Devin Booker should have been an All-Star. I ranked the Suns guard ahead of two selected Western Conference guards – Russell Westbrook and Donovan Mitchell.
Booker, via Edith Noriega of Cronkite News:
“It was always a goal of mine,” Booker said of the midseason competition. “It just re-proves the point that the NBA is different than the game that I fell in love with at the beginning – of all the best players in the All-Star Game – growing up, watching it. Now, it’s an entertainment-, drama-, political-filled league.
“We’re a part of it now. It pays well, so I guess we should be quiet about it.”
When asked how to improve the All-Star selection process, Booker simply said, “put the best players in the game” regardless of position.
Again, I think Booker should have made it. But this is too much. There have always been All-Star snubs. Sometimes, the voting coaches disagree with other preferences. It happens. This case isn’t extraordinary.
I get why Booker feels this way. It’s personal to him. But the rest of us don’t have to passively accept his narrative.
However, I do agree with Booker on eliminating positional designations. Who cares whether that will sometimes leave one All-Star team with too many guards and the other with too many centers. It’s an exhibition game. In fact, it’d be even more fun if the All-Star game included a lineup of guards vs. a lineup of centers.
That change wouldn’t have necessarily gotten Booker into this year’s All-Star Game, though. Yes, the Western Conference maxed out All-Star guards in the current format. But I wouldn’t assume Booker would’ve been selected ahead of Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic or Brandon Ingram – especially Gobert and Jokic. Plus, Paul George and/or Karl-Anthony Towns might have been ahead of Booker, anyway.
Another change I support (and that would help Booker): Eliminate conference designations. Especially with teams now divided by captains rather than conference, it’s not worth protecting half the All-Star spots for each conference. Booker would’ve fared better if competing with Eastern Conference All-Stars Domantas Sabonis and Bam Adebayo.
Of course, Bradley Beal already feels he got jobbed by Eastern Conference coaches. Who knows whether Booker would’ve gotten selected, even in a preferable system?
Booker has played like a borderline All-Star. I thought he should have made it. Western Conference coaches didn’t. It’s not some bigger referendum on the state of the NBA.