Back in early February, the NBA announced its reserves for the 2022 NBA All-Star game. Moving on from the fact that Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins is somehow a starter, Celtics guard Jaylen Brown was not selected to play in the game this past Sunday. There was without a doubt a missing piece in Cleveland during All-Star Weekend, and the league knows it.
A few days after JB's name was not called for the All-Star Game, the NBA named the replacements for Kevin Durant, and Draymond Green. Durant is out due to a knee injury he suffered back on January 17 in a 15 point win over the Pelicans. Draymond Green went down on January 5, 2022, with a reported calf injury which was later classified as a disc injury.
The players that were chosen to replace them are young and full of quality, but there are still some questions. Hornets star guard LaMelo Ball was selected by the NBA to replace Durant as an All-Star. Out west, 25-year old Spurs guard Dejounte Murray got the call to be a first-time All-Star. While both of these individuals are having sellar seasons, there are clearly more deserving players, especially Celtics guard Jaylen Brown.
Many can make the case for Anthony Edwards who should have made the cut in the west, but the real shock is Ball being picked over Brown. When the news came out that KD was going to need a substitute, Brown seemed like the obvious choice. JB is the only player in the NBA to average above 23.5 points per game and is not in the All-Star game. Every player that is above him on the scoring list this season made it on the roster. There is no question that someday Ball will be an All-Star, but right now at this very moment, Brown is a much more dangerous player with the ball in his hands. Brown's pull-up mid-range jumper has become something that coaches all over the league have had nightmares over how to prevent.
Brown is fifteenth in the NBA in scoring, above Fred VanFleet, James Harden, Khris Middleton, Jimmy Butler, and LaMelo Ball who all made the All-Star game. Brown is one of eight players in the NBA this season that has scored 50 points or more in a single game. On top of that, JB, Stephen Curry, and Luka Dončić are the only players in the league that have scored 45 or more points in two or more games this season.
Brown is also seventeenth in the league in clutch scoring per game, tied with Anthony Davis at 3.0. Ball only has 33 clutch points so far this season, while Brown has 67 and is tied with D'Angelo Russell for eighteenth in the NBA in total clutch points. Why look at clutch stats when trying to name the All-Star team? With the game on the line, the player has to be one of those that the team constantly goes to and finds success. Brown has proven game after game that he has the ability to take over games late and seal the wins most recently during the current Celtic successes.
What has the All-Star game become? Selecting players on somewhat winning teams, but not the players that are more talented is apparently what the goal has become. Popularity has become key, the name on the back of their jersey seems to matter more than the numbers that the individual is putting up. Many players had not taken the game seriously until the draft, and charity aspects had been introduced.
Obviously, Boston has not had the best season, but the shot-making and athleticism of Brown should be enough to get him selected into his second straight All-Star game. Last season, Brown averaged 24.7 points per game to go along with 6.0 rebounds, and 3.4 assists. This season, JB has put together a season that basically mirrors what he did last year. Through the month of February, Brown averages 23.7 points in a game and 6.5 boards. What is the difference?
There is no doubt that some of these players are having great seasons, but Jaylen Brown has been a consistently superior player to the majority of anyone on the reserves squad this season. It looks like to a fan that Harden was selected because of his name, and Middleton due to the fact that he is on the defending champion Bucks. Before Ball and Murray were named as All-Stars, Khris Middleton and Darius Garland average under 20.0 points per game and are only the fourteenth, and fifteenth players since 2017 to be selected to the All-Star game and do not average over 20.0 points per game.
Ball and Murray become the sixteenth and seventeenth players on that list. Clearly, points per game are not the only thing that should be measured when it comes to selecting All-Stars, but when someone has scored over 45 in two games this season, that should be an obvious indication that he is more than just a special player.
After the news broke after the original All-Star announcement, teammate Grant Williams posted on Twitter, stating, "Everyone spam Jaylen Brown and tag @NBA and let’s make him an all-star!! KD isn’t playing and he’s the most deserving!!" Every year there are All-Star snubs and people have their own opinions on who should have made the cut. Anyone can make an argument for Jarrett Allen or even Anthony Edwards, but Brown is without hesitation evidently the most deserving player that didn't make the roster.
The actuality that he fell short is preposterous. Since the new year began, the Celtics have been one of the best teams in the NBA, and Brown has been one of the key catalysts of their midseason turnaround. The only good part about this is that Brown's teammate, Jayson Tatum was a starter in the All-Star showdown in Cleveland.
Another item on the list to motivate the already fired-up Jaylen Brown. For the time left in the NBA season, the league should be terrified of Brown. Even though he said it wasn't a big deal that he didn't make it, everyone knows deep down he wants to prove to everyone how good he really is. Players in the All-Star game should be voted in based on the talent and ability that they displayed throughout the season, but the NBA has somehow found a way to avoid this crystal clear task.