The NBA All-Star starters have been announced, and Victor Oladipo isn’t one of them.
Big whoop considering the MRI exam he underwent earlier today revealed a ruptured quad tendon that will hold him out the rest of the season, right?
Oladipo finished 5th among backcourt players in a vote that combined balloting by fans (50%), media (25%), and players (25%), behind Boston’s Kyrie Irving, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, and Miami’s Dwyane Wade. In keeping with the third returns, Dwyane Wade finished second in the fan vote, but was not named a starter due to him finishing 6th in player voting and 6th with the media.
Assuming the coaches refrain from making a legacy bid, Wade being on the outside looking in during his 16th and final season means there will be up to four reserve spots (at least two guards and possibly two wildcards) to go around for Walker and Simmons as well as Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Washington’s Bradley Beal, and Brooklyn’s D’Angelo Russell, sans Oladipo.
Indiana’s star obviously won’t be able to play and therefore won’t be selected, but he also would’ve faced stiff competition if healthy — especially since he had been shouldering a lesser burden in terms of usage since returning from his 11-game absence while struggling to strike a balance between attacking and deferring.
Meanwhile, Beal has been flat-out balling since John Wall went down. Lowry’s on versus off impact numbers are staggering. Simmons is a force on both ends of the floor without having any semblance of a jump shot. And Russell is a hipster candidate making a late push with multiple standout performances on a team that has gone an impressive 16-5 since losing seven straight games.
For Oladipo, it wouldn’t have helped that all of those strong cases were being made at the same time as he was going through a rough patch, scoring over 20 points only once in his last nine games while posting absolutely dreadful shooting percentages, 38-32-70.
Outside of being a clutch god and playing swarming (although, recently, somewhat corner-cutting) defense, his biggest selling point essentially would have boiled down to this: He’s the best player on a team 17 games above .500, which can’t be said of Lowry, Beal, Simmons, or Russell.
Had he been selected to the East’s roster, the individual accolade would’ve been a testament to the success his team found in response to the escalated defensive coverage his reputation deservedly commanded.
Instead, unless Myles Turner’s legitimate DPOY candidacy can earn him a seat at the table with Blake Griffin and Nikola Vucevic over Pascal Siakam’s do everything-ness, Khris Middleton’s shooting, and Jimmy Butler’s the guy qualities, a team that has gone 32-15 will be unrepresented.
The collective strength of Indiana’s supporting cast is their second star, but they can’t collectively be named an All-Star.
There isn’t a shoo-in for the third guaranteed frontcourt spot in the East.
Per NBA.com, TNT will announce the reserves (seven from each conference), on Thursday, January 31 during NBA tip-off at 7:00 PM.
Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid will join Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker as starters out of the East.