The great debates
Discussing All-Star snubs has become annual pastime
Posted: Thursday January 31, 2008 9:52PM; Updated: Friday February 1, 2008 2:07AM
Maybe they should make it an official honor, like the NFL's Mr. Irrelevant. They could call it Mr. Snub, and shower the "lucky" recipient with a bag full of booby prizes.
Every year there's a guy who deserves to make the NBA All-Star team but somehow gets the shaft.
This year's Mr. Snub has got to be Baron Davis.
Davis is clearly one of the best point guards in the NBA. He ranks 12th in scoring (22.2 points), seventh in assists (8.1) and second in steals (2.5), while adding 4.8 rebounds per game (a hefty number for a point guard). More important, Davis is the catalyst and go-to guy for a Warriors team that is 28-19.
Davis' omission is even more surprising since the Warriors, as a team, were completely shut out. If the coaches had selected Stephen Jackson instead to balance the roster, then maybe Davis being left off would have been understandable. But for Golden State to have both of its stars snubbed, it just doesn't seem fair.
Davis was the biggest -- but not the only -- significant omission from this year's All-Star reserves.
Ray Allen of the Celtics, Josh Howard of the Mavs, Marcus Camby of the Nuggets, Jose Calderon of the Raptors and Hedo Turkoglu of the Magic also can claim to have been robbed.
It's not that any of the 2008 selections did not deserve to be in the Feb. 17 showcase in New Orleans. Even the most surprising picks -- Atlanta's Joe Johnson in the East and the Hornets' David West in the West -- are worthy.
But Johnson plays for a losing team in Atlanta, while West is still emerging as a consistent force.
One could make a compelling argument the more proven Davis, Howard or Camby deserved to go over West in the West, while bigger winners Allen, Turkoglu (or even Calderon) should have been given the nod over Johnson in the East.
In Allen's case, winning big certainly wasn't enough to get his ticket punched to New Orleans.
The seven-time All-Star was left off the Eastern Conference squad despite being a key part of a Celtics team that has posted an NBA-best 35-8 record. While it would have given Boston three members -- along with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce -- it wouldn't have been unprecedented. As Pierce pointed out in an interview on TNT, the Pistons had four players represented a couple years ago.
Like Allen, Manu Ginobili also didn't see any reward for his sacrifices and contributions to a winning team. The Spurs shooting guard, an All-Star in 2005, was left off the Western team despite his having agreed to give up his starting job to come off the bench.
NBA coaches love to talk about teamwork and sacrifice and giving up personal stats for the good of the team. But when it comes to All-Star voting, they apparently sing a different tune.
Like most years, the controversy over Thursday's selections will lead to calls to expand the rosters to 15. That would be a mistake. It's already hard enough for coaches to find enough minutes for 12 players.
The system is fine the way it is. It might generate a little debate, but that's part of the fun. Besides, this way we get to have a Mr. Snub every season.