The Starters for next month's All-Star Game have been announced, and you can bet every single blogger/expert/journalist/fan around is going to have something to say about it. And, after that's done, all will try and choose and/or guess who the reserves will be for each Conference. Since we're here, I might as well do just that too.
BC = Backcourt player (Guards)
FC = Frontcourt player (Forwards and Centers)
WC = Wild Card (last 2 reserve spots for each Conference)
BC. Kyrie Irving – Cleveland
BC. DeMar DeRozan – Toronto
FC. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee
FC. LeBron James – Cleveland
FC. Jimmy Bulter – Chicago
Some things to note:
- First, let me just say I'm happy Dwyane Wade did not get the nod over any of the two guards up there. I have nothing against Wade per se, but the fans were about to vote him over 4 or 5 guards who deserve this spot way more than he does. I don't know if he'll make the reserve team (spoiler: he doesn't on mine), but for now it feels right.
- For my money, Kyle Lowry should be starting over Kyrie (and DeMar, in a way), but having Kyrie there isn't really a problem either.
- Of course, the 76ers fan in me is a bit miffed that Embiid isn't starting, because I don't believe coaches will reward a 14-26 team with a reserve spot. But who knows, maybe they'll be impressed with his admittedly amazing stats and contributions (seriously, check the numbers with him on and off the court, it's staggering.)
- In other words, nobody on there wouldn't have made my All-Star Team, starter or reserve, so we're good.
For reserves now, here are my picks.
BC. Isaiah Thomas – Boston
BC. Kyle Lowry – Toronto
FC. Kevin Love – Cleveland
FC. Paul Millsap – Atlanta
FC. Joel Embiid – Philadelphia
WC. John Wall – Washington
WC. Kemba Walker – Charlotte
Yes, I did pick Embiid. Look, the Eastern Conference frontcourt choices are quite limited once you get past the starting 5. The one I can (and probably will) see taking his spot is Paul George. And even a 76ers fan like me would be OK with that, you can bet Embiid is going to make tons of ASGs in his career anyway, and rookies making it is a very rare occurrence.
BC. James Harden – Houston
BC. Stephen Curry – Golden State
FC. Kevin Durant – Golden State
FC. Anthony Davis – New Orleands
FC. Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio
Some things to note:
- The frontcourt is as anyone would have expected, really. Nothing remotely surprising or upsetting here.
- However, the backcourt choices created quite a controversy by omitting the guy who is averaging 30-10-10, Russell Westbrook. It's a silly thing for sure (blame the fans for that one), but he'll make the game anyway. And Steph would have made it as well, so in the end all will be good.
For reserves now, here are my picks:
BC. Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City
BC. Chris Paul – L.A. Clippers
FC. Draymond Green – Golden State
FC. DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento
FC. Marc Gasol – Memphis
WC. Rudy Gobert – Utah
WC. Gordon Hayward – Utah
I'm well aware that Chris Paul will miss this game, and that's why I left Mike Conley off this list. The Memphis guard should make this All-Star Game, no doubt about it. However, I think it's likely that that spot will go to Klay, therefore giving the Warriors a foursome on the team. That wouldn't surprise me at all, given that I actually wrote Klay Thompson in a wild card spot before changing my mind and picking two Jazz players. The odd one out here for coaches is Cousins, who plays for a well-below-.500 team, usually a bad omen for All-Star reserves. But his insane numbers should trump that, one would think.
I'm quite sure that I will have missed some of these "predictions" (they're more my choices than predictions, but you get the point) come Jan. 26th, but I feel good about these choices.