The NBA's announcement of its All-Star reserves on Thursday raised eyebrows, as it does every year, with a discussion ensuing about so-called snubs and whether the players the league's head coaches selected deserved the honor. The news that Brooklyn Nets swingman Joe Johnson made the East's squad struck some fans and analysts as particularly strange, given his modest production and the exclusion of other players arguably having better seasons.
On Monday, Sports Illustrated scribe Matt Dollinger argued Arron Afflalo's case over Johnson's in his NBA power rankings column, calling the Johnson pick "downright puzzling. Dollinger's breakdown:
Afflalo is averaging more points, rebounds and assists and shooting a higher percentage from the field, three-point range and free-throw line -- not to mention the Magic guard beats the Nets' guard in just about every advanced statistical category.
Through Sunday's games, Afflalo is averaging 20 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists on 58.7 percent True Shooting. Johnson's numbers are more pedestrian, at 15.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists on 55.2 percent True Shooting. However, the Nets stand at 20-25 for the East's seventh playoff seed, while the 13-36 Magic have the NBA's second-worst record. Brooklyn's winning ways likely as not gave Johnson the edge over Afflalo in the final tally.
Afflalo is taking his All-Star exclusion in stride: in an interview Thursday night, the UCLA product vowed to leave "no doubt" as to his credentials next season. The next day, he said not making the All-Star team has "given me a new level of passion, a new level of hunger."