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NBA All-Star 2021: With starters revealed, which East, West players should earn reserve spots?

There had been some gentle complaints after Thursday evening’s reveal of the 2021 NBA All-Star starters, however this 12 months’s lineups did not fire up a lot controversy.

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

NBA ALL-STAR 2021: Final outcomes from fan vote

As for the reserves? Now that is the place the All-Star choice course of will get fascinating. There can 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 12 months. Reserves are chosen by NBA head coaches, however that does not imply we won’t have slightly 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

*Captain

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 sport) with out sacrificing effectivity (50.6 % from the sphere, 40.9 % from 3-point vary) in his fifth 12 months with the Celtics. His deal with seems tighter, and the playmaking is coming alongside as properly (career-high 3.6 assists per sport). Brown deserves the primary All-Star choice 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 sport since becoming a member of the Nets. He has adjusted fantastically to his new position and quelled issues about his capability to suit alongside different dominant scorers in Irving and Durant.

F: Khris Middleton, Bucks

He could play second fiddle to the two-time MVP, however Middleton is an All-Star in his personal proper. He has been on fireplace all season with 50-40-90 taking pictures splits, and he capably defends the hardest guards and wings within the league. Milwaukee is not rolling by means 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 might rework the Knicks into a possible playoff staff? The former first-round choose is posting profession highs in plenty of 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 to this point, however Tatum is undoubtedly an All-Star caliber ahead. He is posting 25.8 factors per sport and has carried Boston’s offense for lengthy stretches with out Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker. It’s price noting that Tatum continues to carry out at a excessive stage regardless of coping with lingering results 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 sport), and he’s firmly within the Defensive Player of the Year dialogue. He is among the few players within the league who possesses the scale and velocity to change onto nearly any task with out requiring assist. Simply put, the man is a power on each ends of the ground.

WC: Zach LaVine, Bulls

Chicago’s season has been a bit far and wide. 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 score. 

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

*Captain
**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, preserving them not simply afloat within the rugged West however within the prime 4 of the convention standings. He misplaced a beginning spot to Doncic based mostly on a technicality — Lillard ranked larger 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 finest staff 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 sport with out taking something away from Utah’s lovely offensive movement.

F: Anthony Davis, Lakers

Davis is predicted to take a seat out by means of the All-Star break with a calf harm, 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 sport 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 meanwhile, together with an insane 47.8 % on almost eight 3-pointers per sport. He has been inactive for many of February, however his physique of labor is powerful sufficient to present him the nod.

F: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

All-Star Game viewers could not need to watch Gobert rack up display screen assists in an exhibition contest. His sport 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 large 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, a minimum of 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 sport whereas taking pictures 41.0 % from past the arc. All the superior statistics present Conley commonly impacts successful.

WC: Chris Paul, Suns

This closing spot might come right down to the Suns’ backcourt, as Paul and Devin Booker should each be thought-about. Paul will get the slight edge due to his capability to raise the offense with brutally environment friendly scoring (17.2 factors per sport on 48.9/36.9/97.2 taking pictures splits) and playmaking (8.2 assists per sport). 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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