The fans have had their say and now we’ll be forced to watch Black Mamba in one more NBA All-Star Game (Feb. 14 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto).
Thankfully, the fan vote only gets to decide the starters. When it comes to reserves, the popularity contest becomes a merit pageant.
The All-Star Game head coaches will each pick another seven standouts (three frontcourt players, two backcourt players, and two “wild cards”) to round out their teams.
Unlike the NHL, the NBA doesn’t mandate that every team gets an All-Star representative. (That would be awfully hard with 30 teams and only 24 All-Stars). So coaches are free to choose the seven most deserving guys, and fans will get an entire weekend free from any hint of a 76er!
It’s a win-win!
Who is going to get the nod for each conference? In the West, a couple of Warriors look like locks (Klay Thompson and Draymond Green), and it’s going to be awfully hard to leave James Harden (second in the league in scoring, ninth in assists) off the team, even though the Rockets got off to a rough start.
Out East, Andre Drummond better get an invite, given his sheer dominance on the glass (15.4 boards per game). “Jimmy Buckets” (22.5 PPG, 5.4 RPG) has been the go-to guy for the Bulls, who sit third in the conference. And Isaiah Thomas (21.7 PPG, 6.6 APG) would be a worthy candidate on a Celtics team that continues to surpass expectations.
Before we get to the numbers, here’s a reminder on your ASG starters.
- Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers)
- Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors)
- Kevin Durant (OKC Thunder)
- Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs)
- Russell Westbrook (OKC Thunder)
- Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
- Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
- LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
- Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)
Odds to be named a reserve NBA All-Star:
- Draymond Green (F, Golden State Warriors): 2/7
- Chris Paul (G, LA Clippers): 1/3
- Klay Thompson (G, Golden State Warriors): 2/3
- Demarcus Cousins (F, Sacramento Kings): 2/3
- James Harden (G, Houston Rockets): 1/1
- Blake Griffin (F, LA Clippers): 1/1
- Anthony Davis (F, New Orleans Pelicans): 6/5
- Dirk Nowitzki (F, Dallas Mavericks): 7/5
- Damian Lillard (G, Portland Trail Blazers): 2/1
- Tony Parker (G, San Antonio Spurs): 5/2
- DeAndre Jordan (F, LA Clippers): 3/1
- LaMarcus Aldridge (F, San Antonio Spurs): 7/2
- Gordon Hayward (F, Utah Jazz): 5/1
- Jimmy Butler (G, Chicago Bulls): 1/3
- Andre Drummond (F, Detroit Pistons): 1/3
- Demar Derozan (G, Toronto Raptors): 5/6
- Paul Millsap (F, Atlanta Hawks): 1/1
- Isaiah Thomas (G, Boston Celtics): 5/4
- Chris Bosh (F, Miami Heat): 4/3
- Pau Gasol (F, Chicago Bulls): 2/1
- John Wall (G, Washington Wizards): 2/1
- Al Horford (F, Atlanta Hawks): 5/2
- Kyrie Irving (G, Cleveland Cavaliers): 5/2
- Nicolas Batum (F, Charlotte Hornets): 3/1
- Brook Lopez (F, Brooklyn Nets): 4/1
- Reggie Jackson (G, Detroit Pistons): 5/1
(Photo credit: Verse Photography (Flickr: 20131118 ClippersvGrizzles41) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)