NBA All-Star 2021: With starters revealed, which East, West gamers ought to earn reserve spots?

by akoloy

There had been some gentle complaints after Thursday night time’s reveal of the 2021 NBA All-Star starters, however this yr’s lineups did not fire up a lot controversy.

Outside of an in depth race between Luka Doncic and Damian Lillard for the ultimate guard spot, the Western Conference beginning 5 was simple sufficient to foretell. Early fan voting returns confirmed the Eastern Conference group would not convey many surprises both.

NBA ALL-STAR 2021: Final results from fan vote

As for the reserves? Now that is the place the All-Star choice course of will get fascinating. There will probably be snubs with solely seven spots left in every convention (two guards, three forwards, two wild playing cards), however that is at all times the case forward of the All-Star break.

(Note: Sporting News didn’t have an official media vote for All-Star starters this yr. Reserves are chosen by NBA head coaches, however that does not imply we won’t have a bit of enjoyable right here.)

Eastern Conference All-Star starters

Position Player Team Fan rank Player rank Media rank Weighted rating
G Bradley Beal Wizards 1 1 1 1.0
G Kyrie Irving Nets 2 2 4 2.5
F Kevin Durant* Nets 1 1 3 1.5
F Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks 2 2 1 1.75
F Joel Embiid 76ers 3 3 2 2.75


Eastern Conference All-Star reserves

(All stats present as of Feb. 19)

G: Jaylen Brown, Celtics

Brown has elevated his scoring (25.9 factors per recreation) with out sacrificing effectivity (50.6 p.c from the sector, 40.9 p.c from 3-point vary) in his fifth yr with the Celtics. His deal with seems to be tighter, and the playmaking is coming alongside as properly (career-high 3.6 assists per recreation). Brown deserves the primary All-Star number of his profession.

G: James Harden, Nets

No matter what you might take into consideration how Harden left Houston, you’ll be able to’t argue that he hasn’t been a beast in Brooklyn. “The Beard” is averaging 24.2 factors, 11.7 assists and eight.2 rebounds per recreation since becoming a member of the Nets. He has adjusted fantastically to his new position and quelled issues about his capacity to suit alongside different dominant scorers in Irving and Durant.

F: Khris Middleton, Bucks

He might play second fiddle to the two-time MVP, however Middleton is an All-Star in his personal proper. He has been on hearth all season with 50-40-90 capturing splits, and he capably defends the hardest guards and wings within the league. Milwaukee is not rolling by way of the East prefer it has earlier than, however Middleton is higher than ever.

F: Julius Randle, Knicks

Who would have thought that turning Randle into the No. 1 choice may rework the Knicks into a possible playoff crew? The former first-round decide is posting profession highs in quite a few classes, together with factors, assists, rebounds and 3-point proportion. He additionally leads the NBA in whole minutes performed. (Classic Tom Thibodeau!)

F: Jayson Tatum, Celtics

Brown has been one of the best participant on the Celtics so far, however Tatum is undoubtedly an All-Star caliber ahead. He is posting 25.8 factors per recreation and has carried Boston’s offense for lengthy stretches with out Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker. It’s value noting that Tatum continues to carry out at a excessive degree regardless of coping with lingering effects from COVID-19.

WC: Ben Simmons, 76ers

Yes, Simmons does not shoot 3-pointers. We get it. But what about every part else? He is an elite offensive creator (8.0 assists per recreation), and he’s firmly within the Defensive Player of the Year dialogue. He is without doubt one of the few gamers within the league who possesses the dimensions and velocity to modify onto nearly any task with out requiring assist. Simply put, the man is a pressure on each ends of the ground.

WC: Zach LaVine, Bulls

Chicago’s season has been a bit in all places. LaVine is the lone fixed. The 25-year-old is obliterating his earlier stats with new profession highs in — deep breath — factors, assists, rebounds, discipline aim proportion, 3-point proportion, free throw proportion and participant effectivity ranking. 

Biggest snubs: Bam Adebayo, Heat; Jerami Grant, Pistons; Tobias Harris, 76ers; Gordon Hayward, Hornets; Domantas Sabonis, Pacers; Fred VanVleet, Raptors; Nikola Vucevic, Magic; Trae Young, Hawks

Western Conference All-Star starters

Position Player Team Fan rank Player rank Media rank Weighted rating
G Stephen Curry Warriors 1 1 1 1.0
G Luka Doncic** Mavericks 2 3 3 2.5
F LeBron James* Lakers 1 1 1 1.0
F Nikola Jokic Nuggets 2 2 2 2.0
F Kawhi Leonard Clippers 3 4 3 3.25

**Won tiebreaker with Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard

Western Conference All-Star reserves

(All stats present as of Feb. 19)

G: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers

A no brainer. Lillard has been carrying the Blazers since CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic went down with accidents, holding them not simply afloat within the rugged West however within the high 4 of the convention standings. He misplaced a beginning spot to Doncic primarily based on a technicality — Lillard ranked greater within the participant and media votes, however Doncic completed with extra fan votes — so let’s repair that right here.

G: Donovan Mitchell, Jazz

The greatest crew within the NBA will not be placing a participant within the beginning lineup? Don’t fear, Jazz followers. We’ll present your squad love, beginning with Mitchell, who’s averaging a career-high 24.2 factors and 5.1 assists per recreation with out taking something away from Utah’s lovely offensive movement.

F: Anthony Davis, Lakers

Davis is anticipated to sit down out by way of the All-Star break with a calf damage, so this slot would stay open for one more worthy participant. Still, he deserves to place one other choice on his resume. Davis’ numbers could also be down in contrast along with his lofty requirements, however 22.5 factors, 8.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.3 steals per recreation with elite protection screams All-Star.

F: Paul George, Clippers

All these “Playoff P” and “Pandemic P” jokes? Yeah, George heard them and got here again with a vengeance. He is a member of the 50-40-90 membership in the intervening time, together with an insane 47.8 p.c on almost eight 3-pointers per recreation. He has been inactive for many of February, however his physique of labor is robust sufficient to present him the nod.

F: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

All-Star Game viewers might not need to watch Gobert rack up screen assists in an exhibition contest. His recreation is not fairly. OK, understood. You have to present Gobert a ton of credit score for Utah’s sizzling begin, although. He patrols the paint higher than any massive within the league, and his screen-setting and ending on the rim are a part of what make the Jazz such a headache to defend.

WC: Mike Conley, Jazz

He lastly did it! Conley is an All-Star! (Well, not less than on this faux poll.) Conley is flourishing in Year 14, averaging 16.5 factors, 5.8 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals per recreation whereas capturing 41.0 p.c from past the arc. All the advanced statistics present Conley recurrently impacts successful.

WC: Chris Paul, Suns

This ultimate spot may come right down to the Suns’ backcourt, as Paul and Devin Booker ought to each be thought of. Paul will get the slight edge due to his capacity to raise the offense with brutally environment friendly scoring (17.2 factors per recreation on 48.9/36.9/97.2 capturing splits) and playmaking (8.2 assists per recreation). He has misplaced some velocity and athleticism, however he’s nonetheless a pest on the defensive finish as properly.

Biggest snubs: Devin Booker, Suns; DeMar DeRozan, Spurs; De’Aaron Fox, Kings; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder; Brandon Ingram, Pelicans; Zion Williamson, Pelicans

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