Mike Conley thinks this could be the year.
After more than a decade as one of the NBA’s premier point guards, the 33-year-old who is often called the league’s best player to never make an All-Star game hopes this is the year he finally sheds that distinction.
“That would mean the world to me obviously,” Conley said Friday. “It would say a lot about me as a person. After the year I had last year, to come back and compete at the level I’m competing at—I do feel like I’ve played well enough to be in that conversation and, quite frankly, be one of those reserves.”
Most anyone who has watched the first-place Utah Jazz this season would have to agree.
Conley is averaging nearly 15 points and 5.7 assists per game. He is shooting 37.7 percent from 3. And he has led the league in plus-minus for most of the season.
“In my opinion, he should be an All-Star,” Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell said. “I’m praying he is. He definitely deserves it.”
“Shouldn’t even be a debate,” Rudy Gobert tweeted Friday night.
— Jordan Clarkson (@JordanClarksons) February 20, 2021
Conley’s impact on the Jazz has been undeniable.
And it took only a few seconds on Friday night for the veteran point guard to showcase that, as he reintegrated into the team’s starting lineup after missing six games with a hamstring injury. The point guard walked into a 3 for the team’s first bucket of the game and followed that up with a floater on the next possession. When the Clippers went on an early 10-0 run, it was Conley who ended it with a bucket.
How nice was it to have Conley back on the floor?
“Did you see the start of the game?” Mitchell asked when posed that question. “Man, it’s great to have Mike. He’s someone who can come out there and have 7, 9 and five assists just like that. We missed his presence for sure. We missed his game.”
Conley has worked hard to get back on the court over the past two weeks.
“It was great to finally get to be let off the leash, I like to say,” Conley said after the game. “I’ve been waiting for a while to play. I’m just really happy to be back.”
He’d be happier still to hear his named called as one of the West’s All-Star reserves next week.
“This year, everything is falling into place,” he said. “We have the best record. We have our coach coaching the game. It’s all falling in line. If it’s not going to happen this year, that will be tough.”