The West All-Snubs
DONUT 1: Center: Tyson Chandler (10.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 66.2 FG%)
Outside of Miami, it could be argued that no single addition attained this summer has made a greater impact than Tyson Chandler has with the Dallas Mavericks . Before he had ever finished a Jason Kidd alley-oop with a vicious dunk, altered an opponent's shot in the paint or displayed the ability to defend the pick-and-roll from the center position, he brought something else the Mavericks so desperately needed.
He unleashed emotion, a voice. He made it possible for his team to allow almost four points less per game than they were at the same point last season.
With a PER (Player Efficiency Rating) of 19, he's mutated the construct of opposing gameplans, and is the first Mavericks center since Raef Lafrentz in the 2001-02 season to average double digits in scoring.
DONUT 2: Forward: LaMarcus Aldridge (21.3 points, 9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 1.1 steals)
Despite playing large chunks of the season without a healthy Brandon Roy, the Portland Trailblazers are sitting as the eighth seed in the tough Western Conference thanks in large part to the performance of LaMarcus Aldridge.
Averaging at or above career-highs in scoring, rebounding, blocks, steals and PER (20.8), this University of Texas product makes a strong case for All-Star consideration. Rather than sink by the weight of his team injuries, he's carried the burden with a remarkable level of play and risen to the challenge.
Portland has endured a lot, but must be proud of the efforts they've seen from their young star. If this year is any indication, the 25-year-old will don an All-Star jersey soon enough.
DONUT 3: Forward: Kevin Love (21.4 points, 15.5 rebounds, 24.6 PER)
It's been said a player can only go as far as his teammates allow in any team game. In this case, being on a team with the second-worst record in the NBA undoubtedly played a role in his omission.
Love leads the league in rebounding, posted the first 30 point-30 rebound game in 28 years, and has been every fantasy owners dream come true. However, he can't overcome the constraints of a team with no playoff relevance, and thus no public attention.
If there is one lesson to be learned, it is that losing has no reward (well, unless you earn a huge contract extension while enduring it). ... or unless you are named the injury replacement for Yao Ming.
DONUT 4: Guard: Monta Ellis (25.1 points, 5.6 assists, 2.3 steals)
Much like Kevin Love, Monta Ellis suffers from playing for a poor team with little hope of cracking the playoffs.
Unlike Love, he also has a comparable player on his own team that likely stole some percentage of votes that may have otherwise gone his way in Stephen Curry. To be honest, I'm not sure whether or not the correct guard is being noted here.
Ellis is a volume shooter than can carry either team to a win. When hot, he can be brilliant to watch. When cold, he could piece together a brick-belt to circle the Earth without the slightest hint of hesitation.
DONUT 5: Guard: Steve Nash (16.8 points, 11.1 assists, 52.6 FG%, 40.8 3PT%)
It's not often a two-time league MVP and seven-time All-Star putting up numbers nearly mirroring his career best's gets left off the All-Star team altogether.
Nash continues to defy his birth certificate and shrug away the losses of his biggest offensive sidekicks. Yet, in a conference with Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker, you can almost understand his absence.
DONUT 6: Guard: Tony Parker (17.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.7 assists)
More often then not, the reasoning behind a very good player not receiving the nod for league honors is "winning." Given that, and the fact that Parker plays on the team with the best record in the NBA, it may be hard for some to understand how he won't be an All-Star.
Fair or not, you need look no further than the previous list of Western Conference point guards. Parker is having an excellent season on a team playing great, but it's hard to deny any of those names in his stead. … Except that his teammates in San Antonio vehemently disagree.
And to the East …
DONUT 7: Center: Andrew Bogut (13.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 2.8 blocks)
The biggest flaw for Bogut is simply the fact that he plays in the same conference as Dwight Howard, not to mention Al Horford. While he may average a double-double and lead the league in blocks, there aren't many who would be as bold as to rate him above either Howard or Horford.
Consider him the Tony Parker of the East, just playing the wrong position in the wrong conference to get a nomination this season.
DONUT 8: Forward: Carlos Boozer (19.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 54.4 FG%)
It would be much easier to argue Boozer's case if he hadn't missed 18 games already this season. While impressive when he's on the court, it would be unfair to ignore the fact that he often has not been.
Beyond that, if the Celtics can have four All-Stars you could reason the team only three games behind them in the standings could carry at least two.
DONUT 9: Forward: Josh Smith (16.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 1.3 steals)
Smith is one of the most athletic players in the league, and seems to be finally gaining an understanding of how to better harness his immense skills. He's averaging a career high in rebounding, and has added the threat of a three-point shot to his game.
There was a time not long ago that opponents smiled at the thought of Smith settling for a three. Now shooting 36.7 percent behind the arc, he's burning those still finding the urge to do so.
DONUT 10: Guard: Andre Iguodala (14.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.6 steals)
As the 76ers have clawed their way into the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, Iguodala has adapted to the new demands of the roster around him.
Taking only 11.3 shots per game (the fewest since his second year in the league), he has abandoned trying to become a player he is not and is no longer attempting to carry the offensive load with his scoring, but is fitting within the team's flow, creating for others and playing strong defense.
Much as was his role on Team USA in the FIBA World Championships, he's becoming a supremely talented "glue" guy.
DONUT 11: Guard: Raymond Felton (17.1 points, 8.9 assists, 1.8 steals)
Justifiably so, Amare Stoudemire is getting the lion's share of the credit for the turnaround in New York and for bringing significance back to games hosted in Madison Square Garden.
Standing in Amare's shadow could be another making his case for All-Star considerations: Raymond Felton. Posting career-highs in scoring, assists, free-throw percentage and PER (17.2), Felton is proving there is life after Nash for the former Sun.
DONUT 12: Conclusion:
Good players are denied their earned right to be an All-Star every season. Whether it's simply happenstance (as it is for Tony Parker or Andrew Bogut), the team you play on (see Kevin Love) or other outside factors, there will never be a squad to leave all onlookers satisfied with every selection.
The East starters: LeBron James
The East subs: Ray Allen
The West starters: Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Yao Ming (injured).
The West subs: Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol, Blake Griffin, Manu Ginobili, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams and of course, Dirk Nowitzki.... and now, Kevin Love.
That Yao thing keeps one spot vacant until Love was tabbed (over TY and others), and let's note … This season's collection of snubbed talent is as impressive as ever. … and as far as we're concerned, it starts with Tyson Chandler. But we understand that in Portland, Phoenix, Golden State, Minnesota and San Antonio, they feel differently.