Charles Barkley sent a strong and somewhat insulting message to Anthony Davis on Thursday, revealing that he put Utah sixth man Jordan Clarkson ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers superstar on his All-Star reserve ballot.
Barkley tried to explain his reasoning on TNT’s Inside the NBA, but was met with awkward silence from his colleagues.
Barkley eventually went a little more in-depth on his decision.
“He’s been the best bench player in the NBA this year,” Barkley said of Clarkson. “They (the Jazz) got the best record in the NBA. Most people don’t notice that he has been fantastic this year. That’s why I got him on my list. … Davis has not played like an All-Star. This ain’t a lifetime achievement award. … We’re talking about who’s having the best year, not who’s the better player.
“We love Anthony. He’s a good kid and a great player. But his numbers are down. I’m not going to give it to him just because he’s a perennial great player. He has not played like an All-Star this year.”
Barkley is right — Davis’ numbers are down. But even in a down year, he’s among the most productive players in the NBA. Davis is averaging 22.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots per game.
Meanwhile, Clarkson is averaging 18.2 points in 26.2 minutes per game for the Western Conference-leading Jazz. While solid, looking through history there aren’t a ton of sixth men making All-Star squads.
Anthony Davis Dealing With Injuries
All the debate might be a moot point, considering it’s unlikely Davis plays in the All-Star game due to injury. Still, Davis would like to have the All-Star nod on his resume, seeing as he’s been selected the last seven consecutive seasons.
“Certainly we’re going to be cautious with this type of injury, and we’ll see how he responds to treatment and re-evaluate him in a couple weeks,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said this week, noting that Davis would be out through the All-Star break.
Both Davis and the team have stressed that they don’t feel that the injury is too serious and that everything that’s being done is in an abundance of caution, especially after a very short offseason following a championship run inside of the bubble.
“I haven’t had those talks with the medical team, but certainly that’s in the back of our minds with the short turnaround. These are things that you worry about, but again, hopefully, it’s not serious,” Vogel said when asked if the short offseason contributed to the injury. “It’s really one of those things that’s out of our control, so me personally, I don’t spend too much time thinking about it.”
LeBron James Named All-Star Starter
There’s was no debate about LeBron James being an All-Star. He garnered the most votes overall with 5,922,554 and also notched the most votes from media members and fellow players.
It’s his 17th All-Star selection — third-most in NBA history, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19) and Kobe Bryant (18). James is the leading scorer in All-Star Game history (385 points) and extends his record for consecutive All-Star starts to 17. James will serve as an All-Star captain, along with Kevin Durant.
Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard and Nikola Jokic were the others starters named on Thursday. The remaining All-Star selections will be revealed on Feb. 23.