Commentary

NBA All-Stars no more

Why Garnett, Duncan missed the cut and how they are underperforming

Originally Published: February 26, 2012
By Bradford Doolittle | Basketball Prospectus
Tim DuncanAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesDuncan, Garnett and others didn't make the All-Star team and are underperforming 2012 projections.

We're going to break format a little for this Fallen All-Stars edition of Projection versus Projection. Ordinarily, we pick out one player in each of three groups: a player who has outperformed his projection, another one who is underperforming and finally one who has hit his numbers right on the nose. Today, we're going to look at six players who meet the following criteria:

1. Played in last season's All-Star Game

2. Did not make an All-Star roster this season

3. Is underperforming against his preseason projection

Our projection system SCHOENE forecasts a full suite of our favorite metrics, but the bottom-line number to watch for is WARP (wins above replacement player), which measures how many more wins a player adds to his team's total than a freely available guy plucked off the scrap heap. While no single number can capture everything that happens in an interdynamic team sport like hoops, WARP points you in the right direction. When you see a WARP number that surprises you -- and remember, we know when to be surprised because we've predicted all these WARP scores -- the next step is to ask why. All the WARP numbers in this article have been prorated to 82 games, just to give the results an air of normalcy in this decidedly abnormal NBA season.

The aging

Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics. Projected WARP: 9.2; current WARP: 8.3

Garnett

Garnett and Tim Duncan were tied for the most All-Star Game appearances among active players with 13, and KG was selected one other time but didn't play because of injury. Maybe it's the lockout -- the shortened 1998-99 season marked the last time Garnett didn't earn a spot in the All-Star Game. The East roster is heavy on small forwards. In fact, Miami's Chris Bosh is the only power forward on the roster.

However, Garnett ranks just 41st in the NBA in prorated WARP and even if the league had added another big man to the East roster, Greg Monroe, Josh Smith, Joakim Noah and Tyson Chandler all would have been more deserving of a spot. Garnett's level of play this season hasn't been particularly subpar nor has it been surprising. He's just getting old. He's off his SCHOENE projection a bit, but with a shortfall of less than one win, he may yet reach his forecast. His numbers are near the level he's established the past few seasons, though he is turning the ball over more often.


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