On Thursday the NBA Announced the All-Star Game reserves and of course there were players who were absolutely deserving and your annual snubs. Coaches around the league voted for 14 players to be names as reserves, seven in each conference. The starters in the Eastern Conference, which were announced last week, are LeBron James (Cavaliers), Paul George (Pacers), Carmelo Anthony (Knicks), Dwyane Wade (Heat) and Kyle Lowry (Raptors).
Jimmy Butler (Bulls) – Butler has emerged as the leader of the Bulls, despite sharing the backcourt with point guard Derrick Rose. He is averaging 22.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game on the season. He is also shooting 45.5% from the field. The Bulls have had a pretty good season thus far and have a legitimate shot at winning an NBA title, led by Mr. Butler. Chicago is 26-19 and currently sit 3rd in the East.
DeMar DeRozan (Raptors) – DeRozan joins teammate Kyle Lowry as the two representatives from the host of the All-Star Game, the Raptors. Toronto is having a terrific season and are currently on a 10-game winning streak. DeRozan is averaging 23.1 points (9th in NBA), 4.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game to, helping the Raptors to a 31-15 record and are the second-best team in the East. This team is good and DeRozan, along with Lowry are huge contributors to the success.
Paul Millsap (Hawks) – The Hawks aren’t taking the league by storm this year, but are still a top-four team in the East, with a record of 27-21. Millsap is having a solid season for the team from the A, averaging 18 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He is also shooting 49 percent from the field.
Andre Drummond (Pistons) – Like DeMarcus Cousins in the West, Andre Drummond should have been a starter for the All-Star Game. Like the West, the East is starting three small forwards and two guards with no center. Drummond should be a starter. He has been a monster for the Pistons all season averaging 17.3 points and a league-best 15.2 rebounds per game. Detroit is currently 25-21 and are 6th in the East. He has had nine games with 20+ rebounds this season, leading the league. It will be interesting to see Drummond square off with Cousins in the battle of the two centers who deserve to be starters.
Chris Bosh (Heat) – Bosh is playing like he did when he was in Toronto, where the All-Star Game will be held this year. He is averaging 19.2 points, 7.6 rebounds per game while shooting 47.6% from the floor and 372% from three. The Heat have had an up and down season and are currently 25-21 and 7th in the East.
John Wall (Wizards) – John Wall is a guy who doesn’t get the respect he deserves around the league. Constantly being overlooked, Wall is always producing on the floor and this year is no different. He is averaging 19.5 points and 9.8 assists per game. He is tied with Russell Westbrook for the second in the assist category. Washington is underplaying this season and are currently 20-24 and losers of three straight. That isn’t on Wall, but perhaps his head coach. Either way you look at it, Wall deserves to be an All-Star this season.
Isaiah Thomas (Celtics) – Thomas has been fantastic for the Celtics this season leading the team in points (21.6) and assists (6.6) per game. The Celtics have surprised a lot of people this year by how they have played. Boston is sitting at 26-21 and are 5th in the East. Thomas has been the catalyst for the Celtics’ success.
Three Biggest Snubs
Pau Gasol (Bulls) – Gasol is another guy who is underappreciated around the league. The former two-time NBA champion is recognized as someone who won two championships. He is averaging 16.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, while shooting 47% from the field. He is a big reason as to why the Bulls are the third best team in the East.
Al Horford (Hawks) – Al Horford was an All-Star a season ago. Not much has changed in his statistics since that time. He is currently averaging 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game and is shooting 50% from the floor. The Hawks have always got good contributions from Horford. How can he have similar stats to last season when he was an All-Star and not be an All-Star this year?
Kemba Walker – If the Charlotte Hornets were a better team, Walker could have made the All-Star Game. Walker is averaging 20.5 points, 5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game this season and has improved his offensive efficiency. He is a sparkplug for this young, upstart team and has plenty of time to be an All-Star in his career.
Honorable Mention: Dwane Casey – Head Coach of the Toronto Raptors
Each year, the two teams that are leading their respective conferences in the win-loss column send their head coaches to coach in the All-Star Game. This season David Blatt would have been the All-Star Game coach for the East. However, he was fired last week. Tyronn Lue, who took over for Blatt, is now the coach of the East All-Stars. Luke Walton, who was the interim head coach for Golden State wasn’t eligible to coach the All-Star Game because he was an interim. Lue is in a similar spot. He has barely had a cup of coffee as a head coach in the NBA and is now coaching the All-Star team. Since the host city is Toronto and the Raptors are as good as they are, their head coach should be coaching the East in the ASG. Makes perfect sense for him to coach this game this year.