For the first time in eight years, the OKC Thunder will not have a player selected to represent the franchise in the NBA All-Star Game.
Despite finding himself accumulating the ninth-most votes during the first round of polls, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was nowhere to be found within the top-10 during the second go-around and, ultimately, fell short of getting in via the fan selection.
This lackluster success would be followed up with him having not made it even with the coach’s vote, which, to some, felt like a bit of a snub.
That said, despite our displeasure with SGA not making the ASG, it was hard to justify taking off any of the backcourt players selected over him at the time, with the talent pool reading as follows: Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, Chris Paul.
However, as time has gone on, the usual round of injury pull-outs has taken place, seeing the likes of Booker bowing out of the illustrious exhibition. In turn, the decision was made to replace the Suns’ guard with another productive backcourt player from this season, and, to many, Gilgeous-Alexander was a clear choice to replace him.
Instead, league Commissioner Adam Silver opted to take matters into his own hands, opting to choose Utah Jazz point guard Mike Conley as Booker’s substitute.
With this, it appears the injustices have continued.
OKC Thunder stud Shai Gilgeous-Alexander snubbed once again with Mike Conley selection
Make no mistake about it, the veteran point guard is in the midst of an impressive season, posting per-game averages of 16.1 points, 5.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game on 44 percent shooting from the floor and 42 percent shooting from deep.
That said, to say his production warrants him an All-Star nod over Shai Gilgeous-Alexander this year would be an absolute farce.
In comparison, the third-year guard is putting up career-best averages seemingly all across the board, posting 23.2 points (better than Conley), 6.2 assists (better than Conley), and 5.1 rebounds (better than Conley) per game on 51 percent shooting from the floor (better than Conley) and 41 percent shooting from deep.
When looking at the advanced stats, it also shows that the Thunder guard leads the Jazz guard in win shares, offensive box plus/ minus, and overall box plus/ minus.
We here at TI truly do have the utmost respect for Mike Conley and are quite aware that he’s been snubbed a few times throughout his career in regard to receiving his own All-Star selections. However, this unfortunate track record from the past should not give him the edge over a player like Gilgeous-Alexander, who clearly has a leg up on him in nearly every category.
In the end, perhaps one of the biggest deciding factors that led the 34-year-old to the big game over the 22-year-old is his respective team’s success, where Utah boasts a 27-9 record (best in the league) whereas OKC stands at 15-21, placing them 12 in the Western Conference standings.
Regardless of our pleasure of seeing a guy like Conley make it to his first All-Star game in 2021, we can’t help but feel as though Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had to be snubbed in order to make this feel-good story happen.
What say you?!