Six Worthy Below-The-Radar All-Stars

DeMar DeRozan is the Raptors' leading scorer, at more than 21 points a game (Rocky Widner/NBAE)

DeMar DeRozan is the Raptors’ leading scorer, at more than 21 points a game (Rocky Widner/NBAE)

We know the fan balloting to select the NBA All-Star Game starters is a beauty pageant more than a referendum on results.

Kobe Bryant, playing only six games this season, leading the balloting for the West backcourt and Rajon Rondo, who hasn’t played at all, ranked in the top six in the East means all that is missing is a sash and tiara.

With less than a week left in the voting for the starting lineups, it will be up to the coaches — they name the reserves — to fill in the blanks and rectify some of the slights. But there’s still more than handful of deserving players who could be left out. We’ll call them the All-Fars, as in too far under the radar:


Paul Millsap, F, Hawks — When teammate Al Horford was lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, it certainly made life a little more difficult for everyone on the Hawks. But it also shed some light on Millsap’s contributions. After six years in Utah, the Jazz let Millsap walk in the name of their youth movement. So he took his lunch-pail attitude to Atlanta as perhaps the best free-agent bargain of last summer. He’s rung up 16 double-doubles in the first 37 games this season and, along with point guard Jeff Teague, is responsible for keeping the Hawks in the No. 3 spot in the East.

Arron Afflalo (Fernando Medina/NBAE)

Arron Afflalo (Fernando Medina/NBAE)

Arron Afflalo, G, Magic — Location, location, location. Afflalo is hardly in the prime real estate spot for getting notice with the also-running Magic. There was a great deal of speculation that he would have to be traded before the start of the season to make way for rookie Victor Oladipo. But the Magic are glad they resisted the urge and kept him around. He’s averaging more than 21 points, four assists and four rebounds per game and shooting better than 40 percent from behind the 3-point line. Is it too much of a stretch to label him the second-best shooting guard in the East behind Paul George? Dwyane Wade certainly gets the notoriety and the votes, but Afflalo has the credentials to be in the conversation.

DeMar DeRozan, G, Raptors — If Afflalo is held back by Orlando being mired at the bottom of the East standings, how much of a bump can DeRozan get from being the lead dog pulling the wagon for the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors? That is odd just to type. But there’s no question that Toronto has come together in the aftermath of the Rudy Gay trade. The 24-year-old DeRozan has ably stepped up to carry the offensive load and has shined in big wins at Oklahoma City and at home over the Pacers. He’s scoring, passing and rebounding. The only thing missing is a dependable 3-point stroke.


Ty Lawson, G, Nuggets — With the injuries to Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul, it seems that the All-Star door is finally going to swing open for Stephen Curry. But that still leaves a gigantic logjam of point guards in the West. Never mind the populist voting that has the likes of Steve Nash and Jeremy Lin in the top 10. Lawson still has plenty of competition from Damian Lillard and Tony Parker, both of whom play for teams that are significantly higher up in the standings. The Nuggets had to do an extreme makeover with the departure of Andre Iguodala and the loss of Danilo Gallinari to a knee injury. Lawson has to carry the lion’s share of the load and is the only player on the roster averaging more than 30 minutes per game. He said he didn’t like coach Brian Shaw’s system at the start of the season, but he has thrived in it.

Nicolas Batum (Sam Forencich/NBAE)

Nicolas Batum (Sam Forencich/NBAE)

Nicolas Batum, F, Trail Blazers — He’s a victim of his own teammates. While the Blazers’ surprising rise in the standings is giving LaMarcus Aldridge his star turn, and Damian Lillard is constantly providing his own end-of-game highlights, the young Frenchman stands in the background and rarely draws more more attention than the wallpaper. He’s still long and lean, but seems to have grown in confidence with his offense. As part of the bombs-away Portland attack, he’s firing up at least five 3-pointers per game and connecting at a 40 percent clip. He’s also playing more of a role as a distributor and remains an excellent finisher on the Blazers’ break with his speed and length. Likely the only way Batum will ever get his due is if he helps take his team all the way to The Finals, where nobody gets overlooked.

