West Reserves: Injuries Make It Tricky

VIDEO: Debating the West All-Star reserves, Part 1

The big news is Golden State point guard and first-time All-Star Stephen Curry beat out the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul in the fan vote and Kevin Love, despite the Timberwolves’ struggles, surged passed Dwight Howard to give the Western Conference two new starters.

Now get set for big controversy: picking the seven reserves for the 63rd All-Star Game on Feb. 16 in New Orleans.

Start with injuries to Paul and Lakers star Kobe Bryant.

Despite playing only six games this season, Bryant was voted by the fans to start alongside Curry. Bryant said Thursday that someone else should play, but he also said he could play a couple minutes — if he’s able. (If he’s not, new commissioner Adam Silver will name a replacement.)

Paul is a different story. On Wednesday, Paul said he would like to play if he is able to return from a separated right shoulder that was expected to keep him out about six weeks. He sustained the injury on Jan. 3.

That makes things a bit complicated for the Western Conference coaches who will select the seven reserves. If healthy, Paul, an MVP candidate before being injured, is an automatic selection. Unsure if Paul, last year’s All-Star Game MVP, will be back in time, coaches might go ahead and select him, then allow for a commissioner’s replacement if he can’t play.

If Bryant can’t play,  an additional spot for a deserving backcourt player will open among a very crowded field of candidates, and introduce another new starter to the mix, possibly James Harden.

Frontcourt selections also won’t come without controversy. Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin join Love as the starters. Howard, who was second in voting after the third returns two weeks ago, will certainly be selected as a reserve, leaving two open spots.

Coaches will select two backcourt players, three frontcourt players and two wild cards. Some might call it Mission Impossible. (For John Schuhmann’s look at the East, click here.)

THE BACKCOURT

Let’s just go ahead and rattle off the candidates: Paul, Harden, Damian Lillard, Tony Parker, Klay Thompson, Mike Conley, Goran Dragic and perhaps even Monta Ellis. (Imagine if Russell Westbrook was healthy.) He’d be an automatic selection, forcing  someone else off the roster. Fact is there will deserving players who won‘t get the call.

My picks: Paul and Harden. Harden is the league’s fifth-leading scorer and also averages 5.4 apg and 4.9 rpg on a contending team. Paul is averaging 19.6 ppg and his 11.2 apg is a league-best by two full assists. He’s a magician, plain and simple.

THE FRONTCOURT

Like point guard, the power forward position in the West could practically fill out an entire All-Star squad, so the process of elimination is going to be tough. Look at all the deserving big boys: Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, David Lee, Serge Ibaka and center DeMarcus Cousins (and Marc Gasol, an All-Star last year, but injured for much of the first half isn’t even in the discussion). Do-it-all small forward Nicolas Batum must be in the discussion.

My picks: Aldridge, Howard and Nowitzki. Aldridge (24.2 ppg, 11.6 rpg) is having a monstrous season for a top team. Howard is averaging 18.6 ppg, 12.6 rpg and 1.8 bpg. Nowitzki was the hard choice, but he’s averaging more than 21 ppg and has surged up the NBA’s all-time scoring list to No. 13 while keeping the Mavs in the playoff hunt.

VIDEO: Debating the West All-Star reserves, Part 2

THE WILD CARDS

Coaches will chose two players regardless of position. Some coaches might use this spot to balance the roster and others might just pick the two most deserving players. Either way, this could take some time for coaches to figure out because of the number of good choices.

This is also where the injuries to Bryant and Paul make it difficult. If both were out, I would suggest Harden will start and Parker would take Harden’s spot as a reserve. Paul’s absence would allow Lillard to take his spot. My wild cards would then be guard Dragic of the Suns and power forward Anthony Davis of the hometown Pelicans.

However, since I believe the coaches will select Paul, and Bryant is a starter as of now, the above scenario is not applicable.

My picks: Parker and Lillard. It’s impossible to understate Parker’s value to the Spurs. He’s averaging 18.4 ppg and 6.3 apg and is shooting an incredible 51.6 percent. Lillard is fearless in the clutch and is draining 3-pointers at a record pace.

80 Comments

  1. biG geRman says:

    dirk nowitzki

  2. Nimoy says:

    Chuck’s pick gave me cancer. wtf? Jordan and Leonard are not deserving candidates! come on! Dragic is putting better numbers than Tony Parker, and in terms of value, Suns wouldn’t be in much better state if it wasn’t for him. Just compare the record of the Suns last year. Compare Dragic’s stats to other PGs. Give the man some credit. He’s an all-star.

    • Jake says:

      Yes, if you compare his stats to his shooting percentage, he’s in the categories of some serious elite players. Plus Suns were dead last in 2013, Bledsoe missed 16 games, and Dragic has carried this team to a playoff race.

  3. James says:

    There is no Bobcats on this list.

  4. sirsparhawk says:

    ROFL cant believe they said all star game isnt about stats and individual seasons. Why else would Carmello and Kyrie be in it. Demarcus should be in it starting over griffin, either Cousins or ALdridge should be center with love at the 4. These clowns need to get real. No1 wants to see Leonard in the all stars, he isnt an all star at all, not while he is on the spurs.

