After last week’s revelation of the 10 players who will start the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, we now know the 14 players who will round out the rosters selected by captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry in the new pick-up style format the NBA’s adopting for this year’s model of the annual midseason showcase. NBA coaches made their selections for the seven reserves from each conference — three frontcourt players, two guards and two “wild card” slots for the East and West — and the league revealed them before Tuesday’s TNT double-header, finalizing the list of two dozen luminaries who will head to Los Angeles next month.
The Eastern Conference reserves are:
• Kyle Lowry, who’s helped lead the Toronto Raptors to second place in the East and will join teammate and All-Star starter DeMar DeRozan for a fourth All-Star appearance;
• Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, who has risen to the challenge of acting as a No. 1 option in Manhattan by becoming a top-15 scorer and the NBA’s leader in blocks;
• Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who, illness challenges aside, has been a really productive offensive center on a top-three seed;
• Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, continuing his development into a top scorer and one of the sport’s most dangerous shooting guards;
• John Wall of the Washington Wizards, who’s struggled with injuries and has had a bit of a down year, but who remains an elite playmaker on a playoff team;
• Al Horford of the East-leading Boston Celtics, a vital playmaking partner for All-Star starter Kyrie Irving and captain of the NBA’s best defense;
• Victor Oladipo, who earned his first All-Star nod in recognition of his career year to propel the Indiana Pacers into the thick of the Eastern playoff chase.
Notable East snubs:
• Andre Drummond, leading the NBA in rebounds and finally making his free throws for a Detroit Pistons team in the hunt for a playoff spot;
• Ben Simmons, the former No. 1 pick, Rookie of the Year favorite and point forward who has helped revitalize the long-suffering Philadelphia 76ers.
The Western Conference reserves are:
• Jimmy Butler, who’s been exactly the two-way anchor the Minnesota Timberwolves hoped he’d be when they traded for him, leading the Wolves to the West’s third-best record;
• Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook, who’s leading the NBA in assists and nearly averaging another triple-double for the playoff-bound Oklahoma City Thunder;
• LaMarcus Aldridge, who went from requesting a trade to holding down the fort in KawhiLeonard’s absence to keep the San Antonio Spurs afloat in the hunt for home-court advantage;
• Draymond Green, still the sneering heartbeat, do-everything defensive marvel and best playmaker on the NBA-best Golden State Warriors;
• Karl-Anthony Towns, a guaranteed 20-and-10 center who’s taken a step forward on the defensive end that’s helped fuel Minnesota’s rise up the standings;
• Klay Thompson, leading the NBA in 3-point percentage as one of the NBA’s most lethal catch-and-shoot options, as well as one of its top backcourt defenders;
• Damian Lillard, who sits seventh in the NBA in scoring while averaging a career-high in assists for a Portland Trail Blazers squad that’s in a tough fight for a playoff berth.
Notable West snubs:
• Paul George, who’s become a supercharged 3-and-D star as a second offensive option in Oklahoma City;
• Chris Paul, who has battled injury but has been tremendous when healthy, teaming with James Harden to lead a Houston Rockets team that looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors’ dominance;
• Lou Williams, one of the great stories of this NBA season, whose instant-offense scoring and career-best facilitating kept the Los Angeles Clippers’ season alive amid a plague of injuries.
Fan voting accounted for 50 percent of the vote to determine the 10-starter pool, while the ballots cast by NBA players and a panel of media members accounted for 25 percent each. Starters were decided upon via a weighted average of each players’ finish under each voting faction, with the fan vote breaking any ties. Coaches selected the 14 reserved announced Tuesday.
With the identities of the 24 All-Stars now known, we move on to the draft, which lamentably will not be televised. As the leading overall vote-getter, James will get the first pick in the draft, which will consist of two rounds — a first, in which James and Curry take their picks from among the other eight starters announced, and a second, in which Curry will get first crack at choosing from the just-announced pool of reserves. While previous All-Star Games featured Eastern players against their Western counterparts, James and Curry will be able to pick players without any regard to conference affiliation.
In the end, we’ll have two 12-man rosters, which will be revealed on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET in a one-hour edition of “TNT NBA Tip-Off.” At some point, everyone will get jerseys. It’ll be a whole thing.
The 2018 NBA All-Star Game will be played at Staples Center in L.A. on Sunday, Feb. 18, at 8 p.m. ET, and broadcast live on TNT.
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