Forgotten Stars: NBA players you didn’t know made an All-Star team (Pt. 1)

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Being named an All-Star is one of the biggest dreams for most NBA players. And while we remember the great players who were regularly selected to the mid-year exhibition, there are also players who — for a variety of reasons — got selected only once and hardly made an imprint on our memories of the games.

Let us take a look at some of these players whom most of you may have forgotten were actually called All-Stars at one point in their respective careers.

Devin Harris (2009)

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With Devin Harris emerging as a starting-caliber player after a few seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, the New Jersey Nets traded for the young point guard with hopes of finding a centerpiece to their rebuild. And for one season at least, it looked like the Nets’ gamble with Harris was going to pay off. In his first full season in New Jersey, the point guard from the University of Wisconsin averaged 21.3 points, 6.9 assists, 3,3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals — numbers that were good enough to earn him an all-star selection (but not good enough to bring the Nets into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference). Unfortunately, that was by far the best it went for Harris and the Nets. After another season and a half of team futility, Harris was traded to the Utah Jazz.

Devin Harris currently plays as a back-up point guard for the Denver Nuggets, and has played for a total of five different teams in his career (and two different stints with Dallas). He has career averages of 11.1 points, 4.1 assists, and 2.1 rebounds.

Mo Williams (2009)

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Harris wasn’t the only first-time (and eventually one-time) Eastern Conference All-Star in 2009. Mo Williams also made the team that year, although as an injury replacement for Chris Bosh. Nonetheless, there were some mild complaints (mostly made by LeBron James) about him being snubbed on the team before the call-up.

During that 2008-2009 season, Mo Williams averaged 17.8 points, 4.1 assists, and 3.8 rebounds as LeBron James’ running-mate for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were on their way to finishing as the first seed in the Eastern Conference. But just like Devin Harris and the Nets, that was the best it got for Williams and the Cavs.

After another season and a half with the team (and after LeBron James’ infamous departure to the Miami Heat in 2010), Mo Williams was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. He has played for seven different teams throughout his career and last played in the NBA during the 2015-2016 season. Williams still hasn’t officially retired.

Kyle Korver (2015)

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When you think of an All-Star, you normally think of franchise players with astounding statistics who carry teams on their backs. Role players who fill a specific niche for a team aren’t supposed to be all-stars — especially not when they’ve been in the league for 13 years doing the same thing without even averaging more than 15 points per game. But that is precisely what happened to Kyle Korver when he was selected as an injury reserve to be an Eastern Conference All-Star during the 2015 season, becoming the fourth member of the historic Atlanta Hawks squad on the team, and becoming the fourth oldest first-time All-Star in NBA history.

Some may point to Korver’s selection as proof of the lack of talent in the Eastern Conference that year (maybe true), but it also signified the change in people’s perception of value in the NBA. No matter how many games his team had, and no matter how accurate he was in hitting from distance, there was no way that a player who averaged 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists was going to be an All-Star in previous years. But due to the shift in paradigm since the turn of the decade towards giving more value to efficiency, spacing, and everything about the three-pointer in general, Korver was able to become an All-Star.

Korver currently plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers and has career averages of 9.9 points, 3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting 44.4% from the field, and 43.1% from three-point territory.

Chris Kaman (2010)

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Chris Kaman has had a pretty solid, if unspectacular, NBA career. He was one of the better big men in the league for a few years (mostly due to the dearth of quality big men during that era), but his teams rarely won much and his game wasn’t the most marketable kind. Thus, Kaman has gone largely forgotten by most NBA fans. He hasn’t even officially retired from the NBA yet!

Nonetheless, during the 2009-2010 season, Kaman served as the focal point of the Los Angeles Clippers’ attack (again due to the lack of options) and averaged 18.5 points and 9.3 rebounds while bagging his first and only All-Star appearance along the way.

Kaman has averaged 11.2 points and 7.6 rebounds for his career so far. He has played for five different NBA teams throughout his career and last played during the 2015-2016 season with the Portland Trailblazers.

Mehmet Okur (2007)

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After winning a championship with the Detroit Pistons as a bench player, Mehmet Okur signed with the Utah Jazz in 2004 in hope of getting a more featured role. And a more featured role, Okur got.

With the Jazz, Okur blossomed into one of the best offensive big men in the league. At a time when most big men were expected to exclusively score from the inside, the 6’11 Okur was already letting the three balls fly. During the 2006-2007 season, Okur averaged 17.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2 assists, and 38.4% shooting from distance. He was selected to be part of the Western Conference All-Star team as an injury replacement to Steve Nash that season.

After a few more solid seasons with the Jazz, injuries limited Okur to only 30 games in two seasons and forced the Turkish big man to retire. He averaged 13.5 points, 7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists for his career.
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