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Friday, March 1, 2024

10 Most Unlikely NBA All-Star Selections In The Last 20 Years

NBA All-Star selections serve as a prestigious acknowledgment of a player’s outstanding contributions, showcasing their skills and impact on the court. While perennial All-Stars often dominate the headlines, the league has witnessed instances where unexpected players have risen to the occasion, earning their place among basketball’s elite. 

These unlikely NBA All-Star selections add an intriguing layer to the narrative of individual success and team dynamics, illustrating the diverse paths players can take to be recognized for their talents.


1. Andrew Wiggins – 2022 NBA All-Star Game

Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

2021-22 Stats: 17.2 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.7 BPG

2015 All-Star Game Stats: 10 PTS, 0 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK

In the 2021-22 NBA season, Andrew Wiggins emerged as a standout player, displaying his versatility on the court. Averaging 17.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists across 73 games, Wiggins not only earned himself a spot in the All-Star Game but also played a pivotal role in securing his first NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors.

This All-Star selection marked a significant point in Wiggins’ career, showcasing his development since his initial rookie season. In that game, he contributed 10 points and 1 assist, reflecting the journey of growth and improvement that ultimately led to his remarkable achievements in the 2021-22 season.

Wiggins’ inclusion in the All-Star Game served as a testament to his hard work and dedication, proving that unexpected players can rise to the occasion and make a lasting impact in recent NBA history. His journey from a promising rookie to a key player in a championship-winning team is a compelling narrative within the broader context of unlikely All-Star selections.


2. Goran Dragic – 2018 NBA All-Star Game

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2017-18 Stats: 17.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.8 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.2 BPG

2018 All-Star Game Stats: 2 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK

In the 2017-18 season, Goran Dragic’s selection to the NBA All-Star Game was an unexpected twist in his career. Averaging 17.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game over 75 appearances, Dragic’s statistical contributions were commendable but not initially indicative of an All-Star berth.

The unlikely nature of Dragic’s All-Star selection stemmed from the fact that he was not a perennial All-Star candidate. His style of play, characterized by steady contributions rather than flashy performances, made his inclusion a surprise. The guard’s impact went beyond the box score, with his leadership and consistent play pivotal for the Miami Heat.

While his All-Star Game stats may not have been eye-catching, Dragic’s selection highlighted the appreciation for his overall season-long performance. The unexpected nod showcased how players with less conventional All-Star trajectories can receive recognition based on their consistent and valuable contributions to their teams.


3. Deandre Jordan – 2017 NBA All-Star Game

Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

2016-17 Stats: 12.7 PPG, 13.8 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.7 BPG

2017 All-Star Game Stats: 6 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 0 BLK, 0 AST

DeAndre Jordan’s inclusion in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game was a departure from the usual All-Star selections. In the 2016-17 season, he posted solid but not traditionally All-Star-level numbers, averaging 12.7 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks in 81 games.

What made Jordan’s All-Star nod unlikely was the emphasis on statistical categories not typically associated with All-Star recognition. Known for his prowess in rebounding and shot-blocking, Jordan’s impact extended beyond scoring. His defensive presence and rebounding efficiency played a crucial role for the Los Angeles Clippers.

Despite modest All-Star Game stats of 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists, Jordan’s selection underscored the importance of well-rounded contributions and highlighted the atypical path some players take to earn their All-Star recognition. His selection was a testament to the value of a player’s overall impact on the court, beyond conventional scoring metrics.


4. Jeff Teague – 2015 NBA All-Star Game

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2014-15 Stats: 15.9 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 7.0 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.4 BPG

2015 All-Star Game Stats: 14 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 0 BLK

Jeff Teague’s selection for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game was closely tied to his pivotal role in the Atlanta Hawks‘ remarkable performance during the 2014-15 season. Averaging 15.9 points, 7.0 assists, and 2.5 rebounds in 73 games, Teague’s playmaking abilities were integral to the Hawks finishing as the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Hawks, under coach Mike Budenholzer, surprised the league with their team-oriented, unselfish style of play. Teague’s contributions as a floor general, highlighted by his impressive assist numbers, played a crucial role in the team’s success. The Hawks’ unexpected rise to the top seed brought attention to players like Teague, who might not have been on the traditional All-Star radar.