Anthony Davis, F, Pelicans — A year ago, it was easy to look past the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft because his coach did more to stop him with a lack of playing time than any defender on the court. But the reins are off now and Davis has become a real force at both ends of the court, averaging just under 20 points, nine rebounds and more than two blocked shots per game. Coach Monty Williams says there is virtually nothing he doesn’t trust Davis to do on the court now. The 20-year-old, who’s expected to be the foundation of the franchise for the next decade, has had to shoulder even more of the load due to the spate of injuries that have taken down Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Ryan Anderson. He’s got a particularly tough road to travel to the All-Star Game in his hometown of New Orleans with Aldridge, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki, to name a few, blocking his path. Plus, he’s playing in the depths of the standings. But growth in the shadows is still growth.


  1. fanatickathy says:

    Lamarcus Aldridge is another sho-in, even though the dumb fans don’t vote for the worthy players–Kobe? Come on! Good thing that the coaches can vote for the bench–and Terry Stotts will be the coach for the West–just wait and see!

  2. fanatickathy says:

    If Damien Lillard doesn’t make it, there’s something rotten in Denmark and everywhere else!!!! We are 31-9, for God’s sake–everyone look at the standings! And, yes, I’d even include Nic Batum–what a season he;s having along with his teamates! He’s had 2 triple-doubles this year so far and always around that stat each game! And he’s doing it with a broken finger!!!!!

  3. enzo says:

    monta ellis replacement for kobe…!!!!!!

  4. MCW says:


  5. Jason says:

    What about mike conley he’s improved a lot he should get at least a reserve bid

  6. daryl snedden says:

    if cousins does not make the team we need to try a new way of selecting allstars

  7. Stone says:

    What about the bulls bigs? They both can rebound and score.

  8. Frankie D says:

    DeRozan has been doing really good so I don’t know about him making it, Affalo has done well as well, but my favorite under the radar player has to be my cousin D. Cousins of Sacramento I really believe he is the BEST all around Center in the NBA right now. Bogut may be better defensively, Howard is just a name now a days I dont think he is on Cousins level.

  9. RAPTORS says:


  10. The Voice In The Distance says:

    Aaron Afflalo, Demarcus Cousins, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Goran Dragic, Rudy Gay, Roy Hibbert, Kyle Lowry,
    Nikola Pekovic & Lance Stevenson all deserve at least a look in but they have something in common – small market.
    Small market too often meaning under-looked. Some good mentions of deserving players in article too. But with the amount of talent the west has right now I almost fear for the east in this game.

  11. The Voice In The Distance says:

    Aaron Afflalo, Demarcus Cousins, DeMar DeRozan, Goran Dragic, Andre Drummond, Rudy Gay, Roy Hibbert, Kyle Lowry, Nikola Pekovic & Lance Stevenson all deserve at least a look in on this to go with the popularity contest winners. I certainly agree with some of the people in the article and quite a few of those will no doubt make the rosters, but with all the talent in the west right now I almost fear what will happen to the east in this game.

  12. None of the above says:

    I agree with quite a few people mentioned in the article but also DeMar DeRozan, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry, Demarcus Cousins, Aaron Afflalo, Rudy Gay, Lance Stevenson, Andre Drummond, Nikola Pekovic, Roy Hibbert all deserve at least consideration. But, as we know it’s just a popularity contest anyway. A problem that always has existed and always will – small market players get under-rated and under-looked, big market players get over-rated and over-hyped. If you’re an individual named after a Japanese city and play on the Pacific coast people will still be trying to vote for you years after you’ve retired.

  13. Sivil says:

    Goran Dragic should be at least mentioned. But the way I see it, he will fade away without any attention even though his stats this season are remarkable

  14. Jazzy Jeff says:

    Having DeMar on this list obviously makes sense but K Low and DeRozan compliment each other so well. None of them would be in the position they’re in or even have the Raptors up in the ranking if they weren’t playing EQUALLY as good. Lowry definitely deserves all star consideration, especially with Rose and Rondo out; and Kyrie playing the way he is.

  15. andrade says:

    lawry man should be starter in the allstar game

  16. De'Sean says:

    Goran Dragic! Take a look at his stats! He deserves a spot on the team without any doubt.

