4 of the Biggest Snubs from This Year’s NBA All-Star Game
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As we are roughly three weeks away from 2019's NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, fans are locking down their selections of players who rightfully deserve to be a part of the midseason classic. The league plans to bring back the rule change they introduced last year in which the top two vote-getters are named team captains, meaning they have the responsibility of selecting the ten best all-stars for their respective squads. As expected, LeBron James leads the way in votes. Meanwhile, Bucks point forward Giannis Antetokounmpo overtook Steph Curry as this year's second captain for the game.
With Curry, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker already announced as starters, many people are paying attention to see who would be the reserves will be for this year's game. Once the reserves are announced, arguments will begin about who the biggest snubs are. Even though some players are having breakout seasons, not all high performing hoopers can get the chance to play in the game that helped make Michael Jordan, Shaq and Magic Johnson legends of the hardwood.
Without further adieu, here are ONE37pm's four most unfortunate NBA All-Star snubs of 2019.
D'Angelo Russell, PG, Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets have quickly become one of the NBA's hottest teams. Winners of 12 out of their last 15 games, the Nets went from starting the season with a record of 8-18 to currently holding the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Point guard D'Angelo Russell is a big reason why the Nets are seeing such great success. He's playing like a man possessed and has been turning heads, giving teams nightmares during the Nets impressive run.
The second overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft is finally unleashing his confidence and killer instinct and it's paying off. Over the last ten games, Russell has been averaging 24.1 points and 7.7 assists per game. He has already surpassed his career total of 30-point games (six) this season with (eight) and its only January.
Kyle Kuzma, Forward, Los Angeles Lakers
The second-year phenom is looking like he's ready to become the "Robin" to the Lakers "Batman", LeBron James. When the Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball with the #2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, many saw him becoming the new floor general in charge, ready to take the Lakers back to their consistent winning ways—something Russell had issues with during his tenure in Tinseltown. Although Ball displays true point guard attributes, it was Kuzma who broke through and became the "steal" of an impressive rookie class. While earning NBA First Team All-Rookie honors, he averaged 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds a game his first season.
Ever since LeBron came to LA, Kuzma became even more productive averaging 19.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists a night. His energy, versatility and strong finishing capabilities have shown Laker fans that his potential for greatness is at an all-time high. Leading the charge for the young generational Lakers while receiving veteran guidance from Rondo, Bron and Tyson Chandler, Kuzma is bound to become a future All-Star. It's unfortunate that 2019 won't be the year in a deep Western Conference full of top tier frontcourt players such as Anthony Davis, Nikola Jovic and Karl Anthony Towns.
Tobias Harris, Forward, Los Angeles Clippers
The story behind this 26-year-old Long Island native has been a very interesting one. After a stellar freshman campaign at the University of Tennesee, Tobias Harris was drafted by the Charlotte Bucks with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Traded to the Bucks on draft night, Harris was traded four times in a span of 7 seasons—until he landed in LA. The Clippers acquired Tobias through a 5-player trade with the Detroit Pistons in January of 2018. The obvious began to set in as the "Lob city" era has finally ended but in comes a new generation of ballers who are ready to bring refreshing ways to winning. Tobias has slowly developed into potentially becoming a franchise player for the Clippers.
Tobias has been averaging 21.5 points and 8.0 rebounds for Doc Rivers' crew. While having one of the leagues most underrated strokes and the ability to blow past opponents his size, Harris' patience and hard work is finally paying off as he begins to make a name for himself in the league. But due to the stack frontcourt players that are in the Western Conference, this year will not be the year Harris gets to suit up as an All-Star. Give him time though, we bet we'll be seeing this talented kid get the invite to the All-Star game sometime in the very near future.
Bradley Beal, Guard, Washington Wizards
With his scoring partner in crime, John Wall, out for the season, Bradley Beal has been on a major tear for the Washington Wizards. Averaging 24.6 points, 5.0 assists and 5.1 rebounds a night, Beal shows why he is deserving of the max contract he signed for $127 million. But because of the fan voting that normally turns the All-Star Game into a "popularity contest", it looks like Beal's breakout year may not include a 2019 All-Star appearance under his resume.
But don't sleep on the former Florida Gator standout chances just yet. With the unexpected season-ending injury to Victor Oladipo, Beal may have snuck his way into the midseason classic. It may take some convincing from the coaches and media, but Bradley is rightfully deserving of a spot.
Let's hope the good folks at the league offices will do the right thing and let him enjoy his first experience as an All-Star since his Wizards squad are struggling this season.
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