The 2018 All-Star rosters are official, as 14 reserves—selected by coaches—will join the 10 starters already voted into the exhibition. While 24 of the game’s best players will represent the NBA in Los Angeles, a wealth of talent will also be left off the team this year. Here are The Crossover’s biggest snubs in each conference.
The Rockets are an astounding 18–0 with Chris Paul, James Harden and Clint Capela in the lineup. Paul has assuaged concerns about his fit in Houston, working seamlessly alongside Harden in one of the most potent offensive attacks the league has ever seen. Mike D’Antoni has staggered Paul’s and Harden’s minutes this season, and the Rockets are nearly as explosive with Paul running the show himself. CP3 also stepped up when Harden missed time with a hamstring injury, solidifying his case as someone worthy for consideration. Of course, the West has a glut of great guards, so making the team was always going to be a tall order. Paul’s own injuries likely hurt his chances, so we’ll have to wait until the summer for a possible banana boat reunion.
This is the snub that hurts the most. Lou Will has been one of the most exciting parts of this NBA season, and watching him gun with a supersonic green light in a no-defense All-Star game would have been an incredible sight. Again, there are too many awesome backcourt players in the West to be too upset over WIlliams’s exclusion, but damn. This is a man who gave Golden State a 50-piece and led the Clippers to their first win against the Warriors since 2014. Imagine how many girlfriends Williams would have had after a weekend of All-Star debauchery. His inclusion would have also added some welcome new blood to the game, and it would have been a worthy nod to a Clippers team that has exceeded all expectations. Maybe Lou Will can take part in some other festivities over the weekend, but we’ll always wonder what he could have done in the ultimate offensive showcase.
PG–13 is another casualty of the overloaded West. A shoo-in in the East, George likely finished behind the likes of Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green and LaMarcus Aldridge for a playoff spot. Unfortunately for George, his outstanding defense on the wing doesn’t make him a sexy pick for the game. But George certainly would have been a defensible selection—remember when he almost set the record for three pointers in an All-Star game? George hasn’t been the same scorer he was in Indy while sharing the ball with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, but he’s still a dead-eye shooter and one of the best two-way players in the game. It would have been fun to see who picked George with the new draft dynamic spicing up the game, but who knows, maybe George will have plenty of chances to play in L.A. next season.
Drummond has had a resurgent season for the Pistons, who have cooled off after a decent start to the season. It’s tough to get excited about plodding centers, but Drummond has really evolved this season, eschewing post-ups for more handoffs and action at the elbow. Kristaps Porzingis likely edged out Drummond for the last big-man spot, and both had a fair claim to be included. Unfortunately for Drummond, Joel Embiid now has another way to attack him on social media.
Simmons isn’t some great snub, but he would have been fun as hell in an All-Star game. Every All-Star game should have a great passer, and Simmons would have been setting up people for dunks left and right. An All-Star nod would have recognized how unique of a rookie Simmons is—he makes an incredible offensive impact without being an any semblance of a shooter, and he can more than hold his own on the defensive end. Simmons’s case would have been helped if he played better without Embiid on the court. It would have been really fun to watch them go head-to-head as opponents in L.A.
There’s a reason Michael Jordan won’t trade his starting point guard without getting an All-Star in return. The Hornets’ struggles aren’t because of Walker, who has been his typical whirling-dervish self on the offensive end. The Hornets play like one of the best teams in the league with Walker on the floor, with an offense that could rival the Warriors and Rockets of the world. Walker’s personal net rating is 17.5—he’s had a bigger positive impact on his team than LeBron James. But the East has its own fair share of capable guards this season, and Kyle Lowry’s drop in counting stats has coincided with a rise in efficiency. If the Hornets were playing a bit better, Kemba may have been an easier sell.