Talent is all around the NBA, so it’s automatic to see a player having a great season get overlooked for a much-deserved All-Star spot. It literally happens every single year, and it’s for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s reasonable or not, though, there are some that left us scratching our heads.
Before we get into the list, note that this will only involve players that were completely snubbed. As such, infamous cases like Carmelo Anthony in 2007, where he only got in as a replacement despite averaging over 30 points per game during the selection process, will be excluded.
Let’s get it going.
Kevin Martin, Sacramento Kings – 2008
Season averages: 23.7 points, 40.2% 3PFG
The Sacramento Kings were looking to build a new, reliable core in the mid/late 2000s, and sweet-shooting guard Kevin Martin appeared to be a promising piece, so much so that they decided to trade beloved veteran King, Mike Bibby, during the trade deadline.
Martin was in his second-consecutive season leading Sacramento in scoring, and he’s one of only two players to average over 20 points and also shoot 40% or better from the three-point line that season.
Hedo Turkoglu, Orlando Magic – 2008
Season averages: 19.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, five assists, 40% 3PFG
The Orlando Magic were on-the-rise in the 2007-08 season. It led to first their 50-plus win season in 10 years thanks to head coach Stan Van Gundy’s hard-nosed approach and the monstrous presence of Dwight Howard. Hedo Turkoglu, however, was among the key secondary guys. He led the Magic in assists, and was second in scoring and three-point field goals.
Jalen Rose, Indiana Pacers – 2001
Season averages: 20.5 points, five rebounds, six assists
After a good run in the late 1990s, the Indiana Pacers were running on fumes entering the 2000-01 season. Longtime starters Mark Jackson and Rik Smits, as well as head coach Larry Bird, had all moved on, either through a trade or retirement.
Fresh-off a Most Improved Player of the Year campaign, Jalen Rose made the most out of the opportunity and paced Indy in scoring. Though the Pacers regressed in the standings, he was instrumental in the playoff push and established himself as a solid offensive player.
DeAndre Jordan, LA Clippers – 2015
Season averages: 11.5 points, 15 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 71% FG
‘Lob City’ was at its peak in in the mid-2010s, and DeAndre Jordan was a huge part of that high-flying act alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Their trio guided the Clippers to a top three seed in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.
For his part, DJ transformed into an elite double-double machine, as he led the league in rebounds and field goal shooting for pretty much the entire season.
Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats – 2014
Season averages: 21.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.2 blocks
Al Jefferson arguably had his best NBA season in the 2013-14 campaign. It was where his stats and efficiency best balanced with wins, which was a slightly better than his Utah Jazz years.
Aside from helping the then-Charlotte Bobcats form an identity (as short-lived as it was), he proved to be an effective workhorse and partner alongside emerging guard, Kemba Walker. Jefferson ranked inside the top 11 in points and rebounds per game that season, and he was eighth in double-doubles despite missing nine games.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks – 2001
Season averages: 21.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.2 blocks
The Dallas Mavericks were on the verge of becoming a playoff contender in the West in 2001. Michael Finley wasn’t a one-man team anymore as Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash are coming into their own, especially the former.
Dirk led Dallas in points, threes, and rebounds, and was also slowly emerging as a new-age stretch four and point forward. He co-powered the Mavs to a 53-29 record by regular season’s end, the franchise’s first 50-plus win season in 13 years.
Chris Paul, Houston Rockets – 2018
Season averages: 18.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 7.9 assists, 1.7 steals
We’re all familiar with how Chris Paul makes his teams better. He’s the ‘Point God,’ plain and simple. Such was on full display in his debut season with the Houston Rockets in the 2017-18, where the once-middling contender immediately jumped ahead of everyone. They finished with a 67-15 slate and had the record in the league for basically the entire season.
Paul’s 18 missed games before All-Star Game hurt his case, but he was so impactful for the team whenever he’s on that it was easy to argue he still should’ve gotten a nod.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers – 2016
Season averages: 25.1 points, 6.8 assists, 3.1 threes
This is one of the biggest mysteries in All-Star Game history. There’s simply no good reason not to put Damian Lillard in that game that year. He was clearly one of the most explosive scorers and point guards in the league.
Lillard, along with Curry, are the only players to rank top 10 in points, assists, and threes per game in 2016. It’s not like the Blazers were a lottery team too. They were in the playoff picture at the time of the selection process.