The best NBA players to never make an All-Star Game

Dan Halverson

February 4th, 2020

The NBA All-Star Game has steadily evolved into a popularity contest. The midseason showcase always has elite ballers, but the players at the end of the bench are often there because of name recognition rather than production. That's led to more than a few players being overlooked. Let’s look at five of the best NBA players who were never selected for the All-Star Game.

Jamal Crawford

One of the most effective scorers in the last 20 years, Crawford three times won Sixth Man of the Year. If you needed a bucket, even in the closing minutes, teams often turned to Crawford.

Lamar Odom

The troubled star was one of the more naturally talented players in the league during his prime in the late 2000s. A 6-foot-10 forward, he glided to the rim and had smooth handles for a player of his size.

Overshadowed by star teammate Kobe Bryant, Odom never received the respect he deserved for the contributions he made to those Lakers teams. It’s still shocking he didn’t make the All-Star game in 2003-2004, when he averaged 17.1 points and 9.7 rebounds per game for the Heat.

Josh Smith

Given the high school hype and his early entry into the NBA, it’s fair to say Josh Smith’s NBA career never became what many had hoped.

Most of the disappointment stems from his inability to develop a three-point shot, which forced him to be an inefficient scorer for Hawks teams that were average during his seasons there.

Rod Strickland

Strickland's All-Star snub in 1998 is one of the worst. He led the league in assists and was named second-team All-NBA at the end of the year. It’s hard to imagine anybody from the first or second team not also playing in the All-Star Game.

Ron Harper

Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls teams defined the modern NBA dynasty. The reason for the success was multifaceted. The Bulls had a great coach (Phil Jackson), the greatest player of all-time (Jordan), and a host of quality complimentary players who fit into Jackson’s scheme and strategy.

One of those players was Ron Harper, who transitioned from shooting guard to point guard in order to defer to the more talented scorers on the roster. But in the 1989-1990 season, Harper averaged 22.8 points per game, along with 5.2 assists and 2.3 steals. He has five championship rings and was a significant contributor on some of the greatest NBA teams. Harper deserved the recognition of at least one All-Star selection.


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