Every year the National Basketball Association has an all-star game featuring the best players at their respective positions – allegedly. Every year there are designated all-star ‘snubs’, and I get that. There are x-amount of quality players in the NBA and only 12 spots per roster, so someone will get ‘snubbed’ every year – simply by default.
This year, however, there is no reason Portland Trail Blazers starting shooting guard C.J. McCollum should not be in the NBA All-Star game.
The argument for teammate Damian Lillard to be an all-star is a different case, but I am really hot over McCollum getting snubbed, and I can only focus on one snub at a time, so let’s talk C.J.
THE KLAY THOMPSON PEDESTAL
In order for McCollum to make it on the roster, someone needs to come off. Look no further than Klay Thompson (If you are thinking Gordon Hayward – that would qualify under the Lillard defense). Thompson is a good player, sure. He’s not fun to play against, he puts up points, ect., but doesn’t everyone do that on the Warriors?
I don’t understand why everyone values Thompson as high as they do. It’s close – not quite as extreme – but it’s close, to the ‘Tom Brady situation.’ In light of the Super Bowl this weekend, Brady is always, has been and always will be, a ‘system guy.’ He’s had more success in head coach Bill Belichick’s system than Thompson has had in Golden State with head coach Steve Kerr, but there are similarities.
Without the Warriors, Thompson is not an all-star. Without the Patriots, Brady is mediocre.
I got derailed a little bit by bringing up Brady and the Patriots, so let’s get back to talking about Klay Thompson. Respectable numbers this year: 21.3 PPG, 3.8 RB, 2.0 APG. Basically, he stands around and shoots whenever he gets the ball? That sounds boring and it certainly doesn’t sound like an all-star. We all know how important McCollum is to the Blazers and everything he does for his team. His stats, by the way, are 23.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.6 APG, which are technically better than Thompson’s.
I don’t know why everyone puts Thompson on this all-star pedestal every year. He’s a system guy and the way he plays reminds me of one player from NBA history, who is also less of an all-star than McCollum.
THE SEAN ELLIOTT DEFENSE
I remember Sean Elliott as being a key piece to several David Robinson-led San Antonio Spurs runs at tiles – ironically enough when Steve Kerr was also a part of their team. Elliott finished with career numbers of 14.2 PPG, 4.3 RBG and 2.6 APG. As of right now, Thompson’s career numbers are 18.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 2.3 APG. Later in his 11-season career, Elliott had some injuries pop up and his roll diminished on a highly competitive Spurs team, but his numbers are fairly similar to those of the Warriors’ Thompson. They are also similar types of players.
How many NBA All-Star games did Elliott make?
Wait for it…keep waiting…
He was an all-star twice…in 1993 and 1996. Thompson, meanwhile has been an all-star three years in a row and there is no reason for that to be a thing. He is not a 3-time all-star. Period.
Until I looked up this video, I didn’t realize it was against Portland. I just remember this shot – it was epic. You remember shots from all-stars – but not Klay Thompsons, because Golden State breeds them like cyborgs. We don’t remember anything significant Klay did recently besides pad an already 20-point lead, pass the ball to Steph Curry or hit a 3-pointer to help the Warriors go on a 12-0 run in the past 1:23 against a team of your choice from the Eastern Conference.
WHY C.J. IS BETTER
I honestly do not know where to begin. This shouldn’t even be an argument, but let’s look at some recent box scores to help me on the numbers side of this argument. The idea for this story came to me when I was watching the Warriors and the Clippers over the weekend. I expected a good game, which it was not, and even though Golden State scored 144 points, Thompson did pretty much nothing the entire game, finishing with 16 points in 27 minutes.
Then the next night, the Warriors without Curry played the Blazers – a game where Thompson’s role would need to increase to help solidify his all-star nod. In 35 minutes, he shot 6-of-21 from the field, only two 3-pointers, but finished with 27 points. Apparently, he made a lot of free throws. An interesting stat from the game was that he finished minus-3 while in the game. Usually this plus/minus is a popular hockey stat and baseball has WAR (wins above replacement), but basketball has a very simple points your team scores while you are on the court versus when you are not. The Warriors were minus-3 with Thompson on the court.
How did C.J. do?
Glad you asked…Against the Warriors, McCollum went 10-of-16 from the field with five 3-pointers for 28 points and seven rebounds. The Blazers were also plus-12 with him on the court. That’s 12 more points with him on the floor while the Warriors lost three with Thompson out there. Interesting.
I know this is one game, but who is the all-star? Come on whomever voted for the reserves. This is ridiculous.
I was pretty hot about this topic, and I rambled a little bit, but I hope you get the idea. It is not hard to justify why McCollum is a better all-star selection than Thompson. I bet even Sean Elliott would agree.
Go Falcons this weekend!