NBA All-Star 2018: Western Reserves

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January 21, 2018 9:12 pm

The all-star starters have been chosen by the fans, media and players. Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis are the western conference’s starting frontcourt. Steph Curry (who is the leading vote getter for the West) and James Harden are the back court. Now, it’s time to fill the rest of the places. While it’s true that the All-star game format will be different this year, selection of players for the pool, will be the same. With the starters chosen, now the 8 reserves for each conference are to be chosen by the coaches of the conference. After that, the 2 captains (highest vote getters in each conference), LeBron James and Steph Curry will choose teams from the pool of starters and reserves.

In this article, there are the 8 players from the Western Conference who deserve to be selected for the all-star game. The selection process will follow the existing all-star selection rules, of choosing 2 guards, 3 front court players and 2 wild cards for 7 total.

Here are our predicted Western Conference Reserves

Honourable mentions to: Klay Thompson, Paul George, Blake Griffin, Lou Williams, Nikola Jokic.

Russell Westbrook (6x All Star)

24.8ppg, 9.7rpg, 9.9apg, 2.0 spg.

This choice is a no brainer. It is likely Westbrook will get the most points from other coaches and why not? He would have nearly made the starting list. Once again, the reigning MVP is averaging a near triple double and over 2 steals a game. He has started to develop his chemistry with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George, as the Thunder are trying to make this year work.

Westbrook, while his shooting has been off, has now started to dominate and improve his shooting performances. He is still a man who will take a clutch shot in the dying moments, and carries the weights and expectations of an entire city on his back.

If anything, the explosive and athletic guard, who is a 2x All-star game MVP who has scored 30 points in each of the last 3 games, will make the game fun to watch. Especially, if he is picked in a team with Durant on the other team.

Chris Paul (9x All Star)

18.7ppg, 5.7 rpg, 9.1 apg, 1.8 spg.

Paul was involved in the trade of the season when he left LA to link up with James Harden at Houston. The doubts have been dispelled if Houston can survive with 2 ball-dominant point guards. They have complemented each other and now, Houston look like a genuine threat to the Warriors domination. Recently, with James Harden out, Paul has been leading the team. Now they are back, it’s up to them to forge a stronger partnership in time for the playoffs.

In terms of his performance, he is still maintaining near similar career averages in points, assists and steals. His rebounding is at a career high (career average 4.5). His shooting overall has slightly gone down, but this is due to the faster tempo that Houston play at. However, his arrival has really helped bolster the defence of a team that completely lacked one last season.

Paul, who has had 6 point-assist double-doubles (he did not play in 2009-10), has a career average of 13.25 assists a game in the all-star game. That’s an NBA record and he is under 20 assists away from breaking Magic Johnson’s record for number of assists. If they start to play more real defence in the all-star game this year, Paul is one you’d want on your team.

LaMarcus Aldridge (5x All Star)

22.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.9apg, 1.1bpg.

With Kawhi Leonard having an injury filled season, LaMarcus Aldridge has finally made this season as his own with the Spurs. The former Portland big man has become the leader of an experienced machine and has led the Spurs to a 30-17 record (on pace for the 50th win of their season). This has been his finest season with San Antonio to date.

His scoring and rebounding are well above his career averages (he has scored more points a game only in 2 other seasons). He has started taking more 3-point shots than in any other season of his career as he tries to keep the Spurs in playoff contention. While in the future this is Leonard’s team, Aldridge has more than stepped up to the task of making this team his for the season.

Aldridge has not experienced much success in the all-star game. If he gets selected, he would like to put up good numbers in the game.

Draymond Green (2x All Star)

11.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 7.6 apg, 1.3 spg, 1.3 bpg.

Draymond Green has become a key member of the Warriors dynasty. With Durant, Thompson and Curry in the team, he does not need to be an offensive oriented player. What he lacks in firepower, he more than compensates in defence and guarding the spirit of the team. A brilliant trash-talker and getting under the nerves of his rivals? He maintains the morale of the team and is good provider of the ball.

The defensive player of the year, is once again a front runner for this award. Not only is he a key presence on the boards, he chips in with blocked shots, steals and when attacking? His 7.6 assists a night and 7.9 rebounds a night lead the team. While his 3-point shooting percentage has taken a small dip, he has become an efficient shooter from inside the arc. His 45% field goal accuracy (30.5% from 3-point and 57.4% from within) are career highs. He is also shooting 77% from the free-throw line, up from a career average of 70%.

His all-star game performance last year was typical of Draymond. Not much offence, but was present on the boards and providing for this team mates. If Draymond is drafted on different all-star teams to his warrior teammates, it will certainly be fun to see him defend against them.

Karl-Anthony Towns (No All Star Selection)

20.1 ppg, 12.1 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.6bpg.

Last seasons, Towns was the only player to score over 2000 points, grab 1000 rebounds and shoot a 100 3-pointers in the regular season. This season, his production has taken a small hit, but with an average of a double-double for over 2 and half consecutive seasons, it’s time for the for the big man to make his all-star debut.

This season, the young man is averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds with 1.6 blocks a night on a strong Timberwolves team. His scoring has come down as he is attempting 14 shots a night instead of 18 last season. What has changed is his shooting. He is shooting an impressive 40% from 3-point range (on 3.7 attempts a night) and making more than 53% of his field goals. He has played a big role in the new.

Towns will be a future regular selection of the all-star game in the future. He has managed to shine even in a packed Western Conference and deserves his first call for the event at LA this year.

Jimmy Butler (3x All Star)

21.7ppg, 5.4 rpg, 5.0 apg, 2.0 spg.

When Jimmy Butler was traded to Minnesota, it was clear the Timberwolves were ready to challenge for the playoffs. Butler, in a new team has now taken over the leadership of the young T-wolves. His presence has been felt on the court (offence and defence) and off it, as he is not scared of calling out his young team mates.

Butler, is having number slightly lower than his exceptional 2016-17 season at Chicago. What he lost in absolute numbers, he has made up in efficiency. He is shooting a career high field goal percentage (47.6% on 15.5 shots), and 50.9% with 2 pointers. His 87.5% free throw percentage is a career high as well. His defensive effort is seen with 2 steals a night. It’s no surprise that Butler has been a 3x All-defensive team player

In the previous all-star games Butler has been relatively quiet in all 3 appearances, having taken 8 field goals in 3 games. He would be hoping to be more aggressive this time around. Any captain that picks him in the draft, would have a strong voice and motivator on their team.

Damian Lillard (2x All Star)

25.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 6.5apg, 1.1 spg

Lillard can take claim to the fact of being the greatest snub in All-star history. In the previous 2 seasons, Lillard averaged 26 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists a night. Yet he never got a nod for the game. As stated above, his numbers are all-star worthy. Taking advantage of the struggles of other teams, Portland led by Lillard have once again crept back into playoff contention.

Despite a couple of minor injuries, he has more than deserved his spot in the matches played so far. 25 points and 6 assists and almost 5 rebounds are excellent numbers. And he is shooting a fairly decent 42.8% and over 90% from the foul line.

Lillard had little time over his last 2 all-star outings. With him being snubbed and knowing it, he has more than justified his selection for this event, and will want to show everyone he is up there with the best point guards in the league.

Check out our Eastern Conference Reserves here

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