NBA All-Star reserves will be announced Thursday and whether it was his way of declining an invitation to play before even being invited, actually being self aware or some combination of both, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki says he doesn’t deserve to be an All-Star.
“Averaging whatever, 15, 16 points, I don’t think you should be an All-Star,” Nowitzki said. “But we’ll just have to wait and see. I think there is a lot of great young talent in this league that deserves to go. I think LaMarcus Aldridge has been stiff the last couple of years. He’s a great young player, fun to watch. You know Blake and Love are playing great. There is a lot of talent at my position.”
So Dirk doesn’t think he should be an All-Star and I probably agree with that. He’s right that Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge both deserve the nods over him. Coaches are supposed to pick two guards, two forwards, a center and two wild cards. Paul Milsap is playing better than Dirk and Utah is playing about as well as Dallas and there’s still a guy like Pau Gasol. So Dirk being left off the All-Star team wouldn’t be the biggest crime.
Here’s another all-time great who is likely to be left off the All-Star team: San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan. Duncan is doing about what he did last season, averaging 13.8 ppg and 8.2 rpg. He is playing a minute less this season. Duncan’s PER sits at 21.51 right now, which is better than Gasol, but not nearly as good as Paul Milsap. So just going by numbers, it’s tough to see Duncan getting an All-Star forward nod.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Picking two forwards and a center are more guidelines than set rules. So instead of selecting a back up center, they can take an extra power forward. Enter Tim Duncan who a ton of people consider a center anyways. Duncan’s real competition at center is Memphis center Marc Gasol. Gasol is averaging 15.1 ppg, 10.2 rpg and 2.2 bpg. However, Gasol is playing 38 minutes per game compared to Duncan’s 27.5 mpg. Duncan’s PER is actually two points higher than Gasol’s. Duncan’s per 36 minute numbers blow Gasol’s out of the water.
So is Duncan an All-Star? It’s tough to say. If he makes it I’m sure people will say it’s legacy pick. I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. Duncan’s also been on a tear lately. In his last four games he’s averaging 19 points and 12 boards, in his last ten it’s 16 points and 10 boards a game. That’s not terrible. Don’t be completely surprised Spurs fans if Duncan’s name is announced on the NBA on TNT Thursday night.