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The 2023 NBA All-Snub team

From Sacramento to Philadelphia, here’s this year’s list of almost NBA All-Stars

NEW ORLEANS — Minnesota Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards was mentally preparing for being an NBA All-Star snub just days before it actually happened.

“That’s how it has always been. I’ve never been the person to get chosen to be an All-Star. They didn’t want me to be the No. 1 pick, right? So, I’m used to it at this point. I just love the game of basketball,” Edwards told Andscape after scoring 37 points in a 111-102 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 25.

Edwards was 20th in the NBA in scoring entering Thursday (24.9 points per game). The third-year guard had his best month of the season in January with a scoring average of 27.3 points. The No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA draft is also perhaps the league’s most electrifying dunker. But that wasn’t enough to become a first-time NBA All-Star.

The Timberwolves’ 28-26 record probably didn’t help either, although they have been without injured star forward Karl-Anthony Towns. But the silver lining for Edwards is that he already had NBA All-Star break vacation plans in the works, and says he is more focused on returning to the playoffs.

“It’s definitely a goal,” Edwards said of becoming an NBA All-Star. “But I think for me, me and my family talk all the time we just want to go back to the playoffs. Never knew what it felt like till last year. And that was my second year in the league, so I don’t want to go another year without going back.”

Twenty-four players will compete in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 19 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City. NBA fans, media and players selected the starters a week ago, and the reserves for both conferences, as selected by coaches, were revealed Thursday. Once again, Andscape presents its annual NBA All-Snub team, our squad of the most deserving players who didn’t make the cut, that began with Edwards.

Trae Young, guard, Atlanta Hawks

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young gestures after hitting a 3-point basket in the second half against the Phoenix Suns at Footprint Center on Feb. 1 in Phoenix.

Chris Coduto/Getty Images

Young has been an NBA All-Star twice in his young career, but such was not the case this time. The 24-year-old entered Thursday averaging 27 points while ranking third in the NBA in assists in 9.9 per game. The Hawks’ disappointing 26-26 record and Young’s spat with coach Nate McMillan earlier this season may have quelled support from the voting Eastern Conference coaches.

Pascal Siakam, forward, Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam dribbles during the fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Moda Center on Jan. 28 in Portland, Oregon.

Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Siakam was snubbed from being an NBA All-Star for the second time in his career. The 2020 NBA All-Star is having perhaps the best season of his career, averaging career highs of 24.9 points and 6.3 assists, as well as 8 rebounds per game. The Toronto Raptors aren’t helping Siakam’s case, as they have a disappointing 23-30 record.

De’Aaron Fox, guard, Sacramento Kings

Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox dribbles the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Jan. 30 at Target Center in Minneapolis.

David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

This snub is a big-time head scratcher for the deserving Fox. The Sacramento Kings are perhaps the NBA’s most surprising team with a 29-21 record and eyes on making the postseason for the first time since 2006. Fox is the Kings’ biggest star entering Thursday, averaging a team-high 24.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. Sacramento deserves two All-Stars but instead only got Domantas Sabonis voted in as a reserve.

Jalen Brunson, guard, New York Knicks

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson dribbles the ball during the game against the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 28, 2023, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

It could have gone either way between All-Star Julius Randle and Brunson, who was aiming for his first All-Star appearance in his first season in New York. Brunson entered Thursday averaging career highs in points (22.8) and assists (6.2) per game, but because of the Knicks’ record (27-25, seventh in the Eastern Conference), it was going to be hard for them to get two All-Stars.

Jimmy Butler, guard, Miami Heat

Miami Heat guard Jimmy Butler (center) drives by Charlotte Hornets center Mason Plumlee (left) to get to the basket during the third quarter of a game at Spectrum Center on Jan. 29 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

David Jensen/Getty Images

With a 29-23 record, the Miami Heat certainly deserved two All-Stars. The East coaches begged to differ as they selected Heat center Bam Adebayo but not Butler. The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets, however, were each able to land two NBA All-Stars. Butler was Miami’s leading scorer at 22 points per game entering Thursday. Something tells me that the eccentric combo-guard will have no problem finding something else to do NBA All-Star Weekend.

Jamal Murray (guard) and Aaron Gordon (forward), Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon (left) and guard Jamal Murray (right) look on during the game against the Atlanta Hawks on March 28, 2021, at the Ball Arena in Denver.

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s very rare that a team could have the best record in its conference and not get two All-Stars. Outside of All-Star Nikola Jokić, the Nuggets had two candidates in Murray and Gordon, but ultimately the West coaches were more enamored of the star power of the remaining candidates than rewarding first-place Denver.

Deandre Ayton, center, Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (left) handles the ball against Washington Wizards center Daniel Gafford (right) at Capital One Arena on Dec. 28, 2022, in Washington, D.C.

G Fiume/Getty Images

Ayton is averaging a double-double of 17.8 points on 57.4% shooting from the field, 10.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists for the Suns entering Thursday. The 7-footer is the key reason the Suns still have a winning record despite losing Devin Booker and Chris Paul for 24 and 21 games, respectively. Ayton was hoping to prove this season that he was worthy of being an All-Star, but the West coaches didn’t agree.

James Harden, guard, Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden dribbles during the game against the Orlando Magic on Jan. 30, 2023, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Harden has All-Star worthy statistics — 21.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and what would qualify as a league-best 11 assists per game — but the 2018 MVP has played in just 34 of the 76ers’ 50 games entering Thursday. That probably played a role in the coaches choosing someone else.

CJ McCollum, guard, New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum drives the ball around Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jaylen Nowell at the Smoothie King Center on Jan. 25, 2023, in New Orleans.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Throughout injuries to their stars, Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, McCollum has carried the Pelicans on his back with his play and leadership. McCollum told Andscape last week that he felt deserving of the All-Star nod, and his well-rounded play (21.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game) speaks to that. But with Williamson being in as an All-Star starter, the Western Conference coaches weren’t going to allow the Pelicans two All-Stars.

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for Andscape. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.