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All-Star Snubs: Billups, Kaman, Smith Top the List

Jan 28, 2010 – 6:45 PM
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Brett Pollakoff

Brett Pollakoff %BloggerTitle%

Chauncey BillupsFor the most part, the coaches got it right while selecting the 2010 All-Star reserves. But no matter how many deserving players get in, there are always a few who were on the fringe that could just have easily made the team. In no particular order, here's our list of notable names that may have a reason to feel snubbed.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Chris Kaman (Clippers): Kaman is having his best year as a pro, averaging 20.2 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. But the team he plays for is abysmal (seriously, how do you lose to a Nets team playing without Devin Harris by 16 points?), and that seemed to factor heavily in this year's selection of reserves. As noted by Eric Freeman over at The Baseline, every player on the reserves came from a team with a winning record. And unfortunately for Kaman, his Clippers don't fall into that category.

Chauncey Billups (Nuggets): Let's get this out of the way right now: Billups is an All-Star. The Nuggets are on fire, and there's no way they play at that level without Chauncey running the show. The problem he faced was too much talent at the guard spot in the Western Conference. With Chris Paul and Deron Williams locks to get in, and Brandon Roy almost singlehandedly keeping the Blazers afloat through their rash of injuries, he had to get in, too. But Roy has missed six of the last seven games with a hamstring injury, and if it remains serious enough to keep him sidelined for All-Star weekend, look for Billups to get the call as his replacement.

Andrew Bynum (Lakers): If Kaman wasn't getting in at center, then I don't see how Bynum has a case. His numbers on the season are close to Kaman's -- 15.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game -- but not quite as good. Sure, maybe Bynum would put up bigger numbers if he were in Kaman's spot as a member of the Clippers, but we'll never know. And with Pau Gasol getting the nod (positionally) as the West team's backup center, there simply was no room for a third Laker this year.

Monta Ellis (Warriors): Just like Kaman, Ellis suffered from putting up big numbers on a bad team, something that the coaches clearly didn't want to reward this year. Besides, if we're voting in Golden State Warriors, Corey Maggette appears to be more deserving than Ellis.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Josh Smith (Hawks): This one might be the biggest head-scratcher, considering two of Smith's teammates -- Joe Johnson and Al Horford -- made the squad, when Smith might have been most deserving. Johnson leads the team in scoring, but Smith's points come more efficiently. Horford rebounds slightly more per game, but scores less and doesn't block as many shots. Smith is a beast on both ends of the floor, which might make his omission the biggest of the snubs.

David Lee (Knicks): Lee is one of the most effective rebounders in the game, and his season averages of 19.4 points and 11.4 boards are certainly impressive. But how much of that is the Knicks' uptempo system, and how much of that is Lee playing at an All-Star level? Apparently, the coaches decided it was too much of the former and not enough of the latter for Lee to make the East roster.

Joakim Noah (Bulls): Noah is having a breakout year, but is doing so mostly on the defensive end of the floor. He's second in the league in rebounding behind only Dwight Howard, and 12th in the league in blocked shots. But let's face it, the All-Star game isn't about defense, and having two Bulls in the game (despite their recent hot streak) would be a bit of an abomination.

Mo Williams (Cavs): Not a huge personal snub, although the Cavs are clearly a better team when he's healthy and contributing. But he isn't more deserving than Rajon Rondo or Derrick Rose this season, so (just like last year) Williams will need someone to get injured for him to make the squad. His absence is really only of interest because it means that the team with the league's best record only has one player going to the All-Star game, while the Celtics (who are four-and-a-half games back of Cleveland in the standings) get to send three.
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