Intelligent basketball fans should be upset if Karl-Anthony Towns isn't named to the NBA All-Star Game when reserves are announced Thursday night.
According to ESPN Stats & Info research specialist Micah Adams, Towns could be the first player averaging 22 points and 12 rebounds to be an All-Star snub since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1977-78.
Among Western Conference players, Towns is 10th in scoring (22.5), tied fourth in rebounding (12.0), fifth in blocks (1.5) and third with 33 double-doubles. Only James Harden (38) and Russell Westbrook (33) have more double-doubles.
His PER (Player Efficiency Rating) is 20th in the NBA, three-tenths of a point behind two-time reigning MVP Steph Curry.
Towns also has seven games with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds and eight games of at least 25 points and 15 rebounds, not to mention a pair of 40/15 games.
NBA coaches select All-Star reserves. There's room for three front-court players, two guards and two players of any position (wild cards).
Are there 3-5 players in the Western Conference more deserving than Towns?
Here's his competition:
- Damian Lillard: 26.2 points, 5.9 assists, 4.9 rebounds
- Mike Conley: 18.9 points, 6.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds
- Klay Thompson: 21.1 points, 2 assists, 3.7 rebounds
- Eric Bledsoe: 20.9 points, 6.2 assists, 5.1 rebounds
- DeMarcus Cousins: 28.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.4 blocks
- DeAndre Jordan: 12.7 points, 13.9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1.8 blocks
- Rudy Gobert: 12.9 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.5 blocks
- Marc Gasol: 20.1 points, 6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 blocks
- Draymond Green: 10.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 7.6 assists
Russell Westbrook isn't on the list because he's a lock. Cousins are Green are solid bets to go, too. If that's the case, there would be three available roster spots for Towns.
Conley, Bledsoe and Gasol shouldn't even be in the conversation.
Lillard, Thompson, Jordan and Gobert have an argument, but Jordan and Gobert don't play both ends of the floor as well as Towns, although they are superior defenders.
The NBA puts a lot of value in PER, and that's where Towns beats everyone but Cousins on the list.
And passing on Towns is only going to look dumber when he puts up bigger numbers in the second half of the season. The stats don't lie, and just like last season, Towns gets better every month.
- November: 23 points, 10.6 rebounds
- December: 21.1 points, 13.2 rebounds
- January: 24.5 points, 13.5 rebounds
For the first time in a long time, Wolves fans have a right to be upset if their best player isn't an All-Star.
East starters: Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Jimmy Butler
West starters: Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis