The San Antonio Spurs have not had an NBA All-Star since 2019, although it was not for lack of talent. DeMar DeRozan played at an elite level during his time in San Antonio, and Dejounte Murray has carried the torch this year, proving he is one of the best guards in the league.
Despite fans rabidly campaigning for Murray to be voted into the All-Star Game this season, it was no surprise that he fell short of being named a starter. While the move shocked no one, it was still disappointing nonetheless.
There are better guards than him -- namely All-Star starters Stephen Curry and Ja Morant. Devin Booker and Donovan Mitchell are also playing some excellent ball. At other positions, there are players that are still better than him. Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert, and LeBron James all come to mind. But Andrew Wiggins?
When the starters were announced, there were very few surprises. Durant, Giannis, DeRozan, Trae Young, and Embiid will be the first five for the East, and the West features LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Ja Morant, Steph Curry, and, for the first time ever, Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins was by far the biggest question mark.
I realize that Murray is a backcourt player and Wiggins has been labeled as a frontcourt player. But it’s incredibly frustrating when a player who will probably be snubbed is clearly better than a player named into the starting five.
The Comparison isn't even close
Breaking it down, Murray is a better scorer, rebounder, playmaker, defender, and free throw shooter than Wiggins. Shooting percentages are the only area where Wiggins beats out Murray, which is telling, but it should also be noted that Murray is not only better than Wiggins when it comes to assists, steals, and rebounds, but he is actually more than two times better.
Sure, you can argue that Wiggins putting up his pretty good stat line on a great team as the third option is better than Murray putting up his absurd numbers on a bad one, but Murray manages to rack up more win shares than the starter despite being on a much worse team.
The comparison between Wiggins and Murray is so far from realistic that I have grabbed another player to compare with Wiggins: Keldon Johnson.
No one in their right mind would call Johnson an All-Star at this point in his young and promising career. Johnson is the third option behind Murray and Derrick White, but his numbers are comparable to those of Wiggins.
Keldon Johnson scores only 15 points per game compared to Wiggins’ 18, but he is a much better shooter from deep and is overall a more well-rounded player. Both are capable on defense, but Johnson throws his body around in the paint to make more noise and grab more boards.
Am I saying Johnson is better than Wiggins? Nope, but he’s a lot closer to “Maple Jordan” than Andrew Wiggins is to Murray. The gap is massive.
The All-Star Starters are determined by a fan vote, and Wiggins had all of Canada and the Bay Area backing him. Murray just has Seattle and San Antonio. That’s a population gap of around 42 million people.
I do think the NBA should include fans in their programming, but it should be by featuring them on social media, asking for help shooting commercials, or allowing more input with the City Edition jerseys.
Taking away from players' legacies is just plain stupid, especially when the argument for who is better is not even close. NBA All-Star weekend is becoming a farce, but it’s still nice to get recognized when you’ve put in the work. Murray has, and Wiggins has not.