Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns deserves to make his first All-Star game. Today, we will find out if he makes the cut, or if he will be the biggest snub in league history.
The All-Star reserves will be announced today and I can only imagine what Devin Booker‘s plans are to watch the TNT special. Perhaps he will surround himself with all of his Phoenix Suns teammates. Perhaps he’ll watch alone. Perhaps the league isn’t weird and actually calls the selectees ahead of time, but strangely enough, I don’t think that is the case.
Here are the basic rules the NBA coaches will follow when voting for the All-Star reserves: they must pick two backcourt players, three frontcourt players, and two “wild cards” which could be players at any position.
Devin Booker, obviously, is a backcourt player, so that leaves four potential spots for him to grab, if (and this is a big if) both wild cards are backcourt players.
Damian Lillard is all but guaranteed to be chosen. He is second in the Western Conference in points per game and has the name recognition and clout that will likely lock him into place.
That leaves three spots for Booker.
Of course, there is more than point per game that goes into All-Star selection. Players with the assist numbers to back up their point production narrows the list quite a bit.
Booker is second in assists per game among non-point guard All-Star reserve options (behind Nikova Jokic), but it is hard to say if that whole non-point guard bit of that stat will factor in.
Booker won’t compete in defensive and rebounding stats, and it appears Rudy Gobert will fill this niche in the Western Conference reserves.
What does that leave?
For argument’s sake, let’s slot Gobert, Jokic, Ingram as the three frontcourt selections. There aren’t any other frontcourt players people are making an honest argument for. Some might say Paul George should be in the discussion, but this is more based on name recognition more than pure numbers.
If we rule out George, in theory, this would then allow four of these five players to also make the cut: Lillard, Booker, Westbrook, Paul, and Mitchell.
From this biased Phoenix Suns writer, the debate on who to snub is between Westbrook, Paul, and Mitchell, but who knows how the coaches will vote.
Westbrook and Paul have legacy and name recognition while Mitchell has showtime dunk highlight reels that draw eyes.
Ultimately, what I’ve said before is worth repeating: If Booker doesn’t make the All-Star team, the NBA should investigate for tampering. Booker should be an All-Star and those who disagree are most certainly part of some deep-league conspiracy colluding to keep the rightful man out of the game.
Okay, probably not. But seriously, coaches. Do the right thing. Give Devin Booker his first All-Star nod. He’s earned it.