Why the Utah Jazz's two All-Stars are still holding out hope Mike Conley will join them
Rudy Gobert has a suggestion for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver: If, at any point in the next couple of weeks, you find yourself searching for an All-Star, we’ve got an extra one right here in Utah.
While Gobert and Donovan Mitchell both relished the honor of their second All-Star selections on Tuesday, their celebrations were somewhat muted knowing their floor general, Mike Conley, was not named an All-Star with them.
“Obviously, we think that Mike should have been there,” Gobert said Wednesday.
Conley, 33, has been one of the league’s elite point guards for more than a decade, but has never been selected for the league’s midseason showcase. After helping lead the Jazz to their best start in franchise history, a league-best 25-6 record to date, Conley hoped this year would have a different outcome.
“This year, everything is falling into place,” he said last week. “We have the best record. We have our coach coaching the game. It’s all falling in line. If it’s not going to happen this year, that will be tough.”
Conley’s omission was tough for his teammates, too.
Gobert and Mitchell (who is also part of the NBA’s 3-Point Contest) will join head coach Quin Snyder in Atlanta on March 7, honored to represent their teammates and what they have accomplished so far this season.
“What makes this one even more special is the team success that we’re having,” said Mitchell.
“I believe it’s about the team. Me and Don are going to be out there representing what we’ve been doing as a team and as an organization. It’s just a great blessing,” Gobert said. “… It’s an amazing feeling to share the court with all the best basketball players in the world.”
The two Jazz All-Stars just think Conley should be included among the game’s best.
Conley is averaging 16.4 points, 5.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game. And his advanced stats, including owning one of the league’s best net ratings, only further prove his value to the first-place Jazz.
“It’s unfortunate we don’t play on national TV enough for people to see the impact that he has from game to game,” Mitchell said. “Everybody looks at the box score, but his impact is controlling how the game is played. … That’s the definition of an All-Star. I think with us being the No. 1 seed, I thought he was definitely going to be able to get in. It was unfortunate that he wasn’t.”
Gobert also believed Conley should be on the list of All-Star reserves, but knew another snub was possible.
“I knew it could happen. There are a lot of guys in the mix. We’re the Utah Jazz. We’re a small market. We kind of knew that having two guys is already amazing,” Gobert said. “But Mike deserves it. He’s a big part of what we do. He’s gotten snubbed already a few times in his career. He’s stayed professional throughout his whole career, on and off the floor, and he’s had a huge impact for us.”
There is still a chance Conley could be named an All-Star as an injury replacement. Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis is currently dealing with a calf strain that is expected to sideline him for at least a couple of weeks.
If that happens, Gobert hopes the league knows where to look.
“If there is any replacement to be made,” Gobert said, “I hope Mike’s the first on the list for sure.”