Rick Carlisle: Monta Ellis, not Dirk Nowitzki, should be an All-Star

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For a while, the Mavericks appeared to have a shot the best team whose players were all shut out of the All-Star game.

But the 2012-13 Denver Nuggets, who went 57-25, are safe.

Adam Silver selected Dirk Nowitzki as Anthony Davis’ injury replacement, and Dallas is surely happy to get one player in. Sure, the 36-19 Mavericks might have wanted another All-Star – Rick Carlisle’s pick of Monta Ellis or the resurgent Tyson Chandler – but they’re happy to have at least one.

It’s just which one that bothers the coach.

Carlisle on 103.3 FM ESPN on Ellis:

Let’s be honest. He should be at the All-Star Game and Dirk should be home.

I mean, that’s the way this should be going. I’m assuming they go by the vote count, and Dirk may have had one more vote than Monta or something like that. But Monta Ellis should be in the All-Star game.

He’s a tremendous player, and if it continues like this, he may be known as the best player that never made an All-Star game. He is that good. But I really do believe down the road he’s got a lot more chances to get in there.

He’s that good, and he’s getting better, too. At age 29, his skill level continues to rise. His recognition of situations is better and so on and so forth.

I’m really disappointed that he’s not there, because this was his year to be there after all the things he’s done. He’s leading the team in minutes played and points, and he’s made more big shots down the stretch of games than anybody on the team. And Dirk’s made a lot, too.

Dirk is certainly deserving. Don’t get me wrong. But Monta, this was his time to be there.

As Carlisle alluded, Silver let the coaches’ reserve vote dictate selecting DeMarcus Cousins as an injury replacement. The commissioner probably did the same with Nowitzki.

I don’t think Carlisle’s comments are about whether Ellis or Nowitzki – whom I picked as a reserved even before injuries – deserves it more. I think it’s about who’d appreciate it more.

Nowitzki is a 13-time All-Star. He played a game-low eight minutes in last year’s All-Star game. In his two before that, 2011 and 2012, he played 14 minutes each. This is old hat for the 36-year-old, who doesn’t really want to waste his energy in the exhibition game.

Ellis has never been an All-Star, and he’s having an excellent season. He’d definitely relish the opportunity.

However, he’s just not good enough. Mike Conley is the best non All-Star in the Western Conference, which has 15 players selected for the game. Ellis falls in line somewhere after that.

I wonder how strongly Carlisle believes what he said. He surely knows Nowitzki won’t take offense, and this could be a way of connecting with Ellis. Carlisle’s job is to bring out the best in the Mavericks, not to accurately diagnosis All-Star selections.