  5. 3 stars and a sun says:

    we want JEREMY LIN!!!!!!!!! #4 in all star voting among west backcourts..trailing to injured CP3 & KOBE…we need JUSTICE!!!!

  6. Straaaaya maaate says:

    Gotta have splash brothers out there serge with the ibkocka and maybe Howard and you got an all star game..

    My reserves: Lilard, Harden, Klay Thompson, Ibaka, Howard, Lamarcus Aldrige and Lin coz I’m Asian :p

    Oh and take Kobe out please.. Goats injured and should be shelved till he’s 100%.. Replace him with cp3 and curry at the 2

  7. Fefe (Nets) says:

    Howard, Aldridge

    Lillard, Parker, Paul

    Dragic, Harden

    If (and I hope it will happen) Bryant doesn’t play in the ASG: just pick up Nowitzki to play instead (no need to have a guard because Lillard, Paul, Parker, Dragic & Harden are guards) …. and let’s not forget that Paul might not play neither

    Westbrook would have been selected but he played half of the games only

  8. bob says:

    we want see lin playin !!! look at the vote numbers.

  9. upset asian says:

    i remember when his 1st return as a rocket in MSG…it was a sellout man!!! the whole asian community supported this kid…the whole ASIA watched him play…cant imagine if there goin to put him as an all star reserved this year….

  10. upset asian says:

    next year the whole ASIA will not participate in voting if J.Lin will not get the nod this year!!!!

  11. luckyjosh says:

    What about Monta Ellis? He is so underrated

  12. Griffin#71 says:

    Chris Paul (LAC)
    James Harden (HOU)
    Dwight Howard (HOU)
    LaMarcus Aldridge (POR)
    Damian Lillard (POR)
    DeMarcus Cousins (SAC)
    Anthony Davis (NOP)

  13. Riza Caver says:

    Why is Chris Paul even in the discussion…He didn’t get voted and he is injured… Don’t make his situation same as Kobe being injured.. Kobe got almost a million votes… We want to see him play even for 2 mins…Remrmber , Chris Paul was not voted by the fans and he is injured….he doesn’t deserve to be in the reserve…Give it to Lillard… Chris Paul situation should be compared to Westbrook…We want to see Westbrook but he is injured and was not voted so he should not be on the all star reserve like Chris Paul…

    • artifex says:

      Paul and Kobe are not comparable.
      Chris Paul played in 34 games this season and is 1st in apg and 3rd in PIE. To say he does not deserve a place is ridiculous. Not saying that I wouldn’t be happy for Dragic to get in, he has a great season.
      If Paul is injured then he’s injured and he should have played 2 or 3 games before the ASG. But if he’s back, he’s back and deserves a place.

  14. Dyron from Belize says:

    Are u kidding me shaq? so teams like the rockets get 2 guys and spurs 0?

  15. allen iverson says:

    people voted to see LIN…since last year to play against the best in the world…why u dont give the FANS a chance to see what they paid for….the whole ASIAAA!!!! is watching….

  16. Jer-Boo says:

    Ok I have to call bulls#it here. Anthony Davis? This kid was push into the Olympic team over many deserving players and now I hear many trying to do the same for the all star team. There was even an article about a year ago that touted him as a future hall of fame; but what has he done? Ok, so his numbers aren’t bad, but this is the western conference; he’s by no means deserving. As for wild cards or injury replacements, I’d love to see a guy like Monta Ellis, mainly because he has more snubs than anyone else. He’s been good for a long time but has never made it because of how good the west lis. I’d pick him over Dirk because he has contributed just as much and deserves to be an all star at lease once. The coaches however will select Dirk and Timmy. Name and fame, that’s what the coaches selections amount to, not necessarily the lesser known players who may be more deserving.

  17. asap raider klan says:

    MONTA ELLIS, CMON HES BEEN SNUBBED FOR YEARS, GIVE THIS MAN A SELECTION

  18. W!ll!e maDDness says:

    Cousins should be the 1st reserve in there with no question.he had one of the best 1st halves out of anyone…..give credit where credit is due!!!!

    • W!ll!e maDDness says:

      Westbrook was hert too much in the 1st half to be in the allstar game. Lilard on the other hand should be in there……and jordan?…..

  19. JM says:

    Give the all star nod to other players other than Tim Tony. We need them healthy come playoffs. We don’t care about some meaningless February game full of man child clowns *coughs*Howard*coughs*. Well, Tim and Tony won’t make it anyway for some “boring” reasons. We’d rather want them to rest the days off. Yah, your all stars can have those nods. Go let them get it. LOL

  20. Riza Caver says:

    We voted for Kobe and Lin…. We want to see them play!!!! If you will not follow the results of the voting….then you should have not wasted our time….

