There is no formula for picking the NBA All-Star reserves. Sometimes it’s about winning, sometimes it’s about gaudy numbers. The coaches who make the selections try to do a good job of mixing both philosophies together to present a list of players that makes sense. Favoritism still plays a part, or in some cases the lack thereof (Josh Smith the last two years) in their selections.
Here are our selections for reserves in both conferences with brief reasoning as to why.
John Wall,Washington Wizards: Has improved in both scoring and assists while his team is in the playoff hunt. Can’t deny him this selection.
Lance Stephenson, Indiana Pacers: Hard to deny what he has done on the East’s best team. If Miami gets three players, the Pacers should get three players.
Chris Bosh, Miami Heat: Probably his most deserving year in a while. He’s been consistent while Wade has been in and out of the lineup all year.
Roy Hibbert,Indiana Pacers: As dominate a defender as there is in the league. Statistics alone don’t support his selection but he is a virtual lock as a reserve.
Joakim Noah,Chicago Bulls: He has lost what little mind he had left since Luol Deng was traded. Posting lofty numbers and keeping the Bulls competitive in the East.
Paul Millsap,Atlanta Hawks: Quietly chugging along and powering Atlanta’s somewhat surprising season. Has been dominate since Al Horford’s injury.
Our Eastern Snubs:
- Kyle Lowry of the Raptors probably has just as strong a case to be on the roster as DeRozan but no way both players make it and DeRozan has been slightly more noticeable.
- Jeff Teague started off hot for the Hawks but has cooled in recent weeks while Millsap has flourished.
- Andre Drummond would probably make it if there was one extra spot on the roster. His lofty rebounding stats and growth make him very deserving. He misses it by virtue of being on a bad team (and the fact that Bosh has to make it)
- Al Jefferson had an injury that slowed him mightily to begin the year. Yes the Bobcats are improved and he has been very good, but he turned things on a little too late for serious consideration.
- Aaron Afflalo is having a breakout season but on one of the worst teams in the league. Even in a weakened conference it’s hard to give him more than courtesy consideration for a spot.
- Joe Johnson is almost in the same boat as Jefferson. It took him so long to turn things around and it’s hard to justify his spot due to three weeks of good play.
WESTERN CONFERENCE (Edited at 11am 1/30/14)
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers: His injury puts him on the borderline here, but he was dominant before going down. He could be back by the break which will assuredly make him a selection by the coaches.
James Harden,Houston Rockets: Isn’t making as strong a case as he did last year but how do you leave him off the roster?
LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trial Blazers: As good a big as there is in the game. Should finish top 5 in MVP voting if the voters have any sense. Another lock.
Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets: In a stunning development was surpassed by Kevin Love as the final starter in West. Has had a bounce back season and as long as two Spurs don’t have to make it by the coaches account, he should be fine.
Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs: He will be happy if he isn’t selected so that he can rest. But for some sort of equity he or Parker have to be there and with the Suns also deserving of a selection…Parker gets the boot and Duncan gets the nod.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers: Outside of Wall he is probably the best young guard that hasn’t made an All-Star team. Yes, I know he’s only in his second year. Great player on a great team.
Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns: If justice is served “The Dragon” will make the roster. Most people picked the Suns to be at the bottom of the West (I know I did) and they are holding a playoff spot. Dragic has held the fort down while running mate Eric Bledsoe has been sidelined. The fact Phoenix hasn’t slipped is largely attributed to Dragic’s play. With Kobe Bryant ruled all but out, Dragic should sneak in as a replacement as Harden, Paul, or Lillard move into a starter’s position.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks: He will probably be on the roster due to his history and very solid bounce back season. This would also align with the rewarding winning theory as the Mavericks are in the playoff hunt currently.
Our Western Snubs
- DeMarcus Cousins has matured under the tutelage of Shaquille O’Neal. His numbers are best center in the game worthy but the Kings just don’t win enough games.
- Anthony Davis could sneak on with the sympathy vote being a player on the host city’s team. His numbers are deserving but who would he replace?
- Tony Parker could be swapped out for Duncan to give the Spurs a deserving representative. It’s a hard sell if they both make it because their numbers are down but their wins are still up near the top of the conference.
- DeAndre Jordan is a guy that is right on the cusp as well. The league’s leading rebounder just has too much competition in his conference.
- Russell Westbrook was balling but has missed so much time that he can’t earn a spot and he might not be back in time for the game anyway.
- David Lee falls into the category of just not enough spots to go around. His numbers are better than both potential Spurs but GSW isn’t at the top of their division or conference.
- Ty Lawson is going to have hard time ever making this team with the talented guards in the conference. He would need multiple injuries to occur to ever get serious consideration.