According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears at Ball Don’t Lie:
Besides Rondo and Rose, the East roster includes Boston’s Paul Pierce, Toronto’s Chris Bosh, Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace and Atlanta’s Joe Johnson and Al Horford.
The West reserves are the New Orleans’ Chris Paul, the Lakers’ Pau Gasol, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, Memphis’ Zach Randolph and Portland’s Brandon Roy.
Among the notable candidates left off the team are the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Kaman, New York’s David Lee and Denver’s Chauncey Billups.
Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and Brandon Roy were all no brainers as All-Star reserves. That left two available spots: A Center spot, and an open spot not bound by positional restraints. Pau Gasol isn’t really a Center, but because he’s played about 300 minutes at that spot this year and is extremely tall, we’ll avoid arguing over the technicalities of him getting the reserve Center position.
Essentially, Pau Gasol and Zach Randolph were chosen over Chris Kaman.
Let’s take the emotion out of this for a second, and look at the numbers.
The first stat that pops out is that Pau Gasol has only played in 29 of 46 games. Does his body of work make up for all those missed games? Well…yes. Pau is 7th in the entire league in NBA Efficiency rating, 14th overall in PER rating, and 3rd overall in Win Shares. When he’s been on the floor, he’s been one of the best players in the NBA.
Look, Kaman’s been great this year, especially early on. But has he been that much better than Pau Gasol’s little brother Marc?
Marc Gasol has been shooting 60.4% to Kaman’s 50.5% from the field, and has better shot blocking, rebounding, assist, steal and turnover numbers. The Grizzlies big man also has a higher PER rating, EFF rating and more Win-Shares than Kaman. In virtually every meaningful stat outside of PPG, Marc Gasol has Chris Kaman bested.
At the end of the day, the coaches would rather tab a guy on a dominant team like the Lakers before a guy on a sub-.500 team like the Clippers. It’s not the most foolproof logic, but I get it.
You’ll hear a lot of gripes about Kaman being left off, but the numbers just don’t support his case. He’s had a great season thus far, but he faces the same problems the rest of the Clippers have: He plays in the Western Conference.