In what was a completely expected snub, Garnett was named as an All-Star starter while Chandler was left to wonder if he would be able to make the final coaches cut. But while it was expected, that doesn’t make it okay.
Truth be told, Chandler will probably be named to the team anyway. Coaches value what he brings to the table and are unlikely to allow what he has done this season go unrewarded.
Yet that doesn’t negate the borderline tragedy of this snub.
The 36-year-old Garnett is averaging a stellar 14.6 points and seven rebounds per game. His PER is a sound 18.6 and the Boston Celtics are a completely different defensive team when he’s on the floor.
But he’s not Chandler.
The New York Knicks’ big man is averaging a career-high 12.4 points to go along with 11 rebounds per game. He’s one of only 13 NBA players currently averaging a double-double, and his 21.5 PER is third among all centers.
You should be. You should also know that his distinction from the rest of the league (and Garnett) doesn’t stop there.
Not only does Chandler’s 67.3 percent shooting from the floor lead the league, but he’s one of just five players averaging at least 10 points, 10 rebounds and one block per game. Garnett isn’t one of those five. Dwight Howard, however, is.
What does that say about Chandler? What does it say when he is able to distinguish himself to the point where he is in the same class as the league’s most dominant center?
It stays a whole lot. Or rather, it should.
The NBA All-Star voting process has long been a popularity contest, but this is easily the most unjustifiable of snubs this year. I firmly believe that Tim Duncan should be starting over Blake Griffin for the Western Conference, but in the case of Timmy, he’s been there done that before with the All-Star game. Chandler hasn’t.
— Tyson Chandler (@tysonchandler) January 14, 2013
I’m hardly one to ever agree with Charles Barkley, but he and Shaquille O’Neal were irrefutably correct when they (via Jason Mastrodonato of The Boston Globe) asserted Chandler should have been giving the nod over Garnett:
Speaking on TNT NBA Tip-off, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal said Garnett, who received 553,222 votes, the least among the 10 starters, didn’t deserve the honor this year.
“I love Kevin Garnett, but he’s not having an All-Star year,” Barkley said. “It’s not fair to Tyson Chandler. He should be starting in the All-Star Game.”
“Tyson Chandler should be starting,” O’Neal said. “[Garnett] is older now. He’s slowing down. Even though he’s averaging 15 [points per game], he doesn’t look like the Kevin Garnett of old. In my mind, he’s not playing like an All-Star.
Chandler is having an All-Star caliber year. With Andrew Bynum out, he’s arguably the best center in the Easter Conference, more so than even Joakim Noah and Brook Lopez. And certainly more so than the power forward turned center in Garnett.
No, Chandler won’t score the way Lopez and even Garnett is averaging more points per game than him, but his efficiency is out of this world. He also does an array of other things fellow big men cannot lay claim to.
New York’s tower is fifth in offensive rebounding percentage (15.1) and fifth in rebounding percentage overall (19.3). His 11 rebounds are sixth in the league and his tip-outs have become synonymous with success. And his defense remains phenomenal.
Perhaps most importantly, though, Chandler is fourth in the NBA in win shares (6.4). While win shares cannot serve as an end-all, they are an effective measurement of how much impact a player has on his team.
How do we know this?
Well, take a look at the top three who precede Chandler. Kevin Durant (9.6), LeBron James (8.7) and Chris Paul (7.8) are those currently ahead of Chandler. That says something; it’s a testament to the accuracy of win-shares’ existence. It’s a symbol of the impact Chandler has had on the Knicks.
So, why shouldn’t he be starting? Neither Garnett, Noah or Lopez are even in the top 30 in that department. Chandler is fourth. Hell, he has more win-shares than Dwight Howard (3.9).
Chandler has long been a player whose impact was never believed to show up in the stat lines. This season, it’s showing up in the stat lines, and still Garnett, the least deserving of any eligible bigs, is voted in.
Clearly, there’s something wrong here. Obviously, the way fans vote needs to change.
If it didn’t, Chandler, not Garnett, would be starting at the All-Star game.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.