The full NBA All-Star Game rosters were announced Thursday night, with the reserves for each squad being revealed on TNT.
Though the rosters included proven veterans who have previously cemented their legacies (like Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash), as well as up and coming first-timers (such as Luol Deng, Andre Iguodala, and Marc Gasol), Carmelo Anthony remained the only Knicks representative, as Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler were not selected.
For a look at both complete rosters for the star-studded contest, you can click here.
Aside from being hurt earlier in the season, Amar'e Stoudemire has struggled throughout the season, not quite able to find his rhythm on the offensive end. Without an efficient point guard running the floor for the Knicks (up until recently), Stoudemire's production has visibly taken a hit. He has looked lost on the court, and has furthermore been unable to create his own offense. It's no surprise the big man hasn't been able to convert on the array of off-balance jump shots he's hoisted up this season. Bottom line is, Stoudemire has not been himself, so it's not a big shock to see him left off the roster.
What was a bit more of a surprise, however, was seeing Tyson Chandler omitted from the Eastern Conference's squad. The Knicks' center has been a dominating force, quarterbacking his team's defense and lately exploding on the offensive end. It's arguable that Chandler is having the best season of his career, and furthermore, has elevated his team's play more than any other player on the entire roster.
The problem, though, is that perhaps Chandler has not elevated his team simply quite enough, as the Knicks have only a 11-15 record on the season. The NBA coaches who vote for the reserves have a tendency to reward winners, and on a team currently four games under .500, Chandler unfortunately does not currently qualify as one.
That notion was evidenced in the two other selections for All-Star squad centers. Marc Gasol (whose Grizzlies are 13-13), was selected to represent the Western Conference, and Roy Hibbert (whose Pacers are an even more impressive 17-8) both have similar numbers to Chandler, but were recognized more so because of their presence on winning teams.
Comparing Chandler and Hibbert a bit more directly (because Hibbert was seemingly selected over Chandler on the Eastern Conference squad), the two big men do in fact average the same amount of rebounds per game with 9.9. Hibbert's 13.6 points per game edge out Chandler's own 12, but Chandler happens to average more steals. The pair's block average is also similar, but Chandler happens to shoot nearly 20% more than Hibbert from the field.
Chandler has done well as he continues to work towards meshing with Anthony and Stoudemire, but no one can argue that Hibbert has had a big impact on the Pacers' 17-8 record to date.
It's difficult to dismiss a winning record's effect on a player's positive credentials. There is no doubt Hibbert deserved to make the team, but had the Knicks have had a stronger record through Monday, it's also likely playing in the Big Apple may have influenced a potential selection of Chandler as well.
A surprising caveat to the "we pick winners" mindset this season was the omission of any deserving Denver Nuggets player to the Western Conference's squad. Despite boasting a 15-11 record in the tough conference, the Nuggets were left without a representative on the team.
Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari have both led the way, exploding onto the scene with career seasons. However, Gallinari just suffered an unfortunate injury, and Lawson's competition for a spot included guards Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash, and Tony Parker---all of whom were selected instead. Not rewarding the Nuggets' impressive start is a bit odd to say the least, as the voting coaches seemed to instead reward and recognize the legacies of various veterans.