The San Antonio Spurs are the only team with no representation at All-Star weekend this year, which sends a message of what the league thinks of them.
After 22 consecutive seasons making the playoffs, you’d think even just one player from the San Antonio Spurs would be selected to represent the team at All-Star weekend. No, they’re not the flashiest or most exciting team to watch this year, but they’re not without talent and have a passionate fanbase that’s well-respected in the NBA community.
And yet San Antonio is left in the dust with absolutely no representation at All-Star 2020.
However, the Rising Stars Challenge, Three-Point Contest, Skills Challenge and Dunk Contest roster a combined 44 players from teams with various records across the league. With 44 spots allocated, including some injury reserve selections, not a single Spur got as much as an invite? That’s absurd, even if the Spurs aren’t doing well.
To rub salt in the wound, the Spurs are the only team not being represented at All-Star weekend. The 12-win Golden State Warriors have rookie Eric Paschall in the Rising Stars game, and even the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers will have the chance to root for sophomore Collin Sexton at that same event.
Though none of the Spurs’ rookies have spent enough time in the NBA to warrant their selection, sophomore Lonnie Walker IV is genuinely more talented than half of the players on the roster. The Charlotte Hornets have three players on the U.S. team in Miles Bridges, PJ Washington and Devonte’ Graham. Walker should certainly replace one of Bridges or Washington in the event.
An event like the Skills Challenge is made for the Spurs’ young guards, Dejounte Murray and Derrick White. They’re versatile, agile and play to the fundamentals of the game, which are exactly what you need to compete in the Skills Challenge.
The most egregious of the omissions goes beyond basketball. Point guard Patty Mills has spent his season spreading awareness of the wildfires ravaging his home country of Australia in the midst of a career-year. He’s hitting 39 percent of his triples on six attempts per game—a criteria that only Miami’s Duncan Robinson and former-Spur Davis Bertans are achieving this season out of the eight participants.
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Mills is a volume three-point shooter, an international icon and representative of the game. He should be lining up his jumpers and competing in the three-point competition on Saturday night. Instead, the league is rewarding Buddy Hield, who’s shooting the lowest three-point percentage of his career and just got benched by the Sacramento Kings.
The MLB makes it so that every team is represented at All-Star weekend; even those going through rebuilds or retoolings. This is something the NBA should look to adopt because every fan deserves to have someone from their team to root for at All-Star weekend. There are five events and 66 spots to fill across them. Making sure that every team has at least one player to root for is not only fair but creates balance like Commissioner Adam Silver longs for.
San Antonio has a better record than 11 teams in the league right now, and yet they’re being penalized for their shortcomings.
This is a testament to the way the rest of the league views the Spurs right now, so hopefully, the team can use this as an incentive to prove their doubters wrong moving forward.