  17. Ace says:

    Not not that of a kings fan, but to tell you honestly thomas and the newly acquire gay were great! Rudy is back in his old days(the memphis days). but i don’t think thomas can be an allstar thinking there are a lot of PG better than him, not to mention TP, Lillard, Rubio, and Dragic.. neverthe less DMC DESERVES an all-star slot. he’s even better than the other centers in the league, for me he’s just behind Dwight and Lopoez. in fact he is TOP 5 in four of the statistical category of NBA- fifth in the league in both Rebounding and player efficiency (1st among centers), third in scoring (1st among centers), and LEADS the league in playmaking. still not convince to set him to New orleans??? if you think he don’t deserve a spot because of his team’s record, then might as well slash carmelo anthony and john wall from the list..

    and by the way i think the should start looking for a REAL center.. you can’t start with 3 SFs…who will you put against howard. if thats the case i think its fair enough to give the all-star MVP to howard.

  18. James says:

    What about Lowry? He’s in the Top 10 in the MVP ladder. He must be doing something good, right ? Jeeez….

  19. Jack says:

    Gordon Hayward

  20. Jimmy says:

    How about Thaddeus Young? He is CLEARLY playing better than 90% of the PF’s in the east and is playing better than a lot of the PF’s in the NBA. He is a player that ALWAYS gets treated like garbage in the NBA. Playing better than Chris Bosh thats for sure….

  21. v says:

    Sounds like personal picks. well then put John Wall (Wizards player) under sign of under the radar. Maybe he is so low you missed him…

  22. Alex says:

    Kyle Lowry should get some love too for the turn around of the Raptors. Jonas is still a year or two away from being a dominant force but he’s getting close. A really really REALLY All-Far is Isaiah Thomas, he’s getting nearly 20-6 for the Kings at the size he is. He won’t get recognized since nearly every team in the West has an all-star point guard but he’s worth mentioning as an up and comer

  23. weeeell says:

    there will be no Pekovic in any article because he is white.

    Sorry guys. :c

  24. Johhny B good says:

    What about one of the most underrated players in nba, Goran Dragic?

  25. Ezzaaz says:

    What about Monta Ellis, Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas!!! Dude wake up your mind!

  26. Endo says:

    East: Hibbert, Jefferson, Millsap, Smith, George, James, Anthony, Wade, DeRozan, Wall, Erving, MCW
    West: Howard, Cousins, Aldridge, Griffin, Love, Leonard, Durand, Harden, Curry, Poul, Lillard, Westbrook

  27. NBA rocks says:

    I like Jlin ,but looking at his stats he doesn’t reserve to be in the all star game! Bledsoe, Lillard, Isaiah Thomas is TOTALLY better then him

  28. Ruben says:

    I think the three players that deserve the allstar nod would have to Nick Batum, Demarcus Cousin( the new age Rasheed Wallace) the boy is a beast! Demar Derozan……obviously he with a little help keeping the raptors afloat. But obviously the nba doesn’t give nod to struggling teams with good players…they over look them.. Hey don’t be injured like G Hill back in the day and still get voted in, freaking favoritism off a name….give it to players who hustle to keep thier teams relevant….show them some love too… They deserve it….

  29. Ryan says:

    Derozan & Kyle Lowry have both demonstrated consistency and deserve a nod.

  30. agntoo6 says:


  31. bballforlife says:

    no demarcus cousins? what a mockery. absolutely pathetic. the man is AVERAGING 24 AND 12, AND NOT EVEN A CONSIDERATION? REALLY?!?!?!?!?

  32. TopChef says:

    You’re kidding if you think Afflalo is the second best shooting guard in the east. DeMar DeRozan is hands down second best after Paul George. He has proven that both individually and with team efforts all season. Afflalo has been an average shooting guard his whole career and is playing pretty well on a very very poor Magic team. DeMar has reached a higher height than Afflalo at the age of 24, as well as showing that he is capable of actually leading a team. Afflalo is a respectable player but not on par with DeMar. However, both deserve to be all-stars this season.

  33. varun says:

    DeMar DeRozan is amazing hes being playing so good and that why we have been getting wins latllyhere in Toronto. LETS GO RAPTORS!

