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Does Mike Conley turn his All-Star snub into playoff fuel?

Will the rise of Mike Conley just be fueled further by his All-Star snub? Did the NBA just awake a sleeping mini-giant?

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone has different takes on Mike Conley's season and how it relates to his qualifications as an NBA All-Star. It's snubbery, no doubt. It happens every year. (Marc Gasol should have more than 1 by now.)

I'm personally fine with it because of the heavy load that Conley has had to carry this season. Five days off in Memphis (or wherever Mike chooses to go) is a lot different than one day off followed by three days of partying in New Orleans and then 1 day off to recover. Not that Mike would be downing shots and swinging on poles, but you know what I mean.

I can also understand why some people really want this for Mike, and I suppose it's still possible with Kobe Bryant inevitably backing out. If you've watched every game Conley has played this season then this sentiment is fortified with some emotion, emotion that Conley has been showing more of this season. He gets angry, jubilant sometimes. His new aggression also embodies some of that passion. Mike has that will to win that allows him to sometimes transcend the court and just play better than everyone else out there.


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And that idea leads me to what I really care about here. We've long realized that Conley would likely get snubbed from an All Star spot, even while watching him play at this incredible level. What I want to know now is just how far Mike Conley can take this seemingly alternate personality he's developed this season. Could he possible get even better in the last 3 months of the season?

The exponential liftoff I'm really looking for from Conley could very well end up being quite dependent on Dave Joerger's ability to spell him playing time over the next month. (*Painfully smiling at Nick Calathes while crossing my fingers and nodding my head.) Looking at February, outside of OKC sandwiching the month there's not a lot else that scares you outside of a Friday night home game vs. the Clippers. This would be a fantastic month for Marc Gasol to carry the load and get his higher level rhythm into a groove, allowing for Mike Conley to play at a rate that allows his core battery to recharge.

From what I can tell of Mike Conley, I imagine he probably doesn't give more than a two, three, maybe even just one flip about making the All-Star team. Mike's been under a harsh microscope his entire career and being driven off of praise and recognition doesn't seem like the likely mindset for a shyer kind of fellow who knows he's better than everyone else anyway.

Conley wants to win. He wants what we all want: to get back to the Western Conference Finals and have a shot and winning the whole diddly-dang-thing. (Sorry, I just went a little Flanders on you there.) And I bet that Mike Conley isn't thinking about missing out on the All-Star weekend. I bet he's immersed in figuring out how to shut down Ricky Rubio and get the Grizzlies to 25-20.

The Grindmaster from last edition (at Blazers) was Mike Conley.

  1. Game Score and Winner (correct predictions receive 3 points, if no correct predictions, 1 point awarded to member(s) with closest differential)
  2. The Grindmaster (3 points awarded to correct predictions; if Grindmaster title is split between 2 or more players, 2 points go to each member who predicted one of those players)
  3. Combined total of steals and rebounds for Mike Conley (3 points awarded to correct predictions; 1 point awarded to the member(s) closest without going over)
  4. True or False: Mike Conley will attempt (5) five or more three-point shots (3 points awarded to correct predictions; 0 points awarded to incorrect predictions)

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