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The Five Best NBA Players To Never Make An All-Star Team

Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a numbers game, and these players, for whatever reason, never make the cutoff.

With the All-Star Break approaching, there is, as always, much debate about who should have made the team and who should have been left off. Every season some of the same faces reappear as “snubs” who should have been voted in to play. This is certainly not a list that a player wants to be on. Let’s check out the top five NBA players who have never made an All-Star team, and the reasons behind their being left out (this list excludes players in their first two seasons, such as Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic, and Kristaps Porzingis). 

5. Eric Bledsoe 

Bledsoe, also known as “Mini LeBron,” is suffering from having spent his entire career in the Western Conference, which is loaded with talent at the point guard position. It is for this reason that he has been continually overlooked in selections for All-Star teams. Since taking the reigns as the Suns’ point guard back in the 2013-14 season, Bledsoe has evolved into a leader and a star. Over the last two seasons, he has averaged 21 points, 6.1 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and just under two steals per game. Now these numbers have been accumulated on a Suns team has been in the basement of the Western Conference for quite some time now. Still, a player averaging over 20-5-5 (figures which only five players in the entire NBA can brag of) deserves far more consideration. 

Most Worthy All-Star Season: 2015-16. Bledsoe averaged 21.5 points, 6.1 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game with a 5.0 win share with 125 total points in clutch game opportunities, ranking sixth in the NBA.

4. Serge Ibaka

Up until this season when he was traded to the Orlando Magic (and more recently to the Toronto Raptors), Ibaka had really been the forgotten member of the “Big Three” in Oklahoma City with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Ibaka was the Thunder’s defensive enforcer, leading the NBA in blocks every season from 2010-11 to 2013-14, while averaging over three per game in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Serge was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in the three seasons spanning 2011-12 to 2013-14. Not only has Ibaka done it all on the defensive end, his offensive rating has been 110+ in five out of eight seasons. It is a shame that defensive-minded players like Ibaka often do not receive the recognition they deserve, especially when it comes to the All-Star voting process. 

Most Worthy All-Star Season: 2013-14. Ibaka averaged 15.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game with a 9.6 win share, a 115 offensive rating, and a 102 defensive rating. At the All-Star Break, the Thunder had a record of 43-12, which was the best in the NBA


3. Lamar Odom

Unfortunately for Lamar Odom, too many people associate him strictly as Khloe Kardashian’s former husband, and not as a tremendous basketball player. In a 14-year career, Odom was best known as the Sixth Man on the Lakers during their back-to-back NBA Championship years in 2008-09 and 2009-10, even winning the award the next season following the back-to-back run. As a Laker from 2004-2011, Odom averaged 13.7 points and 9.5 rebounds, playing an integral role in the team’s successes.

Most Worthy All-Star Season: 2010-2011. Odom averaged 14.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game off the bench for a Lakers team that was 38-19 at the All-Star break. Odom finished with a win share of 10.1 that season, and Kobe Bryant called it Lamar’s most “complete season,” despite it’s culmination without a third consecutive title for the team. 


2. Marcus Camby 

Can someone explain how a four-time NBA blocks leader, two-time NBA All-Defensive First Team player, and a Defensive Player of the Year award winner never actually made an All-Star team? Throughout his 16-year career, Marcus Camby was an absolute beast on defense, averaging 3+ blocks per game in five seasons, and 2+ blocks in six. He was also a rebounding machine, averaging in the double digits over 10 seasons. Even though he was defensive-minded, he still had an offensive rating of over 100 in all of his NBA seasons except one. Camby was also a team leader in the locker room, and his swarming defensive style was contagious on every team he played for. 

Most Worthy All-Star Season: 2006-07. Camby averaged 11.2 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game on his way to winning Defensive Player of the Year. He had a defensive box plus/minus of 6.7, which means he attributed 6.7 points to his team because of his defensive play. He led the league with lower defensive box plus/minus scores in other seasons. 


1. Mike Conley

And finally, the most prominent All-Star snub of all time: Mike Conley. This past off-season Mike Conley signed the richest contract in NBA history — he’s never been an All-Star. Something is clearly off. Like Bledsoe, Conley is a casualty of the guard-heavy Western Conference. However unlike Bledsoe, he has been on a winning team (six straight playoff seasons) and put up incredibly consistent numbers year-in and year-out. This season, Conley has led the Grizz to a respectable 34-23 record in the still high-powered Western Conference with averages of 19.4 points, 6.3 assists and 1.4 steals per game on 41% shooting from three. The numbers don’t seem flashy, but his presence on the floor is instrumental for the Grizzlies. Imagine if he was in the Eastern Conference, where the competition is present, but not as difficult to compete with. 

Most Worthy All-Star Season: 2016-17. As mentioned, Conley is averaging solid numbers while leading the Grizzlies alongside Marc Gasol to the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. His win share is 6.1 before the All-Star break and his PER is a very solid 22.45. Again, I’m curious to see how he would do in voting if he played in the Eastern Conference. 

Edited by Joe Sparacio, Emily Greitzer, Amelia Shein.

SQuiz
Which NBA player not on this list also never/ has never made an All-Star game?
Created 2/14/17
  1. David Lee
  2. Sam Cassell
  3. Jameer Nelson
  4. Mike Bibby

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