  34. wooderson says:

    demar has to be a shoe-in. but what about david lee, goran dragic, klay Thompson, the all star game has become a complete joke, why on earth do the NBA put lin, nash, Bryant, rondo etc on the ballot???!!!!!!!

  35. Elton says:

    Demarcus Cousins should be an all-star. Did you see the match ups tonight vs hibbert. Cousins outplayed every match up of everygame night in and night out. Cousins would have better stats but he play so little minutes compare to other star playrs. Tonigh only play 3 quarters cousins had 31pts 13reb. That is saying a lot, especially going up agiants Roy Hibbert, in which most people say Hibbert the best big defender.

  36. Jordan says:

    Wow how are Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo getting votes one his only played 6 games and one has not played. Come on people your suppose to vote for the best players of this season not the best players or your fav player.

  37. BallinMofo says:

    How on earth isn’t Dragic mentioned in this??

  38. sirscoopalot says:

    no love for evan turner?

  39. ODOG says:

    How is it that Kyle Lowry is Top 10 in the MVP race but not being considered for the All Star game. Lowry and Derozan both need a reserve spot IMO

  40. Mr Smith says:

    Public voted for a bunch of Nike Sponsored players with highlights from years ago. Barely playing this year..Kobe, Rondo, Wade (Part-time) etc..

    Yes, we get it. Heat are champs. Everyone wants to ride that South Beach wagon to LBJ’s mansion. But Bosh, JBJ, Wade every single year is a bit much.

    Stats and team’s success should play large factor in deserving a nod for all-star considerations.

    But since All-Star weekend is all about the Fans! Well, there you have it. It’s a high school popularity contest. No one gets excited to watch Derozen, or Lance Stephenson, or guys that make a difference in games.

    They want to see the flashiest and most youtubed players. The NBA, like many other sports and entertainment venue thrive and profit from hype and excitement. Bring on WWE and a storyline!

    Not hatin’, in fact, really enjoy watching the ‘stars’ show their stuff. The guys with fancy clothes and million dollar cars drive in – doing their fancy dunks and moves, with their Hollywood ladies. What better way to spend a weekend?

  41. Kenneth says:

    What about Monta Ellis, he is the man. Its unfair for him for not being in ALL STAR GAMES during his whole career. Everyone only votes for KOBE BYRANT for western guard starter, I wonder it’s only a commercial effect.

    Ellis is improving and no longer a selfish player, he got enough skills and all star level.

  42. RAPS says:

    Guys who deserve it

    East- James Anthony Wade George Hibbert Jefferson Derozan Irving Lowry Deng Wall Noah

    West- Durant Griffin Howard Love Curry Davis Cousins Alridge Lillard Harden Ellis Paul

  43. Ryan says:

    Lowry and DeRozan

  44. okc2014 says:

    My All-Far’s would be Jeff Teague, Kyle Lowry, Millsap for the East. And Serge Ibaka, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousions for the West.

  45. Johbu says:


  46. DJ_Fan says:

    Still no mention of deandre jordan, the leading rebounder in the nba, top 5 in blocks and a human highlight reel who gets overshadowed by blake and cp3, totally under the radar

  47. HelloThere says:

    I would think that kemba walker should be given a chance as well, hes doing great this season but no one notices him.

  48. Raptor_fan says:

    DeMar Derozen for all star. All star players should be consider based on their contribution to success of their team and I believe DeMar Derozen completely fit that bell.

    • art says:

      Dermar De Rozan, & Lowry. I feel The Raptors have a good chance atleast to get to the Finals.

      J . V The new Center is playing well. I think they should leave him in as a starter and let Tyler rotate as F / C
      Toronto is becoming one of the best teams right now. Chemistry is good !

  49. Unkle Daddy says:

    I really hope to see some new blood in the all-star game this year. Glad some of the choices being made by the fans will not be coming to fruition.

  50. RaptorsFanSince95 says:

    DeRozan leads all Eastern Conference Shooting Guards in Scoring. Imagine if his stats weren’t dwarfed by Rudy Gay early in the season. And it’s not like he’s the only option now, as Kyle Lowry is starting to drop 20+ as well. Not to mention the trouble he gives other shooting guards on defense. Talk to Paul George about how DeRozan had him at single digits for majority of the game.

