It looks like Dwyane Wade’s streak of 12 consecutive All-Star games will come to an end.
The NBA Thursday revealed the vote of the coaches for the seven reserve positions in each conference, and Wade wasn’t added to the starters announced last week. Bulls forward Jimmy Butler will carry the Bulls colors to the game in New Orleans Feb. 19 as a starter for the first time.
Wade could still be added if there is an injury since the commissioner than makes the choice.
The Eastern Conference reserves were a guard heavy group with Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Washington’s John Wall, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Cleveland’s Kevin Love, the Pacers’ Paul George and the Hawks’ Paul Millsap. Left off was the 76ers’ Joel Embiid, who still plays part time coming back from injury.
The Eastern Conference starters will be Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan as guards and LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Butler frontcourt.
The popular Wade made the All-Star team every season other than his rookie year thanks, in part, to fan voting. Wade was obviously deserving as one of the best players in the NBA, averaging more than 24 points per game in seven straight seasons, including a league leading 30.2 per game in 2008-09. Wade carried the Miami Heat as the star player to the 2006 NBA title, and then won two championships as the wing man for LeBron James with Miami in 2012 and 2013. In three of the last four seasons, Wade averaged fewer than 20 points per game, but he got the starting position thanks to the vote of the fans.
This season, the fan vote was diluted by the addition of players’ and media votes. If it had remained fan voting, Wade would have been selected this season since he was second in the Eastern Conference fan balloting since he remains one of the game’s most popular players.
He no longer is among the elite stars of the game, if still a very good player.
This season Wade is averaging 19.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists and shooting 42.8 percent in about 30 minutes per game. He is on pace to play about the same 74 games he did last season in Miami. He still has a career average of more than 23 points per game. He’s been all-defense three times and all-NBA eight times as well as Finals Most Valuable Player and still so popular the fans want to see him in the All-Star game. So perhaps commissioner Adam Silver still takes that into consideration of there is an injury replacement.
The Western Conference starters will be Stephen Curry and James Harden guards, and Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis frontcourt.
The Western Conference reserves start with triple double gatherer Russell Westbrook, whom most believed should be a starter but was edged out by Curry and Harden. Also, the Warriors Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, making it four Warriors. Also, DeMarcus Cousins of the Kings, DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers and Gordon Hayward of the Jazz. The Trailblazers’ C.J. McCollum and Damian Lillard were left off.
"I'm not disappointed at all," Wade said Friday about the All-Star selections. "You have to understand that I've been blessed to be in 12 All-Star games. It's funny because I was looking at social media and I see millions of people were making jokes like I really (was upset).
"I play basketball," said Wade. "If I get the All-Star and my team obviously did a great job (in soliciting votes for me) and we have a lot of fan support and a lot of fan votes. But the Eastern Conference All-Star team was exactly how it should have been. There are always guys you can say, 'He got snubbed.' I think with the record, with the play, it was perfect. I hope no one gets injured. I hope everyone makes it to their All-Star game. It is a changing of the guard in the game. They changed the way from over the years all of us have succeeded from fan votes and being popular players to doing it a different way. So now it changes. But I will tell you I am not mad at all. I'm looking to get a tan. I have been jealous of my teammates for years who have been getting tans All-Star weekend. I will definitely come back with a different look."