A week after the NBA announced the starters for the Western and Eastern Conference All-Star teams, the league named the reserves for each team Thursday night. The 2013 NBA All-Star Game will take place February 17 in Houston.
The Western conference reserves include forward Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies, making his second appearance. Randolph became the first Grizzlies’ player to be selected for multiple All-Star games. Randolph averages 16.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. He is second in the league in rebounds and leads the league in double doubles with 27 in the 39 games he has played.
“It is truly an honor to be named by the NBA’s coaches to the 2013 Western Conference All-Star team,” Randolph said in a statement. “I am grateful for this opportunity and look forward to playing with the best players in the world.”
Randolph was the only Memphis player selected, but many including Charles Barkley thought center Marc Gasol deserved a bid as well.
Other reserves for the Western Conference include San Antonio Spurs’ forward/center Tim Duncan making his 14th appearance in the game, but was not chosen last year. Duncan averages 17.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 2.7 blocks per game. Many thought Duncan should have been the starter for the West in place of Los Angeles Lakers’ center Dwight Howard. Duncan’s Spurs’ teammate point guard Tony Parker was also selected. Parker averages 19.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 7.4 assists.
Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook was selected to his third straight All-Star Game. He will join Thunder teammate forward Kevin Durant who was voted as a starter. Westbrook is averaging 22.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 8.1 assists, and 1.9 steals for the Thunder who have the best record in basketball. Former Thunder teammate guard James Harden, now with the Houston Rockets, was selected to his first all-star game. Harden averages 25.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.9 steals per game.
The other two reserves include Golden State Warriors forward David Lee and Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Both are making their second appearance in the game. Lee is averaging 19.6 points, 10.8 points, and 3.7 assists. Lee is the first Warriors’ player to be selected since Latrell Sprewell in 1997. However, many thought Warriors guard Stephen Curry should have been selected as well. Curry is eighth in the league in scoring at 20.9 points per game. Aldridge is averaging 20.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, a steal, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Another snub in the Western Conference besides Curry and Gasol include Los Angeles Clippers’ guard Jamal Crawford, the likely NBA sixth man of the year.
The aforementioned players will join Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant, and Clippers’ point guard Chris Paul and forward Blake Griffin. The head coach will either by the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich or the Clippers’ Vinny Del Negro. Thunder coach Scott Brooks coached in the game last year and is not eligible.
The Eastern Conference reserves include forward Luol Deng and center Joakim Noah, both of the Chicago Bulls. The two have kept the Bulls in contention despite former league MVP Derrick Rose missing every game so far as he recovers from a torn ACL. Rose is expected to come back in early February. Deng averages 17.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Noah averages 12.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.3 steals, and 2.1 blocks per game. Deng is making his second appearance in the game, and Noah is making his first.
Miami Heat forward/center Chris Bosh is making his 8th straight appearance in the game. Bosh averages 17.3 points, 7.2 points, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 blocks per game. Bosh will join Heat teammates guard Dwyane Wade and forward Lebron James who were named starters last week.
New York Knicks’ center Tyson Chandler is making his first appearance in the game. He is averaging 12.1 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. Many thought Chandler or Bosh should have been the starter over Boston Celtic’s forward Kevin Garnett. Indiana Pacers forward Paul George is also making his first appearance in the All-Star Game. George averages 17.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game.
Cleveland Cavaliers’ point guard Kyrie Irving is also making his first appearance, along with Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday. Irving made the team despite missing 11 games due to a broken wrist. He is the reigning NBA rookie of the year. Irving averages 23.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Holiday averages 19 points, 4.2 rebounds, 9 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.
Despite having the third best record in the conference, no players from the Brooklyn Nets were selected. Center Brook Lopez and guards Deron Williams & Joe Johnson are all averaging over 17 points a game. Boston Celtics’ forward Paul Pierce was also not selected.
The reserves will join other starters Celtics’ point guard Rajon Rondo and Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony. Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra will likely be the head coach for the East.
All in all, the voters and coaches got it mostly right. There will always be some snubs, and you could argue if a player belongs on the team. However, short of expanding the rosters to 15 players, there isn’t a lot that can be done to fix that.