The All-Star game is meant to be a celebration of all things basketball. Whether it’s watching the athletic and creative dunks from the dunk contest or seeing the immense skills displayed in the three-point shooting contest, All-Star weekend has something for every basketball fan, and the best part about it is the recognition received by all the players selected on the All-Star team.
The reason why the selection matters is that it indicates that the players, fans, and coaches have validated the player’s impact on the league. Many players view not being selected as the ultimate sign of disrespect of their talents.
While I believe the NBA has made many changes to improve the entire process (ie creating an all-star draft, removing positions to front court/backcourt), there needs to be a significant change in the selection process.
With the way the system currently works, there is no consistency on what defines an All-Star. In order to demonstrate this issue, let’s go over three distinct case examples of Trae Young, Kyle Lowry, and Bradley Beal.
Trae Young is clearly having a great year in the NBA averaging 29 points per game and 9 assists per game. These are incredible numbers and are deserving of All-Star recognition. In addition, the plays he’s made have garnered much deserved attention.
From the passes between the legs to shots near the half court line, no one can deny Trae’s skills this season. However, the Hawks are the second worst team in the East.
While basketball is a team sport, one individual’s play can make a huge impact on winning (i.e. LeBron, Giannis, Harden). There is just something intrinsically wrong about giving an All-Star spot to a player on one of the worst teams in the league.
Again, I acknowledge his numbers are impressive, but having a starting All-Star from one of the worst teams in the league is incredibly unsettling.
With this in mind, consider the case between Bradley Beal and Kyle Lowry. Lowry is on the second best team in the East while averaging a solid 19.7 points per game. His team is playing extremely well, so due to the fact that the coaches who vote on the All-Star reserves value winning, it made sense that he would get an All-Star nomination.
This problem gets a bit trickier when considering Bradley Beal. The man is averaging 29 points, but is not an All-Star this season. While Washington is not doing great, they do have a better record than Atlanta.
So Bradley Beal, who averages the same points as Trae and is on a better performing team, is somehow not in the All-Star game. In addition, Kyle Lowry, who is clearly not playing as well as Beal, is given the spot solely due to the overall success of his team.
Therefore, the best solution is providing stricter guidelines on who is eligible for an All-Star nomination. If the lack of congruency continues, an All-Star selection will hold little to no value among players and other members of the NBA community.