Yesterday, the NBA announced their reserves for the 2023 All-Star Game. We already knew that there was a major snub among the starters, as NBA scoring leader Joel Embiid was not listed as a starter for his conference, but there was an even bigger snub when the reserve list came out for the East. James Harden will not be representing the Sixers or the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game this year, and that is an absolute travesty. Sure, there are other players that should be playing in the game that won’t be in favor of less deserving players, but it is pretty clear to me (and my insane Philly sports bias) that Harden is the biggest snub this season. Let me explain why:
First of all, Harden leads the NBA in assists per game, averaging 11.0 even. He’s dropping 21.4 pts, 6.1 reb, and 11.0 ast per contest. How THE HELL are those numbers not good enough to get Harden into the All-Star game? I would understand more if it was a player like Tyrese Maxey, who would be trying to make the first ASG of his career, who didn’t make it in because his reputation doesn’t gel with those types of numbers. James Harden, though?? He has already been voted as a top 75 player in NBA HISTORY. He has an MVP award to his name. He has earned the respect of his peers, and he has the numbers to back it up. The NBA should be ashamed of the process they use to select All-Stars if #1 isn’t a part of the festivities.
Ok, well maybe there are just multiple deserving back court players in the East that deserve a nod this year? Who made the team over Harden? Here is what the East’s roster looks like:
Starters: Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Reserves: Bam Adebayo, Jaylen Brown, DeMar DeRozan, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, Julius Randle
I mean, come on. Jrue Holiday is averaging 19.2, 5.2, and 7.2. Harden easily clears in all 3 major stats. Haliburton is averaging 20.3, 3.9, and 10.3. He’s close in points and assists, but trails Harden in both, and is almost getting doubled up in rebounds. Neither of those players making it over Harden make an ounce of sense, and yet, there they are. I’m not sure who to point to. The popular voters? The coaches? The NBA themselves? Either way, it is absolute highway robbery to keep Harden out of this All-Star Game. Maybe, though, this will create motivation for the 2nd half of the season.