All-Star Game: Mavericks Snubbed, Could Be For the Best
By Jay Knodell
Last night it became official. Monta Ellis‘ streak of all-star snubs continues, and the Dallas Mavericks will not be represented at next month’s all-star extravaganza in New York.
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I suppose it isn’t all that surprising. The western conference, as you may have heard, is absolutely stacked.
DeMarcus Cousins didn’t get a spot until an injury to Kobe Bryant occurred despite his 26 double-doubles in 32 games. Damian Lillard wasn’t chosen, either. His Trailblazers sit in third-place in the western conference and he’s going for 22 and 6 a night.
Honestly, those two being left out helps take the sting out of Ellis’ snub, as both were probably more deserving. But one has to feel for Monta, a guy who plays through injuries, puts his body on the line nightly, and has led his team to a 30-17 record while averaging 20.5 points, 4.4 assists, and almost 2 steals a game.
Jan 28, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis (11) brings the ball up the court during the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. The Rockets defeated the Mavericks 99-94. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
I get it, choosing all-stars for the western conference is difficult. But I’m going to nitpick anyways.
Kevin Durant has played in just 21 games for a team that sits outside of the playoff picture. Now, before anyone loses their mind, I realize Durant is the far superior player. And yes, he’s deserving.
But more deserving than Cousins, Lillard, or Ellis based on the season’s first half? I’m not so sure. The numbers are there, he’s averaging over 25 points per game and shooting 52% from the field, but again, he’s played in fewer than half of his team’s games.
The same could be said about his teammate Russell Westbrook. He’s got numbers to back his selection, but the Thunder are just 19-13 in his 32 games and he’s got a better supporting cast than Cousins.
It’s easy to sit here and complain. And I have. I guess all there is to do at this point is to find the silver lining.
There are few spring chickens on Dallas’ roster. The extended rest will be an excellent opportunity for the Mavericks to rest, nurse their wounds, and gear up for the stretch run.
Success in their final 27 games is imperative. Not only will the Mavericks be battling for homecourt advantage in the postseason, they’ll be scuffling for a spot anywhere in the top-8. Such is the life for a western conference franchise.
Of those 27 games, only eight will be against teams currently with losing records. They play the Thunder three times. The Rockets, Spurs, Warriors, Trailblazers and Suns twice. And they have showdowns with Atlanta, Toronto, and Cleveland as well.
Being mentally and physically prepared for that gauntlet is crucial, and the break could help them in that regard.
And perhaps the snubs will serve as motivation.
We all remember how underdog status brought the best out of Dallas in 2011.
So while it doesn’t seem fair that no Maverick made the all-star team, it may be for the best in the grand scheme of things. Let’s hope so.