While the NBA All-Star game in New Orleans will feature some of the best basketball players in the league, a few veteran faces will be missing from the All-Star lineups this year. Whether it was due to injuries or a sub-par season, several NBA veterans and all-time greats, will not be playing in this years All-Star game in New Orleans.
The play of Paul Pierce has significantly dropped off since he left the Boston Celtics to play for the Brooklyn Nets. Pierce is 36 years old and has been selected to the All-Star in 10 of his 16 years in the league. With the Nets who have struggled this year Pierce has not had a good season by his standards. Pierce is averaging 13.5 points on 42 percent shooting, 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Pierce was a lock for the All-Star game for much of his career, but now that he is on the tail end of his career and on a team where he is no longer the go to offensive player, the future Hall-of-Famer may have seen his last All-Star game. It also does not help when the list of Eastern Conference forwards includes Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James, all of which are currently in the prime of their careers.
Pierce’s Brooklyn teammate has had a similar season to his own. While Garnett has still had a large impact on the defensive end this year for the Nets, the former NBA MVP’s offensive game has dropped off in Brooklyn. Garnett is averaging just over 21 minutes per game this season contributing 6.8 points and rebounds per game. For the first time since his rookie season Garnett was held scoreless in a game this year. Garnett is 37 years old and has been selected to the All-Star 15 times, which is tied with Shaquille O’Neal for third most in NBA history. There is no doubt that the Big Ticket is headed to the hall of fame.
While technically Kobe Bryant was voted into this years NBA All-Star game, he will not be participating. Kobe did not feel that he deserved to be voted in as an All-Star, and he has also been sidelined for the most of the year with a knee and achilles injury. Kobe only played in six games this season in which he averaged 13.8 points per game 6.3 assists and 5.3 turnovers. Bryant has been selected to the All-Star 16 times, which is second only to Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Bryant has also earned All-Star game MVP honors four times, which is tied with for most all time with Bob Pettit. Not seeing the faces of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett at an NBA All-Star game will be an unfamiliar feeling for fans.
The final member of this list is a bit of a surprise. If there is any player who is actually capable of beating father time, it is Tim Duncan. The fact that Duncan was left off of the All-Star roster this year is interesting. Kobe Bryant was voted into the All-Star game based purely out of respect for his career and fan loyalty. Tim Duncan is a fourteen time All-Star, four-time NBA champion and two-time NBA MVP, should he not get the same respect as Kobe Bryant? At 37 years old, Duncan has had a solid season so far for the San Antonio Spurs. Perhaps not up to his unbelievably high standards, but he is averaging a double-double with 15.6 points and 10 rebounds. One would think that a four-time NBA champion and two-time NBA MVP would have earned the respect of coaches and fans to earn a trip to his 15th All-Star game.
While the Sunday’s game in New Orleans is sure to be exciting with superstars such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant going head-to-head. It will be an odd feeling to see some familiar veteran faces missing from the court at the NBA All-Star game.
Commentary By Eric Kummel