The All-Star Reserves have finally been announced. Find out if your favorite players made the cut and why – Who’s ready for this draft?
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
29.3 PPG, 13.3 REB, 4.4 AST, 1.7 STL, 2.6 BLK
4 through 12, the Pelicans have been a hot garbage fire so far this season – but AD remains the most dominant power forward in basketball. Posting career highs in points, boards, assists and steals, Davis has taken his game to a level we weren’t sure was even possible. Many things remain uncertain in the Bayou – most importantly Davis’ future. But as far is the present is concerned, you can count on The Brow taking part in All-Star festivities for the 6th straight year.
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
19.6 PPG, 10.2 REB, 7.7 AST, 1.3 STL, 0.7 BLK, 1.2 3PM, 84% FT
To quote his teammate Jamal Murry, “pretty much the only thing he can’t do is Jump”. The Joker may look like a guy who hangs out at the YMCA every day and eats toaster strudels, but his play this season had shredded any critique of how he navigates a basketball court. In his first and extremely well deserved All-Star selection, the 7-foot Serbian has dazzled the NBA this season with his no look dimes, soft touch and ridiculously high basketball IQ. Jokic has helped the Denver Nuggets secure the 2nd best record in the West and has been head and shoulders the best player on his team. Welcome to the big leagues, Nikola.
Karl Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
22.6 PPG, 12.1 REB, 3.1 AST, 0.9 STL, 1.9 BLK, 1.7 3PM, 85% FT
After a slow start to the season, hampered by a low usage rate and a cranky teammate – KAT has really found his game over the past two months. Now that he finally has the keys to the offense, Towns is showing why he deserves to be the focal point of this Minnesota offense. Posting career highs in blocks, rebounds and assists, the Timberwolves are finally KAT’s team again. The Kentucky big man punches his second consecutive ticket to All-Star Weekend.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
21.7 PPG, 10.9 REB, 10.8 AST, 2.3 STL, 1.2 3PM, 42% FG
While his teammate may be the biggest success story this far this season for the Thunder, Russ has still been a crucial part of his team’s success. Posting his lowest usage rate in 9 seasons at 31.1 (that’s small for him), The 8-time All-Star has begun to shift the needle toward a more team-oriented style of basketball – and it’s working. Leading the league with a career best 10.8 assists per game, Brodie has improved OKC’s assist rate, offensive flow and helped them secure the 3rd best record in the West. The guy has almost normalized the triple double at this point – isn’t that a little bit scary?
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
26.4 PPG, 4.6 REB, 6.3 AST, 1.1 STL, 2.8 3PM, 91% FT
After a dreadful performance in last year’s playoffs, many question marks loomed in Portland – including doubts of whether Dame could shoulder the load of being a number one option. Lillard’s play this year has proven his 2018 playoffs hiccup to be a complete outlier. Per Basketball Reference, the Blazers have a Net Rating of +6.3 when Dame is on the floor and -7.8 when he’s on the bench this season. With his partner in crime CJ McCollum struggling to find his groove, the lion’s share of Portland’s success is owed to their starting point guard and 4-time All-Star: Dolla Dame Lillard.
LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
21.1 PPG, 8.8 REB, 2.6 AST, 0.5 STL, 1.2 BLK, 51% FG
Fading slightly into the grey in Texas amidst the hectic departure of Leonard and the arrival of DeRozan, people aren’t talking much about LaMarcus Aldrige this year. But they should be. LA is humming along in Spurs county, contributing in almost every area of the box score. While his individual numbers aren’t wowing anybody this season, his play sure has. In leading his team to a top-10 record in the association, Aldridge gets his 7th invitation to All-Star Weekend.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
21.7 PPG, 4 REB, 2 AST, 1.2 STL, 2.9 3PM, 46% FG
In what many are calling a slighting of Tobias Harris and Luka Doncic, the coaches made the familiar choice here by inviting Thompson to his 5th All-Star Game. While there may be other deserving candidates, it doesn’t detract from Klay’s stellar play this season. Forced to step into a larger role during his teammates various injury spells, Thompson has remained one of the only consistencies in the Warriors rotation. He edges out his Western Conference competition to join teammates Steph and Kevin in Charlotte.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
24.7 PPG, 5.1 REB, 5.1 AST, 1.4 STL, 2.6 3PM, 79% FT
About the only thing Wizards fans have to smile about this year is the brilliance of Bradley Beal. Powering through an abysmal start to the season, and season ending surgery to his partner in crime, Beal remains the lone bright spot of this Wizard’s season. With his first selection as an All-Star, the ex-Gator is averaging career highs in every stat in a box score, emerging as the unquestioned leader of this Wizards Team. While Wiz fans might be upset about their chances to nab a Duke freshman in June, Beal’s play is something to be excited about.
Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic
20.7 PPG, 12 REB, 3.8 AST, 1.0 STL, 1.2 BLK, 1.2 3PM, 52% FG
Who told Vuc that the Orlando Magic didn’t deserve a professional basketball team? Playing like he has equity in a lavish retirement village, Vucevic has single-handedly played the Orlando Magic out of the basement in the Eastern Conference this season. Orlando’s starting center is uprooting any tanking plans the front office might’ve had this past summer. Averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and 3 pointers made, Vucevic is reminding us all what an effective player he can be, and has earned his first ever All-Star appointment in the process.
Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons
26.3 PPG, 8.1 REB, 5.3 AST, 0.8 STL, 2.4 3PM, 48% FG
“The NBA is a Business”, “Player’s cant get too attached anymore”, “Trades aren’t personal”. No, screw that – said Blake Griffin. The 6-10 Oklahoma phenom is playing like a guy who just got shanked by his former team, and wants to prove what a mistake they made. Blake Griffin is taking this season extremely personally and man has it been fun to watch. In his most dominant offensive campaign of his career, Blake Griffin is proving himself to be the superstar the Pistons desperately needed but didn’t deserve. After a 3-year hiatus, Blake is back at All-Star Weekend. I recommend you get the hell out of his way.
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
16.7 PTS, 9.5 REB, 8.2 AST, 1.3 STL, 0.8 BLK, 55.4 FG%
He hasn’t taken the drastic leap forward that many expected this season, but he remains one of the most intriguing and talented players in the game of basketball. The fact that NBA coaches are placing Simmons, a player who is scared to shoot the basketball beyond 10 feet, among the game’s best players, speaks to his level of dominance in other areas of the sport. While his statistical improvements are marginal, he is still averaging a near triple double on 60% of Russell Wesbrook’s usage rate. Welcome to the All-Star Game, Ben!
Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
18.8 PTS, 5.6 REB, 5.2 AST, 1.7 STL, 2.1 3PM
We all felt for Victor last week when we heard the news. Injuries are never good for the game, but they’re especially painful when they hit one of basketball’s most likable, potential soaked guys. Oladipo will be watching the All-Star festivities from a remote location this year, but you, I and every member of the Basketball world knows he deserved to be there in Charlotte. Injury may have stunted his best year ever, but he’s got the chops to improve on that effort in 2020. Get well soon, Vic.
Kris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
17.3 PTS, 5.7 REB, 4.2 AST, 1.1 STL, 2.4 3PM, 85% FT
Kris Middleton is the Vanilla Ice Cream of All-Star reserves. He’s not flashy, highlight-reel material like some of the other gentlemen on this list, but who cares? He spaces the floor, knocks down shots, and has acted as the perfect compliment to Antetokounmpo’s swiss army knife skill set. Averaging a career high in threes made and assists, Middleton has proven himself to be a worthy inclusion of his first ever All-Star game.
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
14.2 PTS, 4.5 REB, 9.4 AST, 1.4 STL, 0.5 BLK, 2.2 3PM, 85% FT
The counting stats hate him. The advanced metrics love him. His team needs him. That’s the story in a nutshell for Kyle Lowry who has been forced to undergo an rapid offensive transformation with Kawhi Leonard at the helm of the Toronto Raptors this season. He’s shooting the ball 4 less times a game, his usage is down and so are his points. And what is the result of that? His team has the most wins in the NBA, he’s second in the league in assists and almost all of his teammates perform better when they share the floor with him. He may not have the flair of Steph or the touch of Irving, but he’s a damn good point guard and that’s why he’s here. That’s 5 straight All-Star Selections for the human pitbull out of Nova.