Fan voting has officially concluded for the 2019 NBA All-Star game. It’s time for Spurs fans to accept that it’s entirely possible that both of San Antonio’s stars miss out on the action this year.
As the 2019 NBA All-Star game approaches, many NBA writers have taken to social media to share their picks for this years’ rosters. A common theme: DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge are omitted from rosters. It’s time that San Antonio Spurs fans to come to terms with the fact that it’s possible that no Spurs players will be in the 2019 All-Star Game. That shouldn’t be all that surprising.
Here a few reasons San Antonio’s stars might get snubbed from the All-Star game.
First and foremost, the Western Conference is deep as hell. There are so many players that are deserving of spots that it’s hard to narrow it down to just twelve players. DeRozan has to compete for a spot against players like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Donovan Mitchell, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard, and De’Aaron Fox.
DeMar DeRozan is currently the only player in the NBA to score 1,000+ points in each of the last 9 seasons.
Only five other players that can join if they reach 1,000 this season: James, Aldridge, Cousins, Paul, Westbrook.
— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) January 23, 2019
That’s eighteen very deserving players fighting for twelve spots, so someone is going to be left out. Meanwhile, in the Eastern Conference, someone like Eric Bledsoe might make his first All-Star game. Does Bledsoe deserve a roster spot? Maybe. Is he more deserving than any of the Western Conference guards just mentioned? Absolutely not. Maybe it’s time the NBA considers revamping the selection process.
One of the strongest arguments for both LaMarcus and DeMar missing out on the All-Star game are the Spurs numbers when the two are off the floor. There is an argument that the Spurs are actually a better team when the two aren’t even playing.
The Spurs offensive rating when Aldridge is on the floor is 114.6 and when DeRozan is playing it’s 113.6. Those numbers jump to 117.9 and 120.6, respectively, when the players are off the floor. Their defensive rating follows a similar trend. San Antonio is giving up 115 points per 100 possessions when DeRozan is on the floor and 110.4 when he’s off. With LaMarcus, it’s 115.5 when he’s playing and 109.9 when he’s on the bench.
Furthermore, All-Star selections generally reward star players on good teams. While San Antonio has been one of the leagues very best over the past month and a half, a fair amount of that success can be attributed to their bench production. The Spurs bench is one of the very best in the league. They lead the league in total +/- at +142, and three-point percentage at 41.5%.
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The style the play is more free-flowing and prioritizes high percentage looks. They’re led by a veteran floor general in Patty Mills and the rest of the bench mob are all high performing role players. Their success against opposing second units has been key in San Antonio’s surge. Their success could also be hurting the All-Star cases of DeRozan and Aldridge.
Honestly though, missing out on the All-Star game really isn’t that big of a deal, especially for established stars like DeRozan and Aldridge. Early on in an NBA players career, All-Star berths hold more significance. They validate the hours of hard work that a player has put into honing their craft, but DeMar and LaMarcus have been there multiple times before. DeRozan has gone four times, Aldridge has been to six. At this point in their careers, and at their ages, I think they would welcome the rest; they could both really use it.
Aldridge is 33 years old and DeRozan hasn’t been himself as of late. This will be a great opportunity for them to step away from the game and get right before the second half of the season. In the long term is it more important for San Antonio’s two best players to rest up and get right or go play in an ultimately meaningless showcase game? Is this just my way of making peace with the impending All-Star snubs? Yeah, probably. Doesn’t mean I’m wrong.
It’s a shame that Aldridge and DeRozan will likely miss out on the All-Star fun, it really is. But it’s for the best. San Antonio is still fighting for a playoff spot and has yet to go on the grueling Rodeo Road Trip.
The time off for these stars is well deserved and very much needed. In the end, it will be better for the Spurs that neither player spends their break in Charlotte at the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.