Santa Cruz Warriors guard Travis Leslie was named to the NBA D-League All-Star team on Thursday, becoming the first Santa Cruz player to earn such a recognition.
All is right in the world.
The Warriors were initially shut out of All-Star selections, despite owning the fourth-best record in the league. The 16 coaches selected the two teams, which are made up of 10 players each between the Futures and Prospect teams.
Leslie, along with Texas’ Justin Dentmon, replaces Austin’s Cory Joseph and Rio Grande Valley’s Andrew Goudelock, both of whom were unable to play due to injury.
Leslie will play on the Prospects Team. The D-League All-Star Game will take place in Houston at the NBA All-Star Jam Session on Saturday. The game will air live on NBA TV at noon.
It seemed like Leslie might be a shoo-in for the All-Star game — or, at the very least, someone from the Warriors. But the team was instead shut out when the league announced rosters earlier this month.
The problem is, the All-Star rosters are loaded. 20 players, 14 of whom have NBA experience. There were several players who were snubbed.
Leslie’s chances of making the team on the first chance may have been hurt when he was sidelined for several games due to injury, too. But here’s the criteria for selection, according to the D-League: “Players were eligible to be selected based on having played in half of their team’s games through Jan. 27. Each player must be on an active NBA D-League roster at the time of the NBA D-League All-Star Game in order to compete.”
This nixes Chris Johnson from the situation. It also opens it up to players like Shelvin Mack, who is currently on the Maine Red Claws but has seemingly played more games at the NBA level than at the D-League level.
Some might say that defeats the purpose of a D-League All-Star game, while the NBA probably views it as way to draw names that the public might be more familiar with.
Whatever it is, it shows the type of talent that is playing in the D-League right now, and shows just how difficult it is to be selected to the All-Star game in the first place.