On Thursday night, the NBA All-Star starters and captains for both the Eastern and Western Conferences were announced. Kemba Walker and Trae Young make up the backcourt for the East, while All-Star captain Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pascal Siakam, and Joel Embiid make up the frontcourt. While the final teams will be selected by the team captains, the NBA requires 12 players from each conference to be selected as All-Stars.
Here are our selections for the seven reserves for the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
Jimmy Butler (SG/SF, Miami Heat)
Butler is having a fantastic season in his first year with the Heat. He is averaging 20.3 points, seven rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game while shooting 44 percent from the field and playing elite defense. Additionally, Butler has begun to show that he can be successful in leading a team, which he failed at before. The 31-13 Heat currently sit in second in the Eastern Conference, and much of this is due to Butler, who is surely an All-Star this year.
Jayson Tatum (F, Boston Celtics)
After an underwhelming 2018-19 season, Tatum has stepped up to become the second scoring option on a decent Celtics team. The third-year player is likely to make his first All-Star appearance this year. So far this season, he is averaging 21.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while shooting 43.5 percent from the floor. Tatum has improved his scoring inside and his playmaking but continues to dominate on the perimeter as well.
Bradley Beal (SG, Washington Wizards)
Although the Wizards are having a terrible year, none of it is due to the play of Beal. He is having the best season of his career so far, averaging 27.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the floor. On a team where he is expected to provide the large majority of the team’s offense, Beal has still been incredibly efficient. The prolific scorer should be the Wizards’ only All-Star this season but is well-deserved.
Kyle Lowry (PG, Toronto Raptors)
Last year, Lowry took a back seat to Kawhi Leonard but has greatly increased his scoring output for this season. After scoring only 14.2 points per game last year, Lowry is now averaging 20 points along with 7.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 49.3 percent from the field. Lowry is one of the most overlooked point guards in the league, but his well-rounded offensive play, reliability, and defense make him All-Star caliber.
Andre Drummond (C, Detroit Pistons)
Drummond isn’t flashy, and he doesn’t play on a good team. However, he is one of the most consistent players in the NBA and one of the best rebounders in recent history. This season, he is averaging 17.3 points, 15.7 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 53.1 percent from the field. Drummond is a solid defender and can score inside with ease. His strength and prowess at center put him in a prime position to be an All-Star.
Domantas Sabonis (PF/C, Indiana Pacers)
Sabonis is versatile and can score in more ways. He is averaging 17.9 points, 12.9 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 53.6 percent from the field. His ability to score in the post alongside having a great mid-range and decent three-point shot in his arsenal makes him so dangerous offensively. At 23 years of age, the best is yet to come with him.
Khris Middleton (SG/SF, Milwaukee Bucks)
Middleton should get the nod based on his team’s dominance so far this season. The first-place Bucks have an unbelievable 39-6 record, and they will likely have more than one All-Star. Middleton is the team’s second scoring option and a reliable defender. He is averaging 19.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.9 assists while shooting 50 percent from the floor this year.
Honorable Mentions: Jaylen Brown (SG/SF, Boston Celtics), Malcolm Brogdon (G, Indiana Pacers), Bam Adebayo (C, Miami Heat), Ben Simmons (PG, Philadelphia 76ers)