In the peanut gallery…

In the peanut gallery...

Allison Mueller

Each week sports reporters Matthew Lambert and Sam Thiel will face off on a hot topic in sports. The world of sports is changing quickly and constantly, but we want to slow it down and take a better look at the juiciest gossip, scandal, rumor or issue that is making headlines this week. Lambert and Thiel will take different sides and battle it out, telling you why you they are right.

This week’s topic: NBA All-Star snubs

Two weeks ago, the NBA announced the rosters for the All-Star game and many noteworthy players were left off. This week, Matthew Lambert and Sam Thiel voice their opinions about which snubbed player deserves an All-Star bid. Let’s talk about it… (Recap by Sam Thiel)

Matthew Lambert / Winonan

Look carefully, because one of these players is in the NBA All-Star game coming up, and the other has been snubbed, again.

Player A: 21.4 PPG, 6.6 APG, 3 RPG, .419 FG%, .350-3PT%, .895 FT%, 1.1 STLPG and 2.8 TOPG.

Player B: 20.2 PPG, 5 APG, 4.3 RPG, .421 FG%, .367-3PT%, .859 FT%, 1.8 STLPG and 2.2 TOPG.

Extremely similar numbers, right? Well, Player A got in. He’s Isaiah Thomas. Player B is Kemba Walker, my snub of the All-Star game.

Here are some important things to keep in mind for All-Star voting: what has a player done to improve from their previous seasons, and where is their team.

Walker has improved in every statistical category, except for assists where he’s had three seasons over five assists per game. Nonetheless, Walker’s been healthy and effective on the court.

Now look at the Hornets’ team. Al Jefferson has played 17 games, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has played five and their draft pick Frank Kaminsky looks awful.

Walker has had to rely on the likes of Marvin Williams, Jeremy Lin and Cody Zeller. And they’re still only a game and half back from the eighth seed.

I’ve never had faith in the All-Star voting, and Walker not getting in does not help.

 

Sam Thiel / Winonan

When looking at the NBA, basketball giants such as Golden State and San Antonio dominate the All-Star Game, so it’s easy to get left off its roster.

Among those left off was Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers, who is in his fourth season and has silently developed into a premier point guard in the league.

First, Lillard should be an All-Star is because he is having a career year. He is averaging 24 points, 7.3 assists and 4.4 rebounds, all career-highs. Lillard is holding his own among the league’s best point guards and the only reason he makes the All-Star team is because someone gets injured. It’s time he gets recognized for his hard work.

Second, Lillard is carrying the entire team on his six-foot three-inch framed body. Ever since center LaMarcus Aldridge joined the Spurs in the offseason, the Blazers have handed the reigns to Lillard, who has steered Portland toward the postseason, now just two games back of the eighth seed in the West.

My final point deals with fan popularity. Lillard has not only competed in all five events of All-Star weekend before, but has generated a following through his recent career as a rap star, including the popular “Four Bar Fridays” on Instagram and his song entitled “Bigger Than Us.”

The fans may get to vote, but they are choosing wrong. Vote for Lillard.