David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images
Predicting The All-Star Reserves
The NBA announced the 2017-18 All-Star starters on Thursday night.
Our Kyle Ratke is taking his best guess at who the reserves will be. The reserves will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 23 on TNT.
The All-Star game is scheduled for Feb. 16-18 in Los Angeles. We’ll be there will all the coverage.
East Starters: Giannis Antetokounmpo, DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Joel Embiid
Rest of the East:
Kyle Lowry, Raptors
Lowry isn’t putting up the same numbers as he was last season, but that has to do more with Toronto’s new system than him. Lowry’s averaging 16.2 points, 6.9 assists and 6.2 rebounds (a career high) on a team that is 30-13. Give this man his fourth-straight All-Star appearance.
Victor Oladipo, Pacers
Remember when everyone thought the Paul George trade to Thunder was completely one-sided? About that . . .
Skinny Victor Oladipo has been unbelievable this season, averaging 24.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, four assists and 1.9 steals per game while shooting career highs of 48.5 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from the 3-point line. He’s thriving in Indiana, a place where he’s not asked to sometimes play point guard (Orlando) or play off of Russell Westbrook, something that’s not the easiest to do.
Al Horford, Celtics:
This isn’t a sexy pick, but Horford is one of the best all-around players in the league. He gets the Celtics going on both ends of the court. If Draymond Green gets tons of credit for being the glue guy in Golden State, Horford should get just as much (probably more) for what he’s doing in Boston.
Kristaps Porzingis, Knicks:
Would you like more than 6.9 rebounds per game? Sure. But we’re getting the opportunity to see Porzingis flourish without Carmelo Anthony.
Andre Drummond, Pistons:
Drummond is averaging freaking 15 rebounds per game. How is that possible? That goes with 14.5 points and 3.8 assists per game, more than TRIPLE his mark last season. He’s turned into somewhat of a playmaker for the Pistons this season and his 62.5 percent from the free-throw line is welcoming after hitting just 38.6 percent last season.
Bradley Beal, Wizards
With Beal making it, that means teammate John Wall probably won’t. I think Beal’s been better. He’s averaging a career-high 23.7 points per game. Another guy to watch here is Goran Dragic. Dragic’s numbers aren’t eye popping, but the Heat are 26-18, a game and a half better than the Wizards.
Kevin Love, Cavaliers
Love made it last season and while he’s a defensive liability still, his numbers are pretty much the same but more efficient offensively. He’s averaging 19 points and 9.6 rebounds while shooting 46 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from the 3-point line, both his best marks since 2010-11 with the Wolves.
West Starters: Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, James Harden, DeMarcus Cousins
Rest of the West:
Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves:
I had Butler as a starter over Curry, mostly because Curry has missed 15 games, more than 30 percent of the season. But Butler should be a lock to make it as a reserve. He’s changed the culture in Minnesota and has the Wolves as the fourth-best team in the West, and sixth overall. On the season, Butler is averaging 21.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, five assists and a career-high two steals per game. He’s also shooting a career-high 47.6 percent from the field.
Russell Westbrook, Thunder:
It’s tough not to give it to a guy averaging 24.8 points, 9.9 assists and 9.7 rebounds per game. Not a whole lot to say here. Westbrook is one of the best players in the NBA.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves:
Could this be the first All-Star Game for KAT? It should be. He’s part of a winning team and has a league-leading 39 double-doubles. He’s had to make some sacrifices in the scoring department, but his line of 20.1 points and 12.1 rebounds per game is impressive. He’s also shooting a career-high 40.8 percent from the 3-point line. His defense has made a huge leap over the last month or so, which is a big reason for the team’s recent 5-0 homestand.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs:
If you told me the Spurs would be in third place in the West when Kawhi Leonard had played just nine games, I . . . would probably believe you because the Spurs are the Spurs. But Aldridge has been the main reason why. He finally looks comfortable in his third season in San Antonio, averaging 22.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. If Leonard remains out (he’s out indefinitely with a quad injury), the Spurs will need even more from Aldridge.
Paul George, Thunder:
George vs. Oladipo! Let’s goooo!
The experiment in Oklahoma City hasn’t gone according to plan just yet, but that’s in no fault to George who is averaging 20.4 points, a league-leading 2.2 steals per game while shooting a career-best 42.8 percent from the 3-point line. The definition of a 3-and-D player.
Damian Lillard, Blazers:
Is it just me, or does it seem like Lillard gets snubbed or almost snubbed every season for the All-Star Game?
Lillard is averaging 25 points and 6.5 assists per game. This would mark his first All-Star Game since 2014-15.
Draymond Green, Warriors:
I don’t love this pick, but Green is still putting up great all-around numbers, averaging 11.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists per game. Or, we can open this spot up for sweet Lou Williams!
We’ll find out in a few days.