    • gronk says:

      they should most definitely both be making it… i dont think i can watch the nba if at least one of the two dont make it

  51. That NBA Guy says:

    The best Point Guard in the East right now, Kyle Lowry. Don’t believe me ? Looks up his stats.

  52. Jivan says:

    Check the rankings Fran, Raptors took 3rd in the East last night. Don’t be so shocked

  53. lbj says:

    derozan and lowry for east—- stats and standings are all you need to look at. Derozan and Lowry are beasts. Lin is not and all star. kobe earned an all star no matter what so i can’t argue. Rondo is awesome and more than likely would be starting point for the east if he played but he doesn’t deserve an all star vote this year.

  54. nbabasehl says:

    DeRozan > Afallo

  55. Baller101 says:

    A.Davis – If only he wasn’t injured last season, he could be easily become the ROY..The way he is playing this season, he amazes me with his athleticism. His body is not well built (compared to other PF/C) but he can bang them up. He can go toe to toe with some all star PFs and Cs. He runs the floor very well, can defend, and can do jumpers better that BG 🙂

  56. Pek-fan says:

    Nikola Pekovic

  57. some dude says:

    Kyle Lowry

  58. anonymous says:

    What about Kawhi Leornard? This guy is playing well and consistent.

  59. Sharmake says:

    And somewhere in artic minnesota nikola pekovic is cussing up a storm bewildered why he gets no consideration

  60. Mark says:

    Evan Turner

  61. Abaddon says:

    Drummond to all-star!

  62. Allycat says:

    How about dirk? He never gets voted in… Hope the coaches make the right decision. Also monta ellis deserves to make it as well.

  63. Nate says:

    Cousins is also averaging nearly 2 steals a game.

  64. CAVS FANATIC says:

    Ridiculing Jeremy Lin? Hes having a great season, that’s just racist….

    • jakesnake says:

      Jerryd Bayless better than Jeremy Lin? That’s a joke. When Patrick Beverly comes back, Jeremy Lin comes off the bench and still averages better numbers than him. He is a legitimate top five sixth man. Now that doesn’t mean that he deserves an all star bid over someone like James Harden or Damian Lillard. The real travesty here is why Kobe Bryant is even on the ballot. Also if Batum is underrated then Chandler Parsons is definitely underrate.

  65. clipper nation says:

    Where is Goran Dragič ? Probably the best suns player this season. He always gets overlooked.

  66. TL says:

    I think Lance Stevenson should be Most Improved Player. That dude is playing out of his mind in Indiana and no one notices.

  67. zielonygrzyb says:

    I’d add Michael Carter-Williams and Evan Turner here. Yes, they come from the not-as-bad-as-expected-but-still-bad 76ers bunch where it is not so difficult to shine, at least in relative terms. And MCW is a rookie. But they are playing great basketball, Turner finally living up to the expectations most have forgotten in the meantime due to his terrible play in the last 2 seasons, and MCW being one of the best point guards in the East, as of now.

  68. SAVANT says:



  69. rich says:

    How about isaiah thomas? His averages are very similar to kyrie irving. He is definitely an under the radar type player

    • joe says:

      theres a difference between a guy who is playing well given the circumstances and role that he is thrust into. and an allstar player who consistently draws double teams, sets up his teammates, and plays at a higher level of basketball than most other good players. to be an allstar you have to be great. to be a superstar you have to be better than great

  70. KingKaash94 says:

    I think the coaches should give spots to Anthony Davis (because he’s the hometown kid and he’s playing well) and DeMarcus Cousins, who has kept his anger in check and posting good numbers as well. Dirk and Duncan aren’t posting numbers like these guys

    • artifex says:

      Well, Dirks stats aren’t that far from Cousins’. Pure numbers don’t recognize the roles players have on a team, while mixed with e.g. shooting rates, you get an idea of how good a player is.
      And looking at the length of stats Nowitzki and Cousins are pretty close to each other.
      Though I fear for Cousins that his reputation among coaches (who vote for the reserves) is not that good – while Dirk has that “old player” tag to get skiped in favor of younger players (though he’s my favorite, I’m fine with that).

      So, my guess is that none of them gets in…

  71. zg says:

    Goran Dragic!?

