Jimmy Butler, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul headline All-Star Game reserves
You picked the NBA All-Star Game starters. (Well, you fans along with the players and some media members, just as a check to make sure Alex Caruso and Tacko Fall didn’t get in the starting five.)
The coaches picked the reserves, and they went with a mix of old and deserving first-time All-Stars. The coaches had to vote on seven All-Star reserves from each conference, and here is who they picked (in alphabetical order):
• Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
• Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat)
• Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
• Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans)
• Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
• Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
• Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
• Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
• Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
• Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder)
• Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers)
• Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
• Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
• Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets)
There are six first-time All-Stars in that group: Gobert, Ingram, Mitchell, Adebayo, Sabonis, and Tatum. There also were three first-time All-Stars among the starters: Luka Doncic, Trae Young, and Pascal Siakam.
In case you forgot, here are the starters.
Guard: Luka Doncic (Dallas)
Guard: James Harden (Houston)
Frontcourt: LeBron James (L.A. Lakers)
Frontcourt: Anthony Davis (L.A. Lakers)
Frontcourt: Kawhi Leonard (L.A. Clippers)
Guard: Trae Young (Atlanta)
Guard: Kemba Walker (Boston)
Frontcourt: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee)
Frontcourt: Pascal Siakam (Toronto)
Frontcourt: Joel Embiid (Philadelphia)
At the top of the list of players who have the right to feel snubbed are Paul George (L.A. Clippers), Devin Booker (Phoenix), Bradley Beal (Washington), Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana), Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota), and Jaylen Brown (Boston). However, to say one of those guys belongs in means removing one of the players selected from the same conference, (which makes it tougher.)
Injuries to players slated to play — Doncic sprained his ankle in practice today and will have an MRI tomorrow — will open up a handful of roster spots, like always, and some of these “snubs” will get in.
Fan votes made LeBron and Antetokounmpo the team captains for the second consecutive year. Next week (shown on TNT), those two will select their teams in a playground-style draft. First, they will choose from the pool of starters, then from the pool of 14 reserves.
Those teams will play an All-Star Game in a new format (which includes a Kobe Bryant tribute). Each of the first three quarters will start with a 0-0 score, and the team winning that quarter gets more money for select charities. Then after three quarters, the teams’ scores will be added up, and whichever has the higher total, then 24 points will be added to that as a target score and the first team to that number wins. (The 24 was chosen to honor Kobe, as he wore that number.) Confusing? Sure. Here’s an example: If after three quarters Team LeBron leads 150-149, then the “target score” becomes 174 and the first team to that number wins the All-Star Game.
(It’s an attempt by the league to make a flagging actual All-Star Game more interesting. Will it work? Who knows, but it can’t be much more boring than the last few games.)