In the All-Star Game, Teague showcased his skills with 14 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, and 1 steal. His selection emphasized the recognition of not only individual performance but also the impact a player can have in elevating his team to unexpected heights. Teague’s All-Star nod was a reflection of both his personal achievements and the collective success of the Atlanta Hawks during that memorable season.


5. Kyle Korver – 2015 NBA All-Star Game

Credit: Jordan Godfree-USA TODAY Sports

2014-15 Stats: 12.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.4 BPG

2015 All-Star Game Stats: 21 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK, 7 3PM

Kyle Korver’s inclusion in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game was a recognition of his exceptional three-point shooting and valuable contributions to the Atlanta Hawks during the 2014-15 season. Despite averaging 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game, Korver’s impact was felt beyond conventional statistics.

His selection was underscored by an outstanding performance in the All-Star Game, where he scored 21 points, grabbed 1 rebound, dished out 2 assists, and made a notable 7 three-pointers. Korver’s sharpshooting prowess and ability to stretch the floor played a crucial role in the Hawks securing the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

While his regular-season statistics might not have screamed All-Star, his selection and remarkable All-Star Game performance highlighted the NBA’s appreciation for specialized skills and the impact they can have on team success. Korver’s recognition demonstrated the league’s acknowledgment of diverse player roles and the importance of players excelling in their specific areas of expertise.


6. Tyson Chandler – 2013 NBA All-Star Game

Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2012-13 Stats: 10.4 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 0.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.1 BPG

2013 All-Star Game Stats: 7 PTS, 8 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK

Tyson Chandler’s selection for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game was a testament to his impact on both ends of the court during the 2012-13 season. Averaging a double-double with 10.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, Chandler’s defensive prowess, exemplified by 1.0 steals and 1.1 blocks per game, played a crucial role for the New York Knicks.

While his regular-season statistics showcased his consistent contributions, his All-Star Game stats of 7 points and 8 rebounds reflected a more active offensive role in the exhibition match. Chandler’s All-Star selection was not solely based on scoring but rather on his defensive presence and the intangibles he brought to the Knicks.

The 2012-13 season saw the Knicks emerge as a formidable force in the Eastern Conference, and Chandler’s leadership in anchoring the defense was a key factor. His All-Star nod highlighted the league’s recognition of the value of defensive specialists and players who contribute significantly to team success in ways that may not always be reflected in traditional scoring statistics.


7. Chris Kaman – 2010 NBA All-Star Game

Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

2009-10 Stats: 18.5 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.2 BPG

2010 All-Star Game Stats: 4 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK

Chris Kaman’s inclusion in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game reflected his standout performance during the 2009-10 season. Averaging an impressive 18.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game, Kaman’s contributions were pivotal for the Los Angeles Clippers.

His All-Star Game stats of 4 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist may not have been eye-catching, but they mirrored his steady and reliable style of play. Kaman’s selection came at a time when the Clippers were rebuilding, and his individual success provided a bright spot for the team.

The 2009-10 season showcased Kaman’s ability to be a reliable scoring option and a presence in the paint. While the Clippers may not have been a playoff contender, Kaman’s All-Star nod emphasized the league’s acknowledgment of individual excellence even on teams not experiencing overall success. His inclusion in the All-Star Game highlighted the diversity of talent and contributions recognized by the NBA.


8. Mo Williams – 2009 NBA All-Star Game

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

2008-09 Stats: 17.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG

2009 All-Star Game Stats: 12 PTS, 2 REB, 5 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK

Mo Williams’ selection for the 2009 NBA All-Star Game was a surprising and unlikely turn of events, given the context of his individual performance during the 2008-09 season. Averaging 17.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game, Williams showcased scoring ability and playmaking skills for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

His All-Star Game stats of 12 points, 2 rebounds, and 5 assists were commendable, but what made his selection unexpected was the competition in the Eastern Conference backcourt that season. Williams faced stiff competition from more established and statistically dominant guards.