  72. blazermania says:

    Why Jeremy Lin is even considered for an All-star is beyond me! Clearly the above mentioned players are WAY WAY WAY better than him. He isn’t even good. He is below average. Jerryd Bay less is a better player than him. But this is what happens when you leave the all-star voting to dumb fans. Only coaches should be able to vote for the all stars.

    • nota asian says:

      because there are a lot of asian people who are fans of the nba. and obviously they are going to vote for the one asian dude on the ballot, regardless of his actual merit.

    • Mark says:

      Understand that jlin doesn’t reserve to be an all star but bayless better than jlin?? Check the stats bro..numbers don’t lie

      • blazermania says:

        Mark I didn’t mean the Bayless comment literally. It was more sarcastically. I know J Lin has better stats. But how about Damian Lillard? Goran Dragic? Or his own teammate James Harden who got less votes than Lin. Come on now….

    • artifex says:

      We have this discussion EVERY year (and always about an Asian and some far-beyond-prime-ex-allstar).
      I personally think that neither Lin nor Garnett (one of my all-time fav players) deserve it this year.
      But I’m OK with the way, since All-Star is for fans, so why not give the fans a say? If a Mio people want to see Lin, let him play, and it’s only 5/12 players. And the list of votes counts nothing beyond the starters. For AllStar it doesn’t matter if Lin gets 40k or 400k.
      The other 7 players are voted by coaches, who certainly have a very good idea who is a good player.

      What I really don’t understand is why people vote for injured players. Holfort was one of my favorites in the East. But when he went down, I took another player.

      But I vote for my favorites and are fine with others doing so, no mater how many argue he’s not worthy. Looking forward to Feb!

  73. Gee says:

    Along with Aaron Afflalo being considered for an all star spot,in my opinion he should be the leading candidate for MIP (most improved player)

    • BasedOnStats says:

      Being born in Boston I’m primarily a Celtics fan, but seeing as I now reside in Orlando I always keep an eye on the Magic. Afflalo is the only offensive threat on the Magic and usually gets all the opposing teams attention yet he’s getting his 21ppg on 47% fgp and 40% from three to go along with his 4 and 4. I thought It was crazy the little amount of recognition he was getting. Also guys check out Rudy Gays stats since the Sactown trade. He’s made a DRAMATIC jump as well.

    • Reco says:

      I would have to throw monta ellis in the mix as well

  74. Anonymous says:

    What abour Demarcus Cousins?! He’s the only center averaging 20+ points and 10+ rebounds a game! Being in Sacramento, however, his accomplishs usually go unnoticed. 😦

    • Say, whaat?! says:

      I guess his attitude plays a role here too…
      But needless to say, he is clearly one of the most dominant centers in the NBA today..

      • Trix says:

        Demarcus is having a great season but i dont think it’s better than Anthony Davis. Davis is averaging 20 pts, 10 rebounds as well. But he is also getting 3 blocks and 1.5 steals as well. I think that’s what makes him so special. Two way player

      • Bob says:

        Is there an attitude pre-requisite when it comes to voting? Sac doesn’t get as much attention as GSW, LAL or LAC…thats why Cousins doesn’t get more credit.

        Kobe got voted in for what?? He’s barely played this year and he was terrible when he did….some people just know like 5 NBA players total.

    • supreme901 says:

      How about Isiah Thomas he is really underated but still averaging the same amount of stats as kyrie

    • Sharpie says:

      I don’t think Demarcus Cousins is under the radar. I think he actually has a decent shot of making the team. Also Kevin Love is listed as a F-C so I guess that’s not technically true. Anyway I think Cousins has a really good shot, especially with 2 centers on the team. Besides Dwight Howard who, in the west, is going to beat him? I would give Dwight the nod over Cousins because he’s shooting better, grabbing more boards and is a better shot blocker. Yeah Cousins is averaging more points but he has also shot 157 more shots while playing 3 fewer games. That’s 5.31 more shots per game.

    • George says:

      Watch Cousins get takin to school by Pekovic tonight when the Wolves & Kings play. Pekovic has been outmuscling any and all big men so far. He may not be pretty but he gets the job done with desire, hustle & muscle.