Demarcus Cousins is not getting the All-Star recognition he deserves

Meet this season's biggest All-Star snub: DeMarcus Cousins

1/15/14 in NBA   |   droth   |   127 respect

In March of 2011, after Portland beat Miami 105-96, LeBron James told Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel that LaMarcus Aldridge was "the biggest snub in All-Star history."

In that 2010-11 season Aldridge averaged 21.7 points and 8 rebounds per game. He finished the year 15th in NBA in scoring, 21st in rebounding, and 19th in PER and everybody, including the game's best player, knew he should've at least been an All-Star reserve.

Dec 15, 2013; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) dunks the ball against the Houston Rockets during the third quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Houston Rockets 106-91. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY SportsAfter an overtime loss last month in Sacramento, James told NBA writer Chris Palmer "Big Cous is an All-Star, I believe." It wasn't as bold of a statement as "biggest snub in All-Star history" but clearly James is on to something.

There are still a few days for voters to move Cousins up (voting ends Jan. 20) and coaches have a chance to put him on the team as a reserve, but with the depth in the West and the laundry list of stars currently ahead of him in voting, it seems likely that Cousins will be this season's biggest All-Star snub.

Cousins is averaging 23.5 points and 11.6 rebounds per game and he's sporting an impressive 27.6 PER. As of today, the Kings big man ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring, seventh in rebounding, and fourth in PER (He's also sixth in steals per game at 1.9 -- by far the highest of any big man). The numbers look great but, according to the latest batch of All-Star balloting returns, he's 11th among Western Conference big men with 148,604 votes.

The West is obviously stacked with mainstays like Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, and Dirk Nowitzki all ahead of Boogie in the voting and we all know that all-star voting isn't necessarily based on merit (see Allen Iverson in 2010, Yao Ming in 2011, and many others) but 11th? Come on.

One possible criticism of players like Aldridge and Kevin Love in previous seasons -- and now DeMarcus Cousins -- is that they put up great numbers but they don't win very many games. 

Hmm. Love, Anthony Davis, and Pau Gasol are all ahead of Cousins in voting and are, like Boogie, currently out of the playoff picture. The Lakers have won one more game than Sacramento while New Orleans has won two more games. And Kevin Love has carried his team to a whopping 18 wins -- five more than the Kings.

That 2010-11 season, when Aldridge was snubbed, Kevin Love made his first All-Star game in his third NBA season. He averaged 20 and 15 that year...and his team won roughly 1/5 of their games. The following season, in 2011-12, Love finished fifth in All-Star voting among Western Conference bigs and Aldridge finished sixth -- both were named All-Star reserves. Love's Timberwolves finished the season with a .394 winning percentage while the Blazers finished the year with a .424 mark.

Winning clearly brings more attention and, thus, All-Star votes, but history has shown that you don't have to win a lot to climb the ranks of the top vote-getters or to be recognized by coaches.
 
Market size doesn't seem to be a factor either. According to most rankings, Sacramento's TV market size is roughly #20 among all U.S. markets and puts them directly behind Orlando, Cleveland, Denver, and Miami and ahead of New Orleans, San Antonio, Memphis, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Indiana, and Portland. 
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