OPINION: Put your feet up, Steven Adams, All-Star 'snub' is an opportunity

Steven Adams
Kiwi NBA star Steven Adams. Photo credit: Getty

OPINION: We all love Steven Adams, but it's hard to feel too outraged by his latest NBA All-Star 'snub'.

Reserves for the February 19 (NZ time) spectacular were announced this week, after the naming of starters and captains - Steph Curry for the Western Conference and LeBron James in the Eastern Conference - earlier this month.

In the fifth year of his NBA career, Adams was nowhere to be seen. We'll have to wait to see exactly how close he got, but when the first round of fan votes were revealed on January 4, he didn't rank among the top 10 Western Conference frontcourt candidates.

From a parochial standpoint, this seems a travesty. The Oklahoma City Thunder centre is putting up consistently outstanding numbers, and occasionally threatens to overshadow his team's 'big three' of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

His 13.7 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals a game, and 63.3 percent field goal shooting are all career highs, while his 5.1 offensive boards lead the league in that category.

If there was a 'Most Underrated' title among the NBA awards, our boy might be a prime candidate - although, paradoxically, the more he's described as underrated, the less underrated he becomes.

In a Thunder line-up still struggling to define roles with its new personnel, Adams' role is clear and he's filling it expertly. 

But scanning the list of those who gained All-Star selection ahead of him, it's hard to quibble with their inclusion.

The only specialist centres in the Western Conference line-up are New Orleans' DeMarcus Cousins and Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns, both thoroughly deserving of the honour.

Veteran Cousins is the starting '5', averaging 25.6 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists, and well on his way to a career-high in three-pointers.

In his third season, Towns is averaging 20.0 points and 12.1 rebounds, actually down on last season, on a more talented and much-improved Timberwolves roster.

Others to miss out include DeAndre Jordan from the LA Clippers, Marc Gasol from Memphis, brother Pau Gasol of San Antonio, Nikola Jokic from Denver and Dirk Nowitzki from Dallas.

In the east, Joel Embiid from Philadelphia is the starting centre, while Boston's Al Horford comes off the bench. Again, no arguments there.

So, while Adams is definitely putting together a season we Kiwis can all be proud of, he probably hasn't quite done enough to force his way into All-Star consideration.

And that's OK with me, because - apart from a convenient line on a CV - this event means absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch.

It's an annoying break in the fantasy basketball season. It's a marketing gimmick.

Purists - and I put my hand straight up - hate the All-Star Game, because no-one plays any defence.

It's all about dunks and hot-dogging, so someone like Adams, with his blue-collar skillset of crashing boards and setting hard picks, would seem somewhat out of place - although he can undoubtedly dunk.

The All-Star concept has been diluted even further this year, with the introduction of a pick-up format that will see Curry and James take turns in choosing their team-mates from either conference list.

So if there was ever any strong West vs East rivalry, that's gone.

Probably the most interesting aspect of this new format is the actual team selection, but that process will take place behind closed doors, so no-one can see players sulking, when their mates don't pick them first.

Of course, some players are already upset at missing out on the All-Star nod, but in a couple of days, when they get over it, they will realise they now have six days in the schedule, where they can give their bodies a break from the 82-game regular season grind.

Therein lies the real beauty behind Adams' so-called snub.

If missing out means he's in better shape to finally represent the Tall Blacks during his off-season, all the better. That's a cause worth getting way more emotional about.

Grant Chapman is a senior online producer at Newshub.