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Devin Booker on All-Star snub: ‘NBA is different than the game that I fell in love with’

Devin Booker

DALLAS, TEXAS - JANUARY 28: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns moves the ball against the Dallas Mavericks in the second half at American Airlines Center on January 28, 2020 in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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Devin Booker should have been an All-Star. I ranked the Suns guard ahead of two selected Western Conference guards – Russell Westbrook and Donovan Mitchell.

Booker, via Edith Noriega of Cronkite News:

“It was always a goal of mine,” Booker said of the midseason competition. “It just re-proves the point that the NBA is different than the game that I fell in love with at the beginning – of all the best players in the All-Star Game – growing up, watching it. Now, it’s an entertainment-, drama-, political-filled league.

“We’re a part of it now. It pays well, so I guess we should be quiet about it.”


When asked how to improve the All-Star selection process, Booker simply said, “put the best players in the game” regardless of position.

Again, I think Booker should have made it. But this is too much. There have always been All-Star snubs. Sometimes, the voting coaches disagree with other preferences. It happens. This case isn’t extraordinary.

I get why Booker feels this way. It’s personal to him. But the rest of us don’t have to passively accept his narrative.

However, I do agree with Booker on eliminating positional designations. Who cares whether that will sometimes leave one All-Star team with too many guards and the other with too many centers. It’s an exhibition game. In fact, it’d be even more fun if the All-Star game included a lineup of guards vs. a lineup of centers.

That change wouldn’t have necessarily gotten Booker into this year’s All-Star Game, though. Yes, the Western Conference maxed out All-Star guards in the current format. But I wouldn’t assume Booker would’ve been selected ahead of Rudy Gobert, Nikola Jokic or Brandon Ingram – especially Gobert and Jokic. Plus, Paul George and/or Karl-Anthony Towns might have been ahead of Booker, anyway.

Another change I support (and that would help Booker): Eliminate conference designations. Especially with teams now divided by captains rather than conference, it’s not worth protecting half the All-Star spots for each conference. Booker would’ve fared better if competing with Eastern Conference All-Stars Domantas Sabonis and Bam Adebayo.

Of course, Bradley Beal already feels he got jobbed by Eastern Conference coaches. Who knows whether Booker would’ve gotten selected, even in a preferable system?

Booker has played like a borderline All-Star. I thought he should have made it. Western Conference coaches didn’t. It’s not some bigger referendum on the state of the NBA.