-Star game on March 7. He should at least be among the first in line as a potential replacement

Trae Young

  • Numbers: 27 PPG, 4 RPG, 9.6 APG on .434/.370/.877 shooting
  • Team Record: 13-18, 11th in the East
  • Trae’s All-Star case is solely based on numbers. Although the Hawks are having a better year winning-wise compared to the last season, they are still not winning enough for their best player to be a guarantee to make his second-straight All-Star team. He’s still one of the most exciting offensive weapons in the NBA (eighth in scoring and third in assists), but the lack of team success, as well as his defensive impact, is what keeps him in the snub category.

Honorable mentions: Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward, Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Russell Westbrook, Jerami Grant

WEST:

Devin Booker

  • Numbers: 24.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 4.3 APG on .501/.381/.848 shooting
  • Team Record: 20-10, 4th in the West
  • Booker is without the doubt the biggest snub of the ’21 NBA All-Star Game and first in line as a potential replacement. The 24-year-old guard is leading Phoenix in scoring with career-numbers in efficiency. For the first time in his career, Devin isn’t putting up empty stats, as the Suns are just a game behind the 3rd seeded Lakers. Numbers and team-success wise, Booker’s case for the All-Star selection is as strong as it gets. He should be in instead of Zion Williamson.

Brandon Ingram

  • Numbers: 23.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.7 APG on .469/.394/.882 shooting
  • Team Record: 13-17, 11th in the West
  • The Pelicans are one of the NBA’s biggest disappointments 30 games into the season. But that didn’t stop Zion from making the All-Star team — why it’s not the same with Brandon Ingram? The 23-year-old forward is putting up almost identical numbers to last season’s when he was selected as an All-Star for the first time in his career. Team success is obviously lacking, but if that wasn’t a knock on Zion’s All-Star case, why is it on Ingram’s?

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

  • Numbers: 22.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 6.5 APG on .506/.407/.783 shooting
  • Team Record: 12-19, 13th in the West
  • SGA’s argument is along the same lines as Ingram’s. The only difference is, the Thunder, although below .500, aren’t perceived as a disappointment. In fact, they are performing at the level everyone expected of them, and Gligeous-Alexander is the biggest reason why. A third-year guard is putting up career numbers across the board, imposing himself as one of the most underrated players in the NBA today. It’s still isn’t enough for an All-Star selection, although a very good case can be made SGA should be the one playing in Atlanta on March 7

Honorable mentions: Mike Conley, DeMar DeRozan, Christian Wood, Ja Morant, De’Aaron Fox