The NBA All-Star Starters have been announced, but which players among the best of the rest should represent their teams in Atlanta?
Happy Tuesday! After months of voting, the 2021 NBA All-Star starters were revealed last Thursday. Tonight, the All-Star rosters will fill out as the seven reserves will be announced on TNT ahead of their doubleheader broadcast. Unlike starters voting, the league’s coaches get to make these choices.
So I figured that much like I did with my starter picks last week, I would give you my reserves selections ahead of the reveal. There were a lot of tough decisions to make, but that just speaks to the amazing talent across the Association!
Which players do you think should be All-Star Reserves? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know!
My All-Star Reserve Selections
|Western Conference||Eastern Conference|
|Backcourt||Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers||James Harden, Nets|
|Backcourt||Donovan Mitchell, Jazz||Zach LaVine, Bulls|
|Frontcourt||Paul George, Clippers||Jayson Tatum, Celtics|
|Frontcourt||Anthony Davis, Lakers||Julius Randle, Knicks|
|Frontcourt||Rudy Gobert, Jazz||Domantas Sabonis, Pacers|
|Wildcard||Chris Paul, Suns||Ben Simmons, 76ers|
|Wildcard||DeMar DeRozan, Spurs||Jaylen Brown, Celtics|
Harden, LaVine, and Lillard are my holdovers from the Starters ballot. From there, I wanted to reward the top players from the Top 8 teams in each conference. That was easy enough in the Western Conference. The official conference starters coupled with my reserve picks give each team in the Top 3 two players. From there, each team from the fourth through ninth seed have one representative. Symmetry.
It would have been nice to fit Zion Williamson in there. Williamson is having a monster year, averaging 25.1 points (on 61.6 percent shooting!), 6.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. Unfortunately, the Pelicans are 11th in the West, so I felt compelled to pass him up for top performers on better teams.
The Eastern Conference, however, wasn’t so cut-and-dried. On this side of the map, a lot of the teams are still in playoff contention, and their efforts are propelled by great individual performances. I really tried to balance high production and conference standing when making these picks. I’m happy with the results, but I inevitably left some good players out.
Combining the official starters and my reserve picks, the Nets Big Three all make it, of course. However, the 76ers, the East’s top team has just two representatives. I wish there was a way to get Tobias Harris on the list, but I couldn’t work it out. The Bucks, the third place team, has just Giannis and no reserves. However, this wasn’t a tough choice for me, as I haven’t been impressed by Khris Middleton this year.
I narrowly chose Domantas Sabonis over Nikola Vucevic because the Pacers are fourth in the East and the Magic are 12th (though their records are just three games apart). Unfortunately, I couldn’t extend that grace to the Raptors. Pascal Siakam may be the leading scorer for the fifth place team, and Fred VanVleet may be an amazing player that can scorch the nets. However, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, despite being on the team behind them in the standings, have thoroughly outplayed the duo from Tampa.
The last spots in the East instead go to Julius Randle and Zach LaVine, two players having career seasons and putting their squads firmly in the playoff picture for the first time in awhile. Randle is averaging 23.2 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game while LaVine is posting 28.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game. Those are all career-high numbers for these gentlemen. If these two weren’t having the years of their lives, I would have been more willing to give the nod to VanVleet and Siakam. Trae Young has also been on a tear for Atlanta, but his team is 11th in the East.
It will be interesting to see how my picks align with the coaches that see and play against these players on a daily basis. Will they value the same things I do, will they lean more towards individual performance, or will they give more love to the top teams? I can’t wait to find out tonight!