There was a noticeable surge of surprise and discussion within the NBA community when Karl-Anthony Towns of the Timberwolves was announced as an All-Star reserve. Many observers felt that Towns was lagging behind several other players on the All-Star roster, particularly his teammate Rudy Gobert.
The most prominent omission, however, was the Sacramento Kings, the fifth-seed team in the Western Conference, who failed to secure a single All-Star despite possessing two strong contenders in De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.
Fox has been instrumental in driving the Sacramento offense, boasting an impressive average of 27.2 points and 5.5 assists per game. On the other hand, Sabonis has been on the verge of a triple-double, with remarkable averages of 19.9 points, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists per game, along with an outstanding 42 double-doubles in 46 games.
Expressing his disappointment, Kings coach Mike Brown shared his sentiments with Marc Spears of ESPN’s Andscape, stating, “It’s clear to anyone who watches the NBA and Kings basketball that De’Aaron and Domantas should have been selected for this year’s All-Star game.
They are playing at an unbelievably elite level, Domantas establishing historic numbers with his double-doubles and De’Aaron setting a new career mark for 3-point field goals. Every year, there are deserving players left off the team but, to me, this is truly a glaring wrongdoing.”
While Brown’s frustration is justified, the dilemma lies in determining which player should be excluded to accommodate one of his candidates.
The All-Star selection process faces challenges annually with talented players missing out, given the limited 12 roster spots. Suggestions have been made to increase the roster spots to 15, aligning with a game-day roster.
Arguments could be made that Sabonis or Fox deserved a spot over Towns, but that would leave the team with the best record in the West having only one All-Star, namely Anthony Edwards.
Many anticipated Gobert, the defensive anchor for the league’s top-rated defense, to secure the final spot, but the coaches, responsible for voting on the reserves, ultimately chose Towns.
Brown’s support for his players is understandable, and his perspective is not unfounded. However, despite the justified complaints, the reality remains unchanged.
There might be a chance for one of them to secure a spot as an injury replacement in the West, considering the possibility of Joel Embiid and Julius Randle already being named to the East team but unavailable due to injuries.