Did Jamal Crawford get snubbed as an All-Star?
Crawford is the second-leading scorer on the NBA’s second-best team. But he is also part of the second unit of the Los Angeles Clippers, and that works against him. For a good part of Crawford’s career, he has been someone that teams rely on for big shots at the end of games. With the obvious exception of Chris Paul, there is nobody on the Clippers better at creating their own shot off the dribble, and Vinny Del Negro has enjoyed having the option of having either one of them make a play when the game is tight. Paul is an starter in Vegas this year, and Crawford is playing at an All Star level, but he won’t be there.
So when is it OK for a bench player to be selected?
James Harden was not selected while with Oklahoma City, where he won the Sixth Man Award a year ago. Now with Houston, he is still the same player. But now that he has been inserted in the starting lineup, his role has grown, and his talents are being showcased more than ever. Now, he’s an All Star.
A handful of bench players have been selected for the All-Star Game, such as Manu Ginobili and Kevin McHale. But at this time of year, they usually are overlooked while fans argue about starters who were supposedly snubbed, such as Stephen Curry and Brook Lopez.
For the most part, this is fair too. The average minutes per game for our top 5 this week is about 29. With the exception of Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, everyone on the All Star Team this year is playing over 33 minutes per game. While 4 minutes can seem miniscule to the naked eye, numbers seem to indicate it can make a major difference in a player’s chances of getting their name on an All Star roster.
But guys who come off the bench often are players who are willing to take a back seat to stars and make their names known only to the fans who are willing to sit down and truly watch a game. And no matter how well they are playing or how big their numbers can be on a given night, they struggle to find their names on All-Star Weekend, usually in any facet, mainly because their minutes just don’t stay consistent enough for them to keep those numbers big on a daily basis.
For the most part though, a guy who comes off the bench typically isn’t one to complain and understands his role in relation to the team as a whole is much more important than individual accolades. And if it means coming off the bench, that is what they will do.
In a lot of ways, guys as talented as Crawford, Ryan Anderson, J.R. Smith and Kevin Martin really help solidify what is great about the NBA and are the epitome of team players. That is the type of player David Stern should be trying much harder to sell as the prototype personality in his league.
Onto the list, where the nice guys of the league sit: