Last Thursday night, the NBA All-Star starters and captains for both the Eastern and Western Conferences were announced. James Harden and Luka Doncic make up the backcourt for the West while All-Star captain LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis 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. Reserves for the Eastern and Western Conference All-Stars will be announced this Friday.
Here are our selections for the seven reserves for the Western Conference All-Star team.
Damian Lillard (PG, Portland Trail Blazers)
Although the Trail Blazers have been struggling, Lillard has been having the best season of his career. In his last three games, he has scored 47, 61, and 50 points, respectively. This season, the point guard is averaging 28.8 points, 7.7 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the field. Lillard is an elite scorer and playmaker who always seems to step up and make the big plays during crunch time. He is a definite All-Star.
Nikola Jokic (C, Denver Nuggets)
Over the last couple of years, Jokic has blossomed into one of the best centers in the NBA. In fact, he is the main reason for the recent successes of the Nuggets. He is averaging 19.7 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game this season while shooting 50.7 percent from the floor. Jokic is a prolific passer and facilitator and he can score inside and on the perimeter. He is well-rounded and easily deserving of an All-Star spot this year.
Paul George (F, Los Angeles Clippers)
George missed the early part of the season but was back to his best when he returned to the court. Along with Kawhi Leonard, he is part of arguably the best forward combination in the league. So far this season, George is averaging 23.5 points, six rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 42.9 percent from the field. The elite scorer is also a stout defensive-stopper and is known as a premier two-way player. He is likely to be an All-Star yet again.
Brandon Ingram (F, New Orleans Pelicans)
Apparently leaving LeBron James and the Lakers really allowed Ingram to flourish. In his fourth year in the NBA, he is easily having the most productive season of his career. The former second overall pick is averaging 25 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 46.7 percent from the field. Ingram is becoming a prime offensive threat and will probably be rewarded for his improvements with an All-Star selection this year.
Devin Booker (SG, Phoenix Suns)
Booker put up All-Star caliber numbers in his previous three seasons but has been always been snubbed, mainly due to the poor performances of the Suns. This year, he is averaging 27 points, 6.3 assists, and four rebounds per game while shooting 50.8 percent from the floor. Booker has been extremely efficient this season and shoots at a great percentage for a guard. The skilled scorer will likely get his first All-Star berth this year.
Karl-Anthony Towns (C, Minnesota Timberwolves)
This final center spot could have gone to Rudy Gobert, but think Towns is a better player and is having a better season. One of the most productive players in the NBA, Towns continues to put up monster numbers this year, averaging 27 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 4,3 assists per game. He also is shooting 51.5 percent from the floor. Towns’s size and strength make him a dominant presence inside on both sides of the ball, and he is also a great three-point shooter.
Russell Westbrook (PG, Houston Rockets)
Westbrook is the biggest “on the bubble” player on this list. However, he should edge out Donovan Mitchell for that final All-Star spot. While Westbrook hasn’t been very efficient this year, his stats are still sublime. In his first year in Houston, the former MVP is averaging 26 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 7.4 assists while shooting 45.2 from the floor. Westbrook’s athleticism, passion, and ability to put a show on for the fans would be a great addition to any All-Star Game.
Honorable Mentions: Rudy Gobert (C, Utah Jazz), C.J. McCollum (SG, Portland Trail Blazers), Donovan Mitchell (SG, Utah Jazz), Chris Paul (PG, Oklahoma City Thunder)