The surprise stemmed from Williams being recognized over players with higher averages and more extensive careers. The Cavaliers’ success as a team, led by LeBron James, may have contributed to the decision to include Williams, highlighting the influence of team success on All-Star selections.

Williams’ unexpected All-Star nod serves as a reminder of how various factors, including team performance and overall impact, can influence the league’s recognition of individual players. His inclusion in the 2009 All-Star Game was a testament to his integral role in the Cavaliers’ success during that season.


9. Jameer Nelson – 2009 NBA All-Star Game

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2008-09 Stats: 16.7 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.1 BPG

2009 All-Star Game Stats: A torn labrum in Nelson’s right shoulder forced him to miss the game.

Jameer Nelson’s selection for the 2009 NBA All-Star Game was a well-deserved recognition of his leadership and contributions to the Orlando Magic’s impressive season. Averaging 16.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per game, Nelson played a vital role in guiding the Magic to the NBA Finals.

However, Nelson’s All-Star experience was overshadowed by a significant setback. A torn labrum in his right shoulder, sustained just before the All-Star Game, forced him to miss the exhibition. Despite this injury, Nelson continued to be a key figure for the Magic during their playoff run.

Nelson made a remarkable return during the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. Although his impact was limited, his presence on the court showcased his determination and commitment to the team’s success. The Magic ultimately fell short in the series, losing to the Lakers in five games.


10. Josh Howard – 2007 NBA All-Star Game

Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

2006-07 Stats: 18.9 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.5 BPG

2007 All-Star Game Stats: 3 PTS, 4 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 0 BLK

Josh Howard’s inclusion in the 2007 NBA All-Star Game was a surprising turn of events, marked by his standout performance during the 2006-07 season. Averaging 18.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game, Howard emerged as a key player for the Dallas Mavericks.

What made Howard’s All-Star selection unlikely was the competition in the Western Conference, known for its deep pool of talented players. In a conference loaded with stars, Howard’s statistical contributions stood out, but he wasn’t initially considered among the front-runners for an All-Star spot.

The 2007 All-Star Game, where Howard recorded 3 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists, highlighted his versatility but also marked the beginning of a series of challenges. Off-court issues and injuries would later impact Howard’s career.

While his inclusion in the All-Star Game showcased his on-court abilities, the subsequent events in Howard’s life made his selection even more unexpected. Off-court incidents and injuries altered the trajectory of his career, emphasizing the unpredictability that can accompany the recognition of individual success in the NBA.


Honorable Mention


Jamaal Magloire – 2004 NBA All-Star Game

Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

2003-04 Stats: 13.6 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.2 BPG

2004 All-Star Game Stats: 19 PTS, 8 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK

Jamaal Magloire’s surprise inclusion in the 2004 NBA All-Star Game was a testament to his impactful play during the 2003-04 season. Averaging a double-double with 13.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, Magloire became a force in the paint for the New Orleans Hornets.

What made Magloire’s All-Star selection an honorable mention was the competition he faced in the frontcourt of the Eastern Conference, where more established names typically received All-Star nods. However, Magloire’s impressive statistics and his influence on the Hornets’ performance earned him a place among the league’s elite.

In the 2004 All-Star Game, Magloire didn’t merely participate; he showcased his skills with 19 points and 8 rebounds. His noteworthy performance highlighted his ability to rise to the occasion on the grand stage, leaving a lasting impression.

While Magloire’s All-Star appearance might not have been expected at the beginning of the season, it became a recognition of his hard work and impact in the paint. His inclusion in the All-Star Game stands as an honorable mention, underscoring the occasional emergence of deserving players from unexpected corners of the NBA landscape.

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