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The All-Star reserves were announced Tuesday night. Name a player who didn’t make the cut who totally deserves a spot in next month's game?
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David Aldridge: Lou Williams. Those aren't empty numbers (23.3 points per game, 40.5 percent on 3-pointers) he's putting up this season; despite all the injuries and two-way contracts and opponents trying to get in the locker room, the LA Clippers are right on the edge of the playoffs in the Western Conference, and Williams is the main reason. All due respect to Draymond Green, who's a vital player for the Warriors, but the new Sweet Lou (Hudson; Google him) should be on his home court at Staples next month.
Steve Aschburner: Lou Williams. Normally Williams would be a non-factor for the All-Star Game, given his niche role as offense off the bench. But he has been pressed into heavy duty for the Clippers, starting 14 games and averaging a career-high 32.2 minutes. At 23.3 points and 40.5 percent shooting from the arc, this was the 31-year-old Williams’ best (only?) chance to snag an All-Star berth. I wouldn’t bump anyone from the West reserves to fit in Williams, but if each squad had a 13th spot, he’d be my pick for one.
Shaun Powell: I thought for the most part the right players made the cut. You could quibble here and there, but if I must choose, then it's Tobias Harris of the Detroit Pistons. Perhaps instead of Kevin Love, or maybe Kristaps Porzingis, neither of whom has been as consistent since opening night like Harris, who's having a breakout-like year. Two more things: I don't care much about Andre Drummond or Dwight Howard not getting in, or that the Miami Heat got shut out (there's no singular star there). Also, I want my All-Star teams stocked with entertaining players because it's an exhibition game. The All-NBA teams are for merit, and besides, those teams are more important anyway -- and much tougher to make.
John Schuhmann: In the East especially, the resume of any other player in the conversation (as well as that of a couple of the players who were selected) is flawed in one way or another. In the West, the Paul George vs. Damian Lillard vs. Lou Williams conversation is fascinating. George has been the best defender on the best team of the three. But the other two guys have scored more efficiently in bigger roles on offense. Lillard's role is a little bigger than that of Williams, but Williams' team has been better offensively. I can't fault the coaches for putting Lillard in the game and we should really have 13-man All-Star rosters, though an additional spot would still leave one of those three guys feeling left out.
Sekou Smith: For the first time in years I don't find myself to be outraged about a player or two being left out of the mix for the All-Star Game. It's rare that I walk away from the process feeling like the fans (players and media, too,) got it right on the starters and the league's coaches nailed it on the reserves. The one guy I think should be a little salty right now is Paul George, who has played well this season alongside Russell Westbrook, and shown himself to be worthy of the two-way player elite tag he earned as an Indiana Pacer. If I were a cynic, I'd swear there was some backlash against George based on how he departed Indiana. But I can't identify a player from the Western Conference I could justify removing to make room for George. Sometimes there just aren't enough spots for all of the players deserving of All-Star honors.
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