Utah’s Lauri Markkanen shockingly snubbed from All-Star Game
It’s been a very up and down type of year in Jazz land this season.
With more downs than ups, including their current 3 game losing streak after a narrow 127-124 loss at home to a Philadelphia last night, Jazz fans are desperately searching for more positives.
One of those hopeful positives was Lauri Markkanen’s eligibility for the 2024 NBA All-Star game.
Jazz fans watched Markkanen become a first time All-Star last season finishing the year with 25.6 Points per game, 8.6 Rebounds, and 49.5 percent shooting from the field while attempting almost 8 threes a game on 39 percent shooting.
It was a profound statement that the Jazz were rebuilding right and had already discovered a new face of the franchise after jetting away Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
This season, Markkanen has kept a steady pace to last years All-Star season, but was not on the final reveal for the All-Star reserves when released yesterday:
Lauri is scoring 23.6 PPG with 8.7 boards a contest while shooting at 49.5 percent and tallying a 39.8 percent mark from downtown in 40 games up to this point of the current season.
In his 54 games leading up to his first All-Star appearance last season, Markkanen was totaling 24.9 PPG, 8.6 Rebound on 51 percent shooting and 41 percent three-point sniping.
Admittedly, as the statistics demonstrate there has been a slight dip in the numbers but nothing to give anyone a reason to discredit Markkanen’s All-Star status.
So why not this year? If his stats were good enough for last season, why not now?
The recent stretch of play coming out of Utah can’t be any type of help.
The Jazz were red hot only weeks ago when the Markkanen All-Star stock was at its peak.
As of late Utah has lost 6 of the last 8 in which Markkanen is averaging 22 PPG, 8.3 TRB, 48.8 percent shooting equipped with a 40 percent grade from outside.
The stats have been up to par if formatted as such but the Jazz themselves haven’t, which may have taken some of the appeal and shine off of adding Lauri to the game.
Make no mistake, the All-Star selections require the resume of a star, which Markkanen has, but they also require excitement and allure.
The Jazz simply haven’t been sexy enough to swing the pendulum in Lauri’s favor, with three of those losses being by 15 or more points.
In those particular losses, Lauri posted totals of 11, 13, and 14 points, which certainly didn’t help.
The names who snuck in past Lauri also snuck past Domantas Sabonis, De’Aaron Fox, and Alperen Sengun who were all very deserving candidates.
It was a packed application pool, and some had to be cut.
Kawhi Leonard scores at a similar pace but has higher shooting percentages and greater assist value.
Anthony Davis is a Laker, so that certainly helps, but I guess he technically averages more than Lauri, outrebounds Lauri by almost 4 a game, and shoots better from the field despite the three ball being much lower.
Devin Booker in the month of January has games of 44, 46, 52 and 62 points with about 7 assist a game to go with that 28 PPG.
Anthony Edwards averages more points while shooting worse than Lauri, his case lies in the fact he is the number one scoring option on the Western Conference’s current #1 seed and pairs 5 rebounds with 5 assists on the nightly.
Steph Curry is well, Steph Curry. You know the NBA isn’t about to leave him out and despite Golden State’s struggles, Curry hasn’t changed. 27.5 PPG on 40 percent three-point shooting with 5 assists per contest is beyond respectable.
Paul George has the benefit of the Clippers actually playing well as his stat line is arguably the biggest argument to put Markkanen over someone, and even then, its still too hard to decide.
George is putting up 23 points on 46.3 shooting with 41.2 percent three-point accuracy. He averages 5.5 rebounds next to 3.5 assists.
The Clippers are the bigger market and the better team, so even if you view it as a tie, its not too hard to see why they went with George.
Karl Anthony-Towns sits at 22.7 points behind 52.2 field accuracy and a 44.3 percent three-point shot. His shooting is better, he rebounds at the same rate and has a slightly higher assist factor, and oh ya, his team is the best team in the West.
Is that a valid argument? Not really, but Jazz fans will remember that he #1 seed gets rewarded. Utah had three All-Star’s appear the year they sat atop the standings by break time.
Trust me, Kings fans are doing the same thing making their case for Sabonis and Fox, who should be there, and Houston is likely advocating for Sengun.
Whether we agree with who was or who wasn’t there wasn’t enough room to fit in everyone deserving, and unfortunately our very own Lauri Markkanen was one of them.