As All-Star weekend draws closer, the questions continue to come up, which are the most deserving to be elected to the mid-February event?
With the starting lineup vote up to the fans, this article will focus solely on the seven reserve spots in each conference decided by the coaches.
This year is especially tough with such great play from young players that have taken their team to the top of their conferences, so these spots can go to several different people but choices need to be made.
Kyrie Irving: Irving will make his first All-Star appearance in just his second year. That is the type of impact he has made already. Despite being on a woeful squad, Irving has been incredible, posting an average of 23 points and five assists. Look for this to be the first of many All-Star honors for Irving.
Deron Williams: Despite having an awful December, Deron Williams is still the leader of a team right in the thick of the playoff picture. As well, the East does not boast the strongest guards in the league, so Williams lucks out in a down year. He is still one of the most complete point guards even though he hasn’t shown much of it so far—he has the body, 6’3” 209 pounds, can shoot (with his wrist healthy) and can facilitate.
Chris Bosh: Bosh is one of the most underrated players in the league now that his Heat have grabbed a ring. After being on the wrong end of many jokes the past two years in South Beach, Bosh has flown under-the-radar posting a PER of 21.59, and scoring 17 points a game as a third option.
Paul George: With Danny Granger out of commission the entire season so far, someone needed to step up in Indiana to keep them competitive. Paul George has filled that void and shows no signs of slowing down. George has seen a large spike in minutes, which has led to him scoring nearly 17 points and has been the reason behind Indiana having the second best defense in basketball, as he defends their best wing player.
Tyson Chandler: With the center position being outlawed for this event now—Chandler is the biggest loser. The Knicks center can not earn the fans vote easily due to the fact that Andrew Bynum is injured. However, he will have to reside to the bench in Houston this year. Chandler has made a huge impact in the middle for the Knicks, giving them a defensive enforcer they have lacked for so long. Chandler plays behind Carmelo Anthony’s spotlight so not many people notice how great the center is playing, making constant impact plays on offense and defense, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Joakim Noah: With Derrick Rose being lost for the first half of the year, the Bulls were put into question. However, Joakim Noah has showed the critics that they have nothing to fear. Noah has posted triple doubles while being slotted at the center position and has put the Bulls poised to make a deep run in the postseason, all thanks to the leadership of Joakim Noah.
Jrue Holiday: Another player that was pushed into a leadership role due to injury is Jrue Holiday. The third year veteran has doubled his career high in assists, just fewer than nine a game, and 18 points a game. Holiday kept the Sixers relevant early on, but they have tailed off as of late falling out of the playoff picture, but no one can deny the greatness of Jrue Holiday.
Notable Snubs: Luol Deng, Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings
James Harden: Harden seemed doomed when he was traded from the Finals runner-up Thunder to Houston. Still, Harden has thrived in Texas—right now he owns a Rockets record 25 plus points in 12 consecutive games. Harden has carried Houston into the playoff picture and seems hell bent on taking this team to the top. Harden is in contention for Most Improved Player of the Year which would look nice on his list of achievements next to his first All-Star appearance.
Russell Westbrook: In a stacked backcourt that will feature Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook’s best season yet will have to be a reserve appearance in the All-Star game. Westbrook has become a much better passer, averaging a career-high eight assists, and is a prime reason the Thunder are at the top of the West and prime for a postseason run.
Blake Griffin: Many thought Griffin was only an athletic power forward that can dunk over cars—this season Griffin has changed many people’s minds. Griffin is averaging nearly 18 points and 7 rebounds in five less minutes than last season, making him one of the most effective players in the league with a PER of 22.23. Griffin has formed a scary duo with Chris Paul that has been highlighted by a 17-game winning streak ranging over a month.
Zach Randolph: Z-Bo has been on an absolute tear this season, averaging 17 and 12 on a nightly basis for the Grizzlies. At 31, Randolph has finally meshed well with his team and has the Grizzlies contending with the likes of the Thunder and Spurs as teams they have already beaten this season. With Randolph posting such career-highs, he will be selected to his second career All-Star game.
Tim Duncan: When will Tim Duncan slow down? At 36, Duncan is maintaining a double double average and the key to success on the third-best record this season. One of the all-time best forwards makes one of his last runs at a ring, and it also pays off with an All-Star appearance.
Stephen Curry: The Warriors were not supposed to be a playoff team, but here they are in mid-January right in the middle of the competitive Western Conference. Give credit when credit is due, so Warriors thank Stephen Curry because the former Davidson hero has carried you to the top of the West. Curry is not only posting highs in points (20) and assists, (6).
David Lee: The Warriors have been so successful that they will be one of several teams to have two players represent them in the All-Star game. Lee has played like his days in New York when he was a walking double double, averaging 19 points and just fewer than 11 rebounds. Lee will be put in with the elite frontcourt players in the West and is well deserving of this honor.
Notable Snubs: Tony Parker, Serge Ibaka, Omer Asik