Ben Simmons drives past D'Angelo Russell. Picture: Matt Slocum/AP
Ben Simmons drives past D'Angelo Russell. Picture: Matt Slocum/AP

Coach rages over Simmons’ All-Star snub

BEN Simmons has been named an NBA All-Star.

The Australian was snubbed last week as a starter in a vote by fans, current NBA players and media members, but on Friday (AEST) NBA coaches ensured Simmons would play in the February 16 All-Star game in Chicago.

Simmons was included as one of the Eastern Conference's seven players coming off the bench.

It is the second consecutive year the Melbourne-born Philadelphia 76ers' star has made the All-Star game as a reserve and Jim Lynam, a former head coach of the Clippers and 76ers, believes the selection of Hawks guard Trae Young ahead of the Australian as a starter is a disgrace.

"It's not even close," Lynam told NBC Sports Philadelphia.

"I'll say it like I feel it, this is like comparing Mickey Mouse and Mickey Mantle (a baseball legend).

"I understand you excite the troops by what you do at the offensive end, but 50 per cent of the time is spent at the defensive end.

"Simmons is not only on the All-Defensive team, he's trying to be the best defensive player in the league - and I think he has a chance to win that award. A chance, I'm not saying he will win it.

"Trae Young is a liability on defence. Atlanta scores more points than the 76ers. Why are they one of the worst teams in the league? Because they can't guard. And where does that start? At the point position. If you can't guard at the point you can't guard, period."

The other Eastern reserves are: Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo and Domas Sabonis.

Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert, Brandon Ingram, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul are the Western Conference reserves.

The East's starters are: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pascal Siakam, Joel Embiid, Trae Young and Kemba Walker.

The West's starters are LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic and James Harden.

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons. Picture: Mary Altaffer/AP
Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons. Picture: Mary Altaffer/AP

Simmons' hopes of being a starter were decimated by the fan vote, which accounted for 50 per cent of the total.

Fans rated the Philadelphia 76ers' star as only the eighth best guard in the East, players ranked him fourth and the media third.

One of the biggest All-Star omissions this year was Australian-born Kyrie Irving.

The coaches snubbed the six-time All-Star as well as the Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker, Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal, San Antonio Spurs' DeMar DeRozan, and Chicago Bulls' Zach LaVine.

Paul George (Clippers) and Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves) were deemed not to have played enough games.

James and Antetokounmpo were named All-Star captains and will select their teams, choosing from either conference, in a draft-style selection event.


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