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Charles Barkley: “Chris Paul doesn’t deserve to make the All-Star team”

2013 NBA Finals - Game Three

2013 NBA Finals - Game Three

Joe Murphy

Chris Paul has been selected for the last seven All-Star Games, played in six of them and started four.

This season CP3 is averaging 17.3 points and dishing out 9.8 assists a game, he has a .579 true shooting percentage well above the league average and has a PER of 24.7 — all of those numbers right around his career averages — while leading the Clippers to a 29-14 record.

But in a loaded Western Conference deep with guards Charles Barkley says Chris Paul doesn’t deserve to make the All-Star Team. None of the guys on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” picked Paul as an All-Star reserve. Barkley went on the Clippers’ flagship radio station Friday, The Beast 980 in Los Angeles, and defended his choice.

“Chris Paul doesn’t deserve to make the All-Star team. I love Chris. I’ve said that he’s the best leader we’ve got in the NBA now, but he’s not an All-Star this year. There are too many guys head of him. Steph Curry is the MVP probably, so far this year in the NBA. You’ve got Klay Thompson too.

“Steph is the leading vote-getter, and he’s best the best PG in the NBA this year. Kobe’s there, and that’s going to be the big decision, but then you’ve got James Harden, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard…. It’s going to be very difficult for Chris to make the team this year.”

I think Barkley is wrong here.

Yes, Stephen Curry is the leading vote getter, MVP candidate and starter at the point. As it should be. Yes, Kobe Bryant was voted in by the fans (even though it appears he will miss the game due to injury).

But that leaves still three or four more guard spots, depending on how you want to use your “wild card” slots. I think we can all agree that James Harden should make the team (and be slotted as a starter if Kobe is out) and Damian Lillard should be in as well.

After that, who are you putting ahead of CP3? On Barkley’s list on TNT he had Russell Westbrook and Klay Thompson ahead of Paul. Both guys having great seasons but Westbrook missed a lot of games with injuries and Thompson, while having a great season, is not the floor general or leader of an elite team the way Paul is — CP3 means more to the Clippers.

Barkley is big on rewarding winning teams… um, the Clippers are 29-14, that’s a 55-win pace? No, the Clips have not lived up to the preseason hype, they’ve been maddeningly inconsistent, but they are still winning. A lot.

After that there are great choices out West, I hate to see Mike Conley miss the team, but the conference is just loaded.

That said, if you’re leaving Chris Paul off your team you’re doing it wrong.