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#pounditThursday, March 30, 2023

1 Western Conference All-Star selection sparks debate

Michael Malone smiling

Feb 5, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone reacts during the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

As big of a storyline as NBA All-Star snubs are every year, a bigger and more controversial storyline might have to do with a player who actually made it.

On Thursday, the NBA officially announced this year’s All-Star reserves for both conferences. In the Western Conference, the reserves were Memphis’ Ja Morant, Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis, the LA Clippers’ Paul George, Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Utah’s Lauri Markkanen, and Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr.

Denver’s Nikola Jokic, Dallas’ Luka Doncic, the LA Lakers’ LeBron James, Golden State’s Steph Curry, and New Orleans’ Zion Williamson were named as the All-Star starters in the West last week.

The selection of Jackson as an All-Star was by far the most divisive. Jackson, who has solid but unspectacular numbers of 16.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game this season, was selected over deserving candidates like De’Aaron Fox, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, Aaron Gordon, Anthony Edwards, and CJ McCollum. Furthermore, Jackson has only played 35 games this season (which is the fewest of any of the above players except Leonard and Davis).

Here were some of the funny Twitter reactions to Jackson’s All-Star nod.

In fairness to Jackson, he is having an impressive impact for the second-seed Grizzlies. He cleans up shots on the interior, shoots 36.3 percent from deep, and plays absolutely magnificent defense (averaging 1.0 steals and 3.3 blocks per game). But even Jackson’s defensive impact, which has him as a DPOY frontrunner, came under fire recently thanks to a (since-debunked) conspiracy theory.


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