For the 21st consecutive season, the San Antonio Spurs will have a player represent the franchise in the upcoming All-Star Game.
That player, however, won't be DeMar DeRozan. It'll instead be LaMarcus Aldridge, who was voted in by the league's coaches on Thursday as one of the Western Conference's seven reserves.
MORE: Biggest snubs for the All-Star Game
DeRozan was named a starter to last season's All-Star Game and is posting similar numbers this season - on one of the better teams in the league, no less - so why didn't he make the cut?
Let's take a closer look at the argument for and against the four-time All-Star.
The argument for DeRozan
DeRozan has cooled off since looking like a legitimate MVP candidate, but he's still having a terrific all-around season. He currently leads the Spurs in scoring (21.4) and assists (6.2) while trailing only Aldridge and Rudy Gay in rebounds (6.3).
That makes DeRozan one of 11 players to average at least 20.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game this season. Luka Doncic is the only other player from that list to not be named an All-Star.
The assists are a side of DeRozan's game that we haven't really seen before. He averaged 5.2 per game last season, but Kyle Lowry was still the Toronto Raptors' leading assist man. This season for the Spurs, DeRozan has been their primary creator, a role he took on when San Antonio's starting point guard, Dejounte Murray, went down in the preseason with a torn ACL.
The Raptors of all teams got a close look at the new and improved DeRozan in Kawhi Leonard's return to San Antonio on Jan. 3. In 33 minutes of action, DeRozan led the Spurs to a blowout win over his former team with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, his first career triple-double.
That game was one of 17 this season that DeRozan has dished out eight or more assists. According to Basketball-Reference, he had 15 such games in his final season with the Raptors and a combined 19 in the first eight years of his career.
Considering the Spurs lost Murray to injury, Tony Parker to free agency and Manu Ginobili to retirement before the season began, DeRozan deserves a lot of credit for changing his game in a way that has helped the Spurs remain in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.
The argument against DeRozan
As our Micah Adams detailed earlier in the week, the Spurs have been two different teams this season.
The first is the one that started out flat and had a losing record through 25 games, putting them at risk of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1996-97.
The second is the one that has since turned it around, to the point where they now have the fifth-best record in the Western Conference, with only 1.5 games separating them from the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 4.
Statistically speaking, Aldridge has been the more impactful player of the two during that stretch.
In addition to his numbers being better across the board, the Spurs have outscored opponents by 7.4 points per 100 possessions with Aldridge on the floor compared to 3.4 with DeRozan over the last couple of months.
There's an even greater difference when only one of them is out there. Whereas the Spurs have a net rating of 12.9 with Aldridge in the lineup and DeRozan on the bench, it falls to -1.0 with DeRozan on the court and Aldridge on the sideline.
Neither of them spends much time playing without the other, but it's those impact numbers that help Aldridge's case.
DeRozan also faces stiffer competition as his position than Aldridge does. Russell Westbrook is averaging a triple-double for the third straight season, Damian Lillard has been arguably the third-best guard in the Western Conference this season and Klay Thompson has long been one of the league's best two-way players.
It doesn't get much easier when you look at other backcourt players who were snubbed either - Jamal Murray, Donovan Mitchell and Luka Doncic to name a few - plus frontcourt players like Rudy Gobert and Tobias Harris, both of whom have been a huge reason for their respective team's success this season.
The West is loaded with All-Star calibre players and that's a big reason why many believed DeRozan's days of being an All-Star were over when he was traded from the East.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.