The man has done it again — Paul George is now an eight-time All-Star and is headed to Utah, where the brightest stars will align for the NBA’s annual stimulating spectacle.
The superstar wing is averaging 23.1 points, 5.3 assists, and 6.1 rebounds per contest, helping the Los Angeles Clippers secure the fifth seed in the uber-competitive Western Conference.
He will represent the Western Conference as a reserve alongside former Clipper Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and five other superstars: Jaren Jackson Jr., Damian Lillard, Lauri Markkanen, Ja Morant, and Domantas Sabonis.
On the other hand, George’s superstar teammate has been left off the prestigious list of elite hoopers.
While Kawhi Leonard’s recent performances — he put up monster averages of 27.7 points, 4 assists, and 6.2 rebounds in January — most definitely could have earned him a roster spot, there are also obvious reasons why he didn’t get the nod: he played in just 29 games thus far, and his noteworthy campaign only started later into the season.
Could one argue that he deserved it more than Jaren Jackson Jr., a frontcourt player averaging 16.5 points, 0.9 assists, and 6.7 rebounds? Definitely.
But does — of all people in this talent-filled, drama-filled league — Kawhi Leonard care? Probably not. Having one less All-Star appearance doesn’t alter the trajectory of an already impressive career that Leonard has built. Nor does it affect his ultimate goal of the season: gifting the Clippers their first championship.
Either way, Clippers fans should be grateful to have at least one part of the two-headed basketball monsters that Leonard and George are in the league’s annual festivities.
As for the other players, it’ll be a break to recalibrate and re-prepare for the remainder of the season. Even during all the fun and joy of All-Star Weekend, the final goal is still clear: an NBA championship.