As far as coach Rick Carlisle is concerned, the wrong player is representing the Dallas Mavericks in the All-Star Game.
Dallas power forward Dirk Nowitzki was the final All-Star selection, getting picked by commissioner Adam Silver as an injury replacement for Anthony Davis late Wednesday night. The Mavs had lobbied for shooting guard Monta Ellis.
"Let's be honest: [Ellis] should be at the All-Star Game and Dirk should be home," Carlisle said Friday on ESPN's "The Afternoon Show with Cowlishaw and Mosley" on 103.3 FM. "That's the way this should be going. I'm assuming they go by the vote count. Dirk may have had one more vote than Monta or something like that, but Monta Ellis should be in the All-Star Game."
Nowitzki, a 17-year veteran who is making his 13th All-Star Game appearance, is averaging 18.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Nowitzki, 36, was eagerly anticipating having a full week to rest and relax with his family during the All-Star break, acknowledging in a team news release that the selection "threw a little bit of a wrench into my plans, but I am very excited."
Ellis, a 10-year veteran, has never been an All-Star despite a career average of 19.4 points per game. He leads the Mavs with 19.8 points per game this season and is averaging 4.5 assists.
Ellis also leads the league in clutch points with 104, using NBA.com's definition of "clutch," which is the final five minutes of a game with the score within five points.
"If it continues like this, he may be known as the best player that never made an All-Star Game," Carlisle said. "He is that good. But I really do believe down the road, he's got a lot more chances to get in there. He's that good and he's getting better. At age 29, his skill level continues to rise, his recognition of situations is better, and so on and so forth.
"But I'm really disappointed that he's not there because this was his year to be there after all the things that he's done. He's leading the team in minutes played and points, and he's made more big shots down the stretch of games than anybody on the team.
"Dirk's made a lot, too. Dirk is certainly deserving, don't get me wrong. But Monta, this was his time to be there."