The Western Conference guard pool is ridiculously deep. Almost every team has a star guard. Because of this, there are going to be some significant snubs this season.
Stephen Curry. Damian Lillard. Luka Doncic. Devin Booker. Chris Paul. Donovan Mitchell. Those guys are established superstars who are virtual locks to make the All-Star game every season. Only a max of six backcourt players can be selected from each conference, meaning young guys such as Ja Morant, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Dejounte Murray are going to have a hard time earning the nod for the first time.
But if those players are superstars, shouldn’t they all earn All-Star honors? Most of them, yes. There’s no world where at least four of those guys don’t make it, and it’s likely all of them will.
However, this article features one of the hottest takes I’ve ever had. Are you ready?
Chris Paul shouldn’t be an All-Star this season.
That probably sounds crazy. If you didn’t close this article after reading that, thank you.
After all, isn’t Chris one of the league’s most valuable players? Over the last few seasons, the narrative that he has the biggest winning impact in the NBA has become very widespread. He is a truly great leader, but I think his impact has become exaggerated. Calling him a top-five MVP candidate this season is preposterous. Heck, I think it’s safe to say that he isn’t even the best player on his team anymore.
So, what is Chis Paul at this point in his career? At age 36, he is still a top point guard in the league. He’s the best floor general, and the only player who’s a better scorer from the mid-range than him is KD. His three-point shooting and free-throw shooting are down this season, but he doesn’t need to score the help a team win.
So why isn’t he an All-Star?
I may just be extremely biased, but I think Dejounte Murray or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should have his spot. If you throw away team success (which should barely matter during All-Star selection in my opinion), both Dejounte and Shai have a better All-Star case than CP3.
Dejounte Murray, who plays for a San Antonio team that gets zero media attention, has quietly become one of the top two-way guards in the entire league. He’s developed into an elite defender (he plays better D than arguably every other All-Star guard in the league), a top-notch floor general, and a clutch performer. Just look at his stat line:
17.8 PPG/8.4 RPG/8.8 APG/2.0 SPG/44% FG/34% 3PT/70% FT
DJ has a league-leading 6 triple-doubles at this point in the season. He’s an out-of-this-world talent.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, as Thunder fans say, is him. He’s been on a ridiculous tear lately. Just look at his last five games:
18 PTS/3 REB/6 AST and the game-winner vs LAC (win)
23 PTS/5 REB/4 AST/3 STL and more clutch play vs MEM (win)
27 PTS/11 REB/12 AST vs DEN (win)
29 PTS/5 REB/7 AST vs PHO (loss)
31 PTS/4 REB/5 AST/3 BLK vs NOP (win)
His performance across those games earned him Player of the Week honors, something very few Thunder players have accomplished.
In the end, Dejounte and Shai have been awesome this season, and it would be heartbreaking if they missed out on their first All-Star game this season. (I honestly feel like the league should expand the All-Star rosters, but that’s a different conversation.) So I’m not hating on Chris Paul at all. Everybody knows how good he is, and if he ends up being selected he will deserve it. I simply feel that Dejounte Murray and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander deserve it more.
(I’ll end this article with a question that probably doesn’t need to be asked, but might get some more buzz about this article: What does Chris Paul provide for a team that Dejounte Murray doesn’t?)