Worthy All-Stars getting snubbed for the season is a normal occurrence, and most of them get rewarded somewhere down the line. Unfortunately, there are players who have a solid stretch in a long career without making an All-Star team at all. Sometimes it’s just through tough luck.
As a tribute to former Memphis Grizzlies star and current Utah Jazz starter Mike Conley finally getting that long-coveted selection this year, let’s now take a look at the list he just came out of:
Career win shares: 70
Best stretch: 18.3 points and 10.3 rebounds per game from 1967-1971.
Happy Hairston is best-remembered for his six seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. He helped the Lake Show win it all in 1972, where he averaged 18.5 PPG and was the third scorer behind Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain.
Career win shares: 100.8
Best stretch: 14.9 points, 7.5 assists, 1.4 steals per game from 2001-2009.
Though he never wowed anyone with speed or athleticism, Andre Miller more than made up for it with his basketball IQ, especially his court vision and sneaky defensive instincts. He’s a classic case of a player whose valuable contributions can’t be seen in the stat sheet.
Miller had a couple of good playoff runs while with the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Top 10
10. Monta Ellis
Career win shares: 41.9
Best stretch: 20.8 points, 5.1 assists, 1.8 steals per game from 2007-2015
When he was at his absolute prime with the Golden State Warriors, Monta Ellis’s combination of speed, quickness, explosiveness and scoring ability could arguably rival anyone in the league. He can shoot anywhere and he was exciting in the open floor – a highlight reel waiting to happen.
9. Mike Bibby
Career win shares: 73.2
Best stretch: 17.7 points, 5.4 assists, 1.2 steals from 2001-2007
Mike Bibby’s All-Star bids were hindered by various factors. There were a ton of star guards during his prime and there were years where he got overlooked since he played in one of the most well-rounded starting fives in the history of the game, the early 2000s Sacramento Kings. Make no mistake about it, though: Bibby was an elite point guard and shooting threat for a while.
8. Lamar Odom
Career win shares: 77
Best stretch: 14.1 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists per game from 2003-2011.
Lamar Odom is possibly the most versatile player to never be an All-Star. He can post up, shoot from the mid-range, pass, and defend, and he’s also boasting a 6’11 frame with a 7’5 wingspan. Odom had great seasons in his early years with the LA Clippers and his one-year stop with the Miami Heat. He then blossomed into a championship-level starter while with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he also won Sixth Man of the Year in 2011.
7. Richard Jefferson
Career win shares: 83
Best stretch: 19.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists per game from 2003-2009.
Like many guys on this list, Richard Jefferson was a worthy All-Star at least one or twice in his career but never got in due to the position being loaded. There’s no denying his abilities, though. He was a productive swingman that can score and attack with great athleticism. He raised his game after Kenyon Martin’s departure, and helped the New Jersey Nets remain as a playoff team.
6. Purvis Short
Career win shares: 51.1
Best stretch: 24.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.4 steals from 1982-1986.
Purvis Short is one of the many underappreciated players from the hall-of-famer-filled era of the ‘80s. It didn’t help that his prime was very short. Still, as seen in the numbers, it was very good. He actually averaged 28 and 25.5 points per game for the Golden State Warriors in the 1984-85 and 85-86 seasons.
5. John Williamson
Career: 1973-1981 (ABA and NBA)
Career win shares: 23.6
Best stretch: 22.2 points per game from 1976-1979
This is another name that’s very rarely brought up because he got overshadowed by certified superstars played his prime while on lottery-bound teams (New York Nets and Indiana Pacers).
John Williamson had a short prime too, just like Short. He, however, has a distinct stat that separates him from all the others: he’s the only NBA player to finish his career averaging 20 or more points per game and never be named an All-Star.
4. Cedric Maxwell
Career win shares: 78.5
Best stretch: 16.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists per game on 58.3% shooting from 1978-1982
Cedric Maxwell was behind Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parish in the vaunted Boston Celtics squad, but he was indeed a valuable piece during that time. He’s a force in the post and was flat-out efficient with his shots. He led the league in field goal shooting in 1979 and 1980, and finished his career with a 62.9 TS%.
3. Ron Harper
Career win shares: 65.8
Best stretch: 19.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.1 steals per game from 1986-1994
Before Ron Harper became a role player with the dynastic Chicago Bulls teams in the late ‘90s, he was an electric, high-scoring, two-way guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers and LA Clippers. He could’ve made at least two All-Star teams between the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, most notably during the latter, where he was a key factor in the Clippers’ back-to-back playoff berths.
2. Sam Perkins
Career win shares: 105.4
Best stretch: 15 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, one steal, one block per game from 1985-1992
Sam Perkins has the highest win shares out of every player who never made an All-Star team, which says a lot about his contributions, how often he played with winning teams, and how underappreciated he really was.
It can be argued all the All-Star snubs was because Perkins was never the main scorer of a team, but the counterargument for that was he always played his role well, particularly with the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, and his numbers were better than most third and/or fourth scorers.
1. Rod Strickland
Career win shares: 85.8
Best stretch: 17.9 points, 9.4 assists, 1.4 steals per game from 1993-1998
Rod Strickland’s game is easy to like and quite fun to marvel at. He’s a floor general with elite court vision and handles, which he mixes nicely with effortless flashiness and pizzaz. It’s a skillset that balances the fundamentals and the street park style of play.
Though his prime years was short, it was right up there with the best. His 9.4 APG from ’93 to ’98 is second only to John Stockton, while his four seasons with at least 17 points, eight assists, and 1.5 steals per game, which puts him in a short list that includes all-time greats like Magic Johnson and Gary Payton, among others.