- East Reserves: Paul George, Kevin Love, Kyle Lowry, Paul Millsap, Isaiah Thomas, Kemba Walker, John Wall
- West Reserves: DeMarcus Cousins, Marc Gasol, Draymond Green, Gordon Hayward, DeAndre Jordan, Klay Thompson, Russell Westbrook
- Official release
- 2017 All-Star Roster
That seems to be the message from the coaches who selected the reserves for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers each lead the Western and Eastern Conferences, and today we learned they will get a combined seven players in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.
And it wasn't just them: Every player among the All-Star reserves named plays for a team currently in playoff contention. The starters for the 66th NBA All-Star Game, which will be played Sunday, Feb. 19, in New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center, were selected after voting by fans, players and select media members, while the seven reserves for each conference were selected by a vote from each conference's coaches.
Golden State's Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry made the starting lineup, and Thursday their Warriors teammates Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were each selected as Western Conference reserves. After making his All-Star debut a season ago, Green will return this year, averaging 10.7 points, along with a team-leading 8.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists. Heading south along with Green will be Klay Thompson, the sharp-shooting guard who is averaging 21.1 points for the NBA-best 39-7 Warriors.
If there were anyone who was a lock to make the All-Star reserves, it was Russell Westbrook. Although Westbrook finished first among Western Conference guards in voting from media and current players, he finished third in fan voting, which kept him from the starting five. Through his first 46 games this season, the electrifying Oklahoma City point guard is averaging a league-leading 30.7 points, plus 10.4 assists and 10.7 rebounds. If Westbrook is able to sustain those averages, he'd be the first player to average a triple-double over an entire season since Oscar Robertson in 1962.
In the Western Conference frontcourt, Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins has had a pretty good 24 hours: Last night, his Kings won in overtime against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Thursday Cousins was named to his third All-Star team. While his personality has remained as volatile as ever -- Cousins is leading the league with 14 technical fouls -- he's also averaging a career-best 28 points along with 10.3 boards per game. Memphis center Marc Gasol will make his third All-Star appearance, and first since 2015. In 45 games this season, Gasol is averaging a career-best 20.6 points, while shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Two Western Conference players will make their All-Star debuts. Clippers guard Chris Paul is out with a hand injury, and Blake Griffin recently returned following knee surgery, but Clippers center DeAndre Jordan hasn't missed a game this season. Jordan was selected by coaches to make his first All-Star appearance. Jordan is averaging 12.5 points, and leads the NBA with 14 rebounds. Utah's Gordon Hayward will make his All-Star debut in his seventh NBA season. After missing the first six games of the season with a hand injury, Hayward has averaged a career-best 21.8 points since for the Jazz, who are 29-18 thus far.
The Eastern Conference will field a deep backcourt behind starters DeMar DeRozan and Kyrie Irving. Toronto's Kyle Lowry missed making the Eastern Conference starting lineup despite averaging a career-best 22.4 points, as well as 6.9 assists for the 28-18 Toronto Raptors. After being named a reserve, this will be Lowry's third All-Star appearance. Boston's Isaiah Thomas led in the media voting among Eastern Conference guards and finished second in player voting, but a fourth place finish among fans meant he missed out on the chance to start. Thomas, who will be making his second All-Star appearance, is averaging 29.1 points, second only to Westbrook and first among all Eastern Conference players. After a slow start, John Wall's Washington Wizards are currently one of the NBA's hottest teams, winning nine of their last 11 games. Wall, a three-time former All-Star, is averaging a career best 23.1 points and a league-leading 2.2 steals. Rounding out the Eastern Conference backcourt will be Charlotte's Kemba Walker, making his All-Star debut in his sixth season. Walker is averaging 23 points for the 23-23 Hornets, and shooting a career-best 41 percent from the 3-point line.
In the Eastern Conference frontcourt, Indiana's Paul George was rewarded with his fourth All-Star appearance. Although the Pacers have struggled to find their groove in the first half of the season, George is averaging 22.2 points. Paul Millsap, who will make his fourth All-Star appearance, is averaging a career-best 18 points for the Atlanta Hawks, who at 27-19 are just four games out of the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland's Kevin Love joins his teammates LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, who are in the Eastern Conference starting lineup. Love, a three-time former All-Star, is playing his best basketball since joining the Cavs, averaging 20.5 points and 11 rebounds.
As always, arguments will crop up around the players left out. In the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia's Joel Embiid finished third in fan voting among Eastern Conference frontcourt players, but couldn't crack the starting five, and the coaches didn't select him for a spot among the All-Star reserves. Embiid, who is averaging 19.8 points for the 17-27 Sixers, would have been the first rookie selected as an All-Star reserve since Blake Griffin in 2011. Hassan Whiteside has averaged 16.9 points and 13.9 rebounds for the Miami Heat, but their 16-30 record likely didn't help his cause. After being named an All-Star for the previous nine consecutive seasons, New York's Carmelo Anthony didn't make the cut this season despite averaging 22.7 points. Neither did Anthony's 21-year-old teammate Kristaps Porzingis, who is averaging 18.8 points and 7.1 rebounds in his second NBA season.
In the Western Conference, the disappointment will continue for Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, who has never made an All-Star team in his 10 NBA seasons. This year, Conley is averaging a career-best 18.6 points, along with 6.2 assists, but a glut of top guards in the Western Conference creates something of a bottleneck. Also stuck in that traffic jam is Portland guard Damian Lillard, a two-time former All-Star who is averaging 26.2 points, third-best among guards in the Western Conference. San Antonio's LaMarcus Aldridge also missed the cut, despite averaging 17.6 points and 7.1 rebounds for the 36-9 Spurs. Utah's Rudy Gobert was also a candidate for his first All-Star Game, as the big man has averaged 12.8 points and 12.6 rebounds, as well as an NBA-best 2.5 blocks.
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