When the 2013 NBA All-Star Game rosters were announced, instant outrage arose due to the absence of certain deserving figures. Of those players, perhaps none drew as much attention as Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.
The question is, was Curry an All-Star snub or just the next in line?
Warriors fans will stand by Curry until their dying day. He's producing at a high rate, averaging 20.9 points and 6.5 assists and leading the Golden State Warriors to a potential postseason berth.
If Curry and company are successful, it would be the first time since 2007 that Golden State will make a playoff appearance. It would be their second postseason berth since 1994.
Unfortunately, it wasn't Curry who received the praise for such a magnificent turnaround. Instead, it was teammate David Lee.
Golden State head coach Mark Jackson offered up the praise that Lee deserves.
For the season, the Lee is averaging 19.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He's also dishing out 3.6 assists and shooting 51.9 percent from the floor.
No matter how deserving he may be, we cannot forget about Curry. Coach Jackson wouldn't let us.
Was Jackson right? Did Curry actually get snubbed? Or was he just a victim of an outrageously stacked position in the Western Conference?
Let's figure this out.
Comparing the Field
The guards who made it to the All-Star Game over Stephen Curry include Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and James Harden of the Houston Rockets. The question is, were they actually more deserving?
To start, we look at Parker.
Thus far in 2012-13, Parker is averaging 19.8 points and 7.5 assists per game. He's posting a slash line of .521/.385/.811.
Perhaps most important of all, Parker is the leader of a 35-11 Spurs squad.
As for Westbrook, he is the second-best player on the team with the best record in the NBA. Westbrook is averaging 22.6 points, 8.3 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
Per Basketball-Reference.com, Russell Westbrook is on par to become the 10th player since 1981 to average 20.0 points, 8.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals in the same season.
Harden has posted averages of 25.9 points, 5.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. Although Warriors fans are eager to label him as a "chucker," he has carried the load in leading the Rockets to improbable postseason contention.
Each and every player selected over Curry deserved his selection. Did Curry deserve it more?
Thus far in 2012-13, Stephen Curry is averaging 20.9 points, 6.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals. He's averaging 38.2 minutes per game and is posting a slash line of .435/.450/.897.
In other words, Curry is producing at an All-Star-caliber level.
With that being said, Curry is playing 7.5 minutes more per game than Tony Parker. Even still, he's averaging just 1.1 points more and 1.0 assists less per game.
Due to the fact that Parker is leading a dominant Spurs team, it would be criminal to leave him off the All-Star roster.
Next is Westbrook, who has higher averages than Curry across the board. As two game-changing point guards, the only true advantage Curry possesses over Westbrook is his three-point shooting. Due to the presence of David Lee, one could also make the case that Curry is the second-best player on his own team. Just like Westbrook.
Finally, there is James Harden. Although his field-goal and three-point shooting percentages are low (.436/.328), Harden may carry a heavier burden than any other player on a postseason team.
For that reason, it is not a matter of Curry deserving it over the other guards. It is a battle of teammates.
Curry vs. Lee
When it comes right down to it, the Golden State Warriors could only send one player to the All-Star Game. Whether that's fair or foul, it's the way of the NBA.
As a result, it came down to Stephen Curry and David Lee.
If you believe Curry should have made it over Lee, that is a conversation to be had. Both are performing at high statistical levels, and each is having an undeniably positive impact on the Warriors as a team.
The Warriors are averaging 102.1 points scored and 99.4 points allowed per 48 minutes that Curry is on the floor. Those numbers drop to 91.4 points for and 95.7 against per 48 without.
As for Lee, the Warriors are posting 100.8 points scored and 98.1 points allowed when he is on the floor. Those numbers dip to 95.0 points for and 99.6 points against when he is not.
In other words, there are virtually identical drop-offs without the two Warriors stars. Each has a point differential of 2.7 with, while Lee sits at a point differential without of 4.6. Curry's point differential without is 4.3.
What this all comes down to is whom the coaches and voters billed most deserving. This is not to say that each did not earn his right, but that there are players from other teams of equal value.
Curry may have been a snub, but that is a result of his own teammate making it—not the other three guards.