NBA All-Star 2020
4 takeaways from 2020 All-Star reserves
Devin Booker, other snubs, all those duos & many, many debuts
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Devin Booker’s level-headed comportment and measured response last week indicated he knew how voting would shake out for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.
By now, he’s used to being snubbed, which is exactly what transpired Thursday when the NBA All-Star reserves were announced on TNT, once again without Booker in the fold. Told he had come in at fourth for guards in the Western Conference last week in the votes submitted by the players, Booker shrugged.
“That was good news,” he said.
Then came the bad Thursday for the guard, who is averaging 27.1 points, 6.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game while shooting a career-best 51% from the floor. A five-year veteran, Booker hasn’t yet been named an NBA All-Star, and was somewhat of a longshot this year to be the first Suns player to make it since 2012, when Steve Nash represented the squad.
Despite finishing fourth among player votes, Booker was eighth in fan voting. Lack of team success certainly factors into the equation, no matter what you might think about the selection of Atlanta’s Trae Young.
So now, Booker will just continue to settle for the words of admiration he receives from opponents on the floor from time to time.
“It’s been a few,” Booker said. “I’ve heard [players like my game] a lot in my years I’ve been here, and that’s probably one of the best compliments I can get. Guys that are in this situation, guys that are taking these flights to these different cities, spending summers working on their game, just to earn that respect from them is important to me. I’m the same way. I follow the game very closely. I watch a lot of players, and I’m a fan of a lot of people’s game, and I respect them at a high level.”
Booker’s All-Star snub represents only one of several we’ll cover in our quick takeaways from Thursday’s announcement of the 2020 NBA All-Star team reserves.
Booker wasn’t the only player deserving of All-Star recognition that was snubbed. The list here is pretty long. We’ll go through them one by one, in no particular order:
Derrick Rose deserves a Chicago homecoming for the All-Star game, considering he’s on a career-long streak with 20 points or more in 13 consecutive games.
DeMar DeRozan could be victim of what analytics folks consider to be an antiquated game as he doesn’t shoot the 3-ball much, but he’s one of just three players (East captain Giannis Antetokounmpo and West reserve Nikola Jokic are the others) averaging 20 points or more, 5 rebounds or more and 5 assists or more while shooting 50% or better.
Bradley Beal is averaging career highs in points (28.6) and assists (6.3) and has scored 36 points or more in four consecutive games with a couple of 40-pieces thrown in there. How are the Wizards 2-9 this season when Beal scores more than 35 points?
Andre Drummond was considered an on-the-bubble player for this year’s team, but you can’t ignore his league-high 15.6 rpg, not to mention the two-time All-Star is averaging 17.2 ppg, which is just short of the career-high 17.3 ppg he averaged last year.
Kyrie Irving and Paul George belong in the same entry as big names that didn’t make this year’s All-Star team. In a sense, they’re snubs, given their ability, and what we’ve seen in the past from these guys. But at the same time, they missed too much time. Irving has played in just 18 games for Brooklyn this season, while George has participated in 26 games for the Clippers. Out of sight, out of mind.
Zach LaVine should be in this game, and not just because it’s in Chicago. He’s averaging 25.1 ppg this season, and he’s scored 20 points or more in 16-straight games. His high-flying ability and 3-point shooting would seem to make him a perfect match for the NBA All-Star Game. Here’s hoping he makes it soon.
Jaylen Brown missed the cut despite averaging 21.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 2.9 apg, and we’ve all seen him take over games this season when needed. Perhaps three Boston Celtics on the All-Star squad would’ve been too many.
Duos overpower the rosters for this year’s All-Star team with eight teams landing two players on the squad. West captain LeBron James represents the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Chicago native Anthony Davis, while East captain Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton head up selections for the Milwaukee Bucks. Other duos include Toronto’s Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Miami’s Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo and Boston’s Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum, as well as Houston’s James Harden and Russell Westbrook and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
Counting the starters, you’ve got nine first-time All-Stars on this year’s teams in Dallas guard Luka Doncic, Utah’s Gobert and Mitchell and New Orleans forward Brandon Ingram for the Western Conference. Adebayo, Tatum, Young, Siakam and Indiana forward Domantas Sabonis have those honors in the Eastern Conference.
With Doncic just 20 years old, and Young only 21, this marks the second time an NBA All-Star game includes multiple starters aged 21 and under. In 1998, Kobe Bryant (19) and Kevin Garnet (21) played in the league’s annual showcase. Before that, the last time more than one second-year player started in the same All-Star Game was 1996, with Grant Hill and Jason Kidd. Doncic and Young are both second-year players.
A former Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Gobert is surprisingly a first-time All-Star as he’s averaging 14.6 rpg, the fifth-consecutive season he’s averaged 10 rebounds or more. Jazz teammate Mitchell won the 2018 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest but had never made an All-Star Game before now. In just his third year, Mitchell is averaging career highs in points (25.0), rebounds (4.2) and assists (4.2).
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