Russell Westbrook, the arguable front-runner for NBA MVP, has failed to crack the starting five for this year’s Western Conference All-Star team.
The Thunder star guard, who is averaging a triple double in his sixth All-Star season, will be riding the bench when the league’s top players tip off on Feb. 19 in New Orleans.
The NBA announced Thursday that the Warriors’ two-time reigning MVP Steph Curry will start at guard along with the Rockets’ James Harden. Golden State’s Kevin Durant, Westbrook’s former teammate, will join San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and the Pelicans’ Anthony Davis in the front court.
Westbrook is scoring a league-best 30.6 points per game to go along with his average of 10.4 assists and 10.6 rebounds. His consistent dominance through the first 44 games of the Oklahoma City season have put him at the top of this year’s MVP debate.
The NBA changed the voting system for the All-Star Game this season. Fans previously held 100 percent influence over who filled the lineups, but starting this year, media and players each inherited 25 percent of the vote, which cut the fans’ power in half.
The swing in the players’ favor, however, hasn’t given them everything they wanted. Some players jumped on Twitter to voice their displeasure with Westbrook’s All-Star status.
“I know he won’t care either way, it’s all about the team, but Nobody deserves to start in the all star game over Russ,” Thunder teammate Anthony Morrow tweeted.
“If leading the league in ppg and averaging a triple double isnt good enough lol #sheeesh #PHpositionsnojoke,” posted Nets guard Jeremy Lin.
Thunder center Enes Kanter also backed up his teammate.
“Triple-Doubles All-Star starters (COMBINED)=19 Russ=21 Nobody deserves to start in the all star game over Russ”