Coaches snub Goran Dragic; Heat only team among top eight in Eastern Conference without an All-Star

Barring an injury replacement, for the second consecutive season the Miami Heat will not have a player on the All-Star team. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper)

MIAMI – Goran Dragic was prepared for this.

“If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” Dragic said last week when asked about his chances of being named an All-Star for the first time in his 10-year career.

“If not, I’m going to go on vacation with my family. Both ways I win-win.”

Well, the Dragics are going on a family vacation and Goran already is in the planning stages, having tweeted an emoji of a palm tree on an island after he was snubbed.

Dragic learned Tuesday he was not among the seven reserves named to round out the Eastern Conference All-Star team by the coaches.

Those spots went to big men Al Horford of Boston, Kristaps Porzingis of New York and Kevin Love of Cleveland; along with guards Bradley Beal and John Wall of Washington, Victor Oladipo of Indiana and Kyle Lowry of Toronto.

The Eastern Conference starters, as voted by the fans, media and players, are: Cleveland’s LeBron James, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, Boston’s Kyrie Irving and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid.

Barring a replacement because of injury, which would be chosen by Commissioner Adam Silver, this is the second consecutive year the Heat will go without an All-Star after a string of 12 consecutive seasons with at least one All-Star, 11 of those with at least one starter.

But this fits the Heat’s identity; a starless team in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, one reason, they will say, this team has been able to overcome an excessive amount of injuries the past two seasons. Miami has won 16 of its past 23 games to push its record to 27-20.

Miami is the only team among the top eight in the Eastern Conference and the only team among the top eight in the NBA without an All-Star. Washington, a game behind the Heat, is sending its starting backcourt.

Dragic was the Heat’s only realistic candidate. A year ago, many believed center Hassan Whiteside had a shot to make his first All-Star team but he, too, was denied by the coaches. Although he is playing better of late, Whiteside’s numbers have dipped in a season in which he also has missed 18 games because of injuries.

Dragic is averaging 17.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists while shooting 43.7 percent. His numbers do not stack up to many of the All-Stars, but he has been a leader and the most consistent player on a Heat team that has surged to the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference, just a game behind No. 3 Cleveland.

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