NBA

It’s Time to Expand the NBA All-Star Rosters

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The NBA talent pool is as deep as it’s ever been.

The last several years, there have been players that were selected as a replacement for All-Star players that just went down with an injury.

Replacement selections are typically snubbed during the initial announcement of the All-Star rosters.

These replacement players are not snubs. They deserved an All-Star nod in the first place.

Which is why the league needs to expand the All-Star roster— it’s well overdue.

Adding more All-Star spots does not indicate the notion that it’s letting everyone in. There are just so many talented players that are well deserving of that recognition.

According to 16-year NBA veteran JJ Redick via his The Old Man & The Three podcast, in 1961, one-fourth of the league made up the all star roster.

Fast forward to today— only four percent of the league are named to the All-Star game.

So the math indicates that there are not enough All-Star slots and adding more slots could not conclude that “everyone gets in.”

The league’s current limit of NBA players is 450.

Hypothetically, if the league expanded from 450 players to 1,000, would it make sense to stick with 24 All-Star spots?

Of course not, it’s just not logical.

The talent pool has expanded. The All-Star roster needs to expand.

De’Aaron Fox is averaging 27.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. Trae Young is averaging 27.3 points and is second in the league in assists (10.9).

Young and Fox are eighth and ninth respectively in points per game across the entire league, but they were not named to the ASG this season.

These two have earned an outright All-Star selection. It’s unfortunate that Young — and probably Fox as well, just like last season — has to get in due to an injury.

There’s no reason for them to miss the cut in the first place.

In the 2017 and 2018, Devin Booker averaged 24.9 and 26.6 points, respectively. He was not selected to the ASG in either of these years.

The following two seasons, Booker averaged 26.6 and 25.6 points and made the ASG as a replacement.

It was not until 2022 when Booker was outright named as one of the initial All-Star selections. Again, it’s unfortunate that Booker, twice, was named to the ASG as a replacement.

Fox, Young and Booker earned an outright All-Star selection. Ten years ago, with the numbers they put up, it would be a no-brainer to put them in the ASG.

There are also a handful of players that do not start to put up All-Star-worthy numbers until the second half of the season.

Notable players like Jimmy Butler, Brandon Ingram and Jamal Murray are players who start to heat things up later in the season. These guys heat up later in the season and it makes one wonder: how was this guy not named to the ASG?

How can one say with a straight face that these guys are not All-Star worthy? That’s why the All-Star selection does not tell the whole story and it needs to increase the rosters size.

Take a look at Ingram’s case. In 2020, Ingram was named to his first ASG. He has not been named since.

It’s not that Ingram “has not returned to All-Star form since 2020.” He’s always been a steady player, averaging 23.8, 22.7, 24.7 and currently 21.4 points per game each season since his lone All-Star appearance.

The talent pool is just so deep with so few spots.

Right now, the 40th-to-50th best player in the league are worthy of All-Star consideration.

There’s only 24 spots.

The talent gap between the 24th and 50th best player in the league is as close as it’s ever been in league history.

Take a look at the landscape of the guards in the Western Conference.

There’s Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, De’Aaron Fox and Murray.

That’s just point guards.

Now to the shooting guards in the west: Devin Booker, Anthony Edwards and Desmond Bane.

There are two starting spots for the guards, two reserves spots, and they can also fill out the last two wild-card spots.

That’s six spots for eight All-Star-worthy players.

Then take into account for the injured Ja Morant, a sure fire All-Star selection when he’s healthy. Due to his injury this year, that leaves a spot open.

The West still has guards that are future Hall of Famers in the back end of their careers that have numerous All-Star selections such as James Harden, (last selection in 2022) Chris Paul, (2022) Russell Westbrook, (2020) and Klay Thompson, (2019).

In the West, there is also Fred VanVleet and Mike Conley, two guards that have one All-Star selection and are still solid veteran contributors to their respective teams.

CJ McCollum, is arguably the best player to have never made an ASG. From 2015-2022, McCollum averaged at least 20 points per game for eight-straight seasons, that’s the most seasons ever for a player to average 20 points per game and never be selected to the ASG.

The league has expanded the number of players since 1960. The talent has been at its highest ever in league history.

Adam Silver, it’s time to expand the All-Star roster and reward talented NBA hoopers.

About Mac Pham

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