Michael Conley Jr. was taken with the 4th overall pick in the 2007 draft landing him in Memphis. It was that moment when Conley would start his journey to eventually become one of the greatest Grizzlies of all time. Conley ranks 1st for the Grizzlies in all-time games, points, assists, steals, and 3-point field goals. He also ranks 2nd for the Grizz in all-time field goals and minutes. It’s pretty safe to say that he has engraved his name in the Grizzlies’ Hall of Fame.
Though, there was one thing that he never managed to accomplish in his time in Memphis: playing in the All-Star Game. But that all changed this year in his second year with the Utah Jazz.
After thirteen, long years of not making the All-Star game, Mike Conley got to play in this year’s game as an injury replacement for Devin Booker. Unfortunately, he won’t be representing Memphis where he likely will be remembered, but in no way does that take away his accomplishments for that franchise. As an added bonus, he also competed in the three-point contest where he placed 2nd only to Stephen Curry.
He was joined by two of his fellow Utah Jazz teammates, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, and is averaging 16 points and 6 assists on 44% field goal and 46% 3 point field goal shooting splits. This wasn’t his best year statistically, as his prime was back in his Memphis days, but they’re still extremely respectable numbers and this seems to be the best team he’s played for.
In his best season of his career, Conley averaged 21 points and 6.5 assists a game, to go along with a steal and a half a game. He’s had 7 seasons so far where he averaged over 15 points a game and only one season in his entire career where he didn’t average double digits in scoring.
His consistency in his game largely contributed to 7 straight playoff appearances for the Grizz. Although those teams often didn’t get that far into the playoffs, the NBA world was witnessing a star developing alongside the leading guys in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
But the question is: Why did Mike Conley never make the All-Star game? The main reason is that he played in a Western Conference that was astronomically more talented than the East. What also contributed to him not making the all-star game is the fact that he played for a very small market team.
For example, Draymond Green made 3 straight All-Star games in the same years Conley averaged 15, 20, and 17. With all due respect to Draymond Green, there is absolutely no way he deserved to be in the All-Star Game all 3 years. Not only because his stats weren’t up to par with the snubs like Conley, but his style of play is in no way All-Star caliber.
If Mike Conley were to play in the East, he definitely would have made the All-Star team. Guards like Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver somehow made the team. Let’s be honest, the only reason Korver, Teague, and their teammate Al Horford got voted in is because they were on a team that was atop the Conference at the time which also why Green made it 3 times.
But finally, at the age of 33, Michael Alex Conley Jr. got the respect and recognition he deserved. But of course with every All-Star selection comes the talks of the snubs. Many this year believed that Mike Conley didn’t deserve to be selected because he is not putting up high stats.
Instead, there were talks of putting guys like DeMar DeRozan or Brandon Ingram, who are having much better seasons than Conley, as the injury replacement for Booker. However, this is also redemption for Conley’s snubs as he benefits from his team being the best in the league despite being the third-best player. So while many were upset that players like Green, Horford, and Korver all made the All-Star team, Conley made it for the same reason too now.
I’m not going to get into all the individual statistics or who should’ve made it or who shouldn’t have made it. But what I will say is that Mike Conley’s selection to the All-Star game was way overdue even if this isn’t his most impressive season.