Following the Denver Nuggets win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night, the Mile-High City entered the All-Star break on the highest of highs. Denver currently sits at 41-18 and hold a 5.0 game lead over the 2nd seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Unlike many #1 seeds in past seasons, however, the Nuggets have a severe lack of representation at the Allstar Weekend this year.
Last season, the Phoenix Suns were atop the Western Conference pre-All Star break and their fans had the luxury of getting to watch two All-Stars in Chris Paul and Devin Booker. The season before it was the #1 seeded Utah Jazz at the break who saw 3 players get selected as All-Stars in Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, and Rudy Gobert. And before them, the Los Angeles Lakers led the West at this point and had two All-Stars in Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
In fact, the last time that the first seeded team in the West entered the All-Star break without multiple participants was in 2019, when once again the Denver Nuggets had only Nikola Jokic receive the honor. Apparently a 5-game cushion and dominating a top-to-bottom competitive conference was still not enough for Denver to get a second allstar announced. Meanwhile the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th seeds in the West all have two All-Stars representing their franchises on February 19th.
The NBA and Adam Silver had a chance to make this right as well, but seemingly fumbled the situation further when replacing two injured All-Stars in the Western Conference. Silver elected to snub both Aaron Gordon and Jamal Murray again. Both players are having career years in Denver this season, but Silver instead selected Kings’ guard, De’Aaron Fox, and Wolves’ wing, Anthony Edwards to fill in. Oddly enough Zion Williamson was one of the two injured players that was being replaced, making it even more peculiar that the commissioner added another guard rather than giving Aaron Gordon the available front court spot.
The league leader in 3-point field goal percentage gets snubbed for the 3-Point Contest.
To make matters worse, following the questionable All-Star Game participants, the NBA forgot the Nuggets existed yet again. Denver leads the NBA in three-point shooting efficiency at 39.3% as a team, which would make you think they would get at least one participant in the 3-point shooting contest. Of the 8 players selected to participate however, none of them were Nuggets.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is shooting a career-high from beyond the arc this season at 44.9%, which is also good for second best in the NBA. Michael Porter Jr is shooting 40.3% from deep on 2.9 makes per game, good for 12th in the league in threes made per game. Even Jamal Murray is shooting 39.6% from 3-point range with 2.4 makes per game and the ability to get scorching hot. The fact that not one of them were deemed good enough to get an invitation is nearly criminal.
While the frustrations for Denver players and fans alike are very apparent due to the lack of recognition this upcoming weekend, there are a few positives. With Kevin Durant moving to Phoenix and with Denver not seeming to get the respect they deserve, the Nuggets are now in a situation where not only are they comfortably in the #1 seed spot, but they are not even favored to win the Western Conference. Talk about adding another chip to their shoulder.