As we all know, Paul George did not make the 2018 All-Star Game in Los Angeles. Despite averaging 20.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, shooting 42.2 percent from downtown and leading the NBA in steals, he was left off the final list coming out of the Western Conference. It’s unfortunate, perhaps a bit unfair, but ultimately part of it.
In the wake of the news, there were plenty of reactions from the team, media and otherwise. I picked my five favorites and ranked them in descending order for your viewing pleasure.
(5) Michael Cage
The Thunder broadcasters catch a lot of grief from fans, but Michael Cage went on live TV and started naming names last night on Fox Sports Oklahoma. He said some stuff I didn’t really understand, called out Draymond Green for making the team, made some historical comparisons, and eventually shamed the NBA for not picking Paul George. The best part is when he says he’s “really trying to calm down” before diving right back into the rant.
A+ for the passion and Mike Cage is a guy I want in the foxhole with me.
(4) Carmelo Anthony
I loved Melo’s reaction because he’s proving to be the calmest, most level-headed player I’ve ever observed.
“It is what it is. Everybody can’t make it. They only pick seven guys… I’ll let y’all ask him that question. Do he deserve it? Of course, he’s leading the league in steals, having a career-year from that aspect. I’ll let y’all ask him that.”
He goes on to discuss the sacrifice involved with this OK3 experiment and says some really refreshing things about his own feelings on being left out of the All-Star Game. The rational thinking of “They only pick seven guys” was absent in most other reactions, on this list or not.
(3) Leave Dipo Out of This
A popular theme in the wake of yesterday’s All-Star announcements was “Victor Oladipo made it and Paul George didn’t! Ha!”
And like — no one here has anything against Victor Oladipo, OK? Great kid, having a great season, more than deserving of the All-Star nod. But at some point his accomplishments will have nothing to do with Paul George anymore. Until then, I offer up this reaction from Adi Joseph, the managing editor at CBS Sports:
I hate to crush a narrative, but it feels important to note that Paul George probably deserved to go to the All-Star game in the Western Conference — he most certainly would have made it in the East. As for Oladipo, he would be on the outside looking in if he still resided in the West. That’s just the way it is.
So while it’s likely fun to play the PG13/Oladipo game, you’re comparing apples and oranges when you do it. Yes, Dipo is an All-Star. No, Paul George is not. Factors that reach far beyond the trade and their shared history contributed to that.
(2) Paul George
Paul George’s own reaction to being asked about the snub is perhaps the most overlooked in this madness. He basically all but called the Eastern Conference weak and disparaged the playing ability of his former teammates! Via Erik Horne:
“It’s something that, us being in the East, it’s easier for us because we were holding our teams, pretty much putting our teams on our back night in and night out.”
Not saying it’s not a factual statement, it’s just a bit too factual. I’m sure Gregg Doyel from the Indy Star is writing an aggressive rebuttal as we speak.
Luckily, George came through and did offer up a bit of insight into why it’s ultimately going to be OK, saying, “It is what it is. When I came here, it’s bigger dreams and bigger goals. And what I got to look forward to is to win a championship.”
(1) Russell Westbrook
The clip has been everywhere at this point but Russell Westbrook’s reaction to be asked about PG13’s All-Star snub is quintessential Westbrook in about every way imaginable. We’ve got annoyed eyes, head shaking, quick blinking, and then, finally, the merciless spraying of venom in every which direction. The Warriors, KD, Damian Lillard for some reason — everyone gets a piece of his ire.
“I think it’s outrageous in my opinion. I don’t know who else made the team, but I know four people from one team. You got guys complaining about getting snubbed until they get in. You got guys just talking about that all the time, but the guys that deserve it should be in it. It’s not — I just don’t understand it. It doesn’t make any sense. He’s leading the league in steals, competes every night, top two at his position. It don’t make any sense, regardless of anything else…Everybody’s not an All-Star. Just because you get voted in, it don’t mean you’re an All-Star. I just think it’s outrageous. But it is what it is.”
Whew boy. Vintage.
Westbrook’s vitriolic response doesn’t change anything but it was a nice touch — after all, he and the Thunder are always recruiting, even if they don’t realize it. The All-Star snub isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things but it just feels like this sort of thing does matter to Paul George. Having his point guard go out and throw side-eye toward the ridiculousness of the whole thing had to at least help a little.