At least Pau has the rings. Two of them. And he’s been to the All-Star Game before. So there’s that.
But the coaches who vote on the reserves blew a chance to put two brothers in the same game, and on the same squad, when Marc Gasol got the nod and Pau didn’t. It wasn’t that Pau was overly deserving, although he’s having a decent year and pulling down 10 rebounds a night. But he was bypassed in favor of Dirk Nowtizki who, by his own admission a few days ago, wasn’t so sure he was All-Star quality this season.
And he isn’t. No disrespect to the NBA Finals MVP, but his scoring average (17.6) is the lowest since his second season and five full points off his career best. There’s even the notion that Paul Millsap would’ve been a better choice than Dirk.
Anyway, the coaches mainly got it right, although Josh Smith, who has been a big plus for the Hawks in the wake of Al Horford’s injury, will sit this game out. And Rajon Rondo was another who missed the cut, mainly because he’s missed games.
Does Monta Ellis have a case over Steve Nash or Tony Parker? Not really. The Warriors are one of the three worst teams in the West, and besides, Ellis’ scoring is down, his shooting percentage is down, and his 3-point percentage is really down, at 27 percent.
LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t thrilled with missing the cut last season — he made a last-minute surge in January when Brandon Roy went down for the Blazers — but will be the lone Blazers rep in Orlando, his first All-Star Game.
Strictly from an entertaining standpoint, the game will desperately miss Rondo, Ricky Rubio, Brandon Jennings and Kyrie Irving. You may not think they were entirely deserving, but wouldn’t you want to see them in their element, in what amounts to an exhibition of skills without the defense?
For those players who missed the cut and feeling a bit snubbed, at least there’s hope. With injuries coming fast and frequent, this game might set an All-Star record for last-minute replacements
Not that we’re endorsing that or hoping it happens. We’re just sayin’.