Well, there you have it. A two-month stretch of playing superb basketball was not enough to get Jarrett Allen into the All-Star Game after all. Donovan Mitchell will be the only member of the Cleveland Cavaliers to participate in the game.
It was not a huge surprise that Allen missed the first round of reserves. Still, hope remained that Allen would earn a selection as an injury reserve for either Julius Randle or Joel Embiid.
That hope has been snuffed out — as Atlanta Hawks’ guard Trae Young and Toronto Raptors’ forward Scottie Barnes have been announced as the replacements.
Atlanta’s Trae Young and Toronto’s Scottie Barnes have replaced Joel Embiid and Julius Randle on the NBA Eastern Conference All-Star team.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 6, 2024
I want to start by giving sincere congratulations to Barnes and Young. Both players are deserving of All-Star recognition and there is no need to tear one of them down to elevate Allen’s season.
Nonetheless, Allen’s absence from the All-Star game is an unfortunate blow. He has been the heart and soul of a team that was dangling over the edge in early December. Allen lifted the Cavaliers when they needed him most — elevating Cleveland to second place in the Eastern Conference.
Since mid-December, Allen is averaging 18.3 points, 12.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.2 blocks as one of the most impactful players in the league on the NBA’s hottest team. Cleveland holds a 19-4 record, best in the NBA during this stretch.
Typically, team success correlates to All-Star recognition. The top-seeded Boston Celtics have two players in the game (Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown) while many argued they could have up to four (Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White) due to their team’s all-around dominance. Sadly, the Cavaliers did not get those same sentiments for their success.
Both Young and Barnes are on teams currently outside of the playoff picture. The Hawks (20-28) are in 10th place while the Raptors (17-33) sit in 12th.
But let’s not disparage Barnes or Young to make a point. The real issue at hand is the size of these All-Star rosters. As the league has expanded, adding more teams and talent across the board, the All-Star rosters have remained at 12 per conference. This just ain’t gonna cut it.
With growing concerns surrounding the effort (or lack thereof) on All-Star weekend, a change might be needed.
My suggestion is to ditch the format altogether and switch to a tournament of four teams of 7-to-8 stars. Each “quarter” would now become a single, 12-minute game. The winners of the first two quarters would move on to the championship game — while the losers compete for third place.
The final minutes of the All-Star Games are usually the most exciting — so why not trim the fat and get straight to the point? The Rising Stars Game has already made the change while the G-League is following suit.
Most of all, switching to a tournament format would open the door for more players to compete in the All-Star Game. And for fans of Jarrett Allen, that’s all we can ask for.