  21. Eusha says:

    Also Chris Paul is not THAT GOOD. westbrook and Curry are both good. And since KD iS on Okc. People thought he would average 15 pts and 5 ast. He averages 21.3 pts, 6 boards, and 7 dimes. Now those are numbers for a true allstar.
    Chris Paul is a bit overrated.
    STARTERS
    CURRY
    KOBE/ HARDEN
    DWIGHT
    LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE
    K DURANT

    BENCH:
    WESTBROOK/ LILLARD
    HARDEN/KOBE
    LOVE/ JORDAN
    GRIFFIN
    BATUM

    • artifex says:

      Chris Paul is NOT THAT GOOD???
      He’s scoring 19.6 ppg, 4.6 reb, and league high 11.2 apg (follwed by Marshall and Curry at 9.5 and 9.2)
      His PIE is 19.2, 3rd behind only KD and LeBron.
      He is definitively among the top 5 players in the league.

  22. Eusha says:

    K. Sure Lillard is good, but look at the numbers
    Curry has 23.5 pts and Lillard has 21 pts

  23. BASKET_ball says:

    Its pretty damn ridiculous that Damien Lillard wasn’t voted as a starter in the ALL-STAR. The only reason Stephen Curry was voted over him was because hes more overhyped, even though Lillard is a better player than him.

  24. NBA GOD says:

    Facts: Kobe Bryant shouldn’t play the game this year. Should leave spot to the best SG in the game right now: James Harden.

    The reserves should be this:

    LaMarcus Aldridge
    Damian Lillard
    James Harden
    Dwight Howard
    Chris Paul
    Tony Parker
    Dirk Nowitzki

  25. Bob says:

    Jeff Caplan must be blind. If he didn’t notice, Lin does has a substantial amount of votes. The fans voted him in, so even if he isn’t a Russell Westbrook, he should be considered based on this democratic process.

  26. Nikole says:

    Guys it’s just a show! It’s not a real game. That’s why fans voted, they want to see the players they love. I’m not surprised why Kobe got voted, apparently, lots of people still want to see him there. I’m rooting for the West!

  27. Veronica says:

    It must be because my original comments were pro-Spurs. That explains it all….just saying.

  28. Veronica says:

    This NBA site blocks all of my comments. What the heck?

  29. kellogs says:

    wow kenny cannot shut his mouth for 5s… how rude.

  30. HurricaneKid says:

    Why do people keep bringing up David Lee? He made his team better… by getting hurt in the playoffs last year.

    He is definitively behind:
    LaMarcus
    Blake Griffin
    KLove
    Anthony Davis
    Dirk
    Boogie
    Duncan
    Ibaka

    Which puts him as the 9th best PF in the Western Conference. Throw in a few Centers and a few SFs and he is WAY out of the picture.

    Dragic gets a $1,000,000.00 bonus for making the AllStar game would be the #1 G in the east if merit were a concern; unfortunately, it looks more and more like he is going to get hosed.

  31. allen iverson says:

    somebody needs to represent ASIA!!!!! and we need JEREMY LIN!!!!…
    think about the big market!!!!!

  32. allen iverson says:

    how about Lin….people wanted to see him too….:(((

  33. Simon Auer says:

    Nobody is speaking of rudy gay , why?

    • artifex says:

      Cause surely he can score. But otherwise he seems to lack – why else would the Raptors climb up the East right after they traded Gay away. And it’s not that he gave the Kings much of a lift either.

  34. Dan says:

    The only problemthat leads to this mess from the voting ballot…is cos we fans only can pick 5 starters….and no reserves for the 2nd 5 reserves pick…so is not all that fans over rated for picking cos we just didnt get the chance to hav the 2nd reserves pick…thats why the two centres out of the list competitive when comes to the final results… it would be much better and closer looks if we can pick 5 starters and 5 reserves …that make it easier counts

  35. Shawn Kemp No. 1 says:

    oh and Kenny and Shaq should STOP YELLING LIKE IDIOTS and let other people talk

  36. Shawn Kemp No. 1 says:

    The Suns should have an All-Star.

  37. Ron says:

    No mention of DeAndre Jordan (LAC)? When was the last time the league leader in rebounds failed to make the All-Star team? Ben Wallace in 2001/02? And then Dennis Rodman in the 90s? By some “advanced” measures he’s a top 3 big man in the whole league. Come on now.

  38. Jabari says:

    Cousins can put up the same numbers on any team in the league. He’s Definitely a top 3 big regardless of playing for a bad team. The numbers speak for themselves. Kevin Love is a starter and the wolves are horrible. Someone please name five bigs playing better than Cousins.

  39. M says:

    about the spurs:
    IMO there should only be one spur on the team which is tony parker.
    why? this team has one of the best records in the league. BUT: in san antonio, its all about the team and the system. the system is the star. this team can win (in the reg season) for a long time even without duncan, ginobili, leonard etc. the only guy they cannot miss is parker.
    so to me, there are other players in the west who carry a lot more and make their teams good.

    my west reserves:
    paul, harden
    aldridge, howard, dirk (dirk is a HOF who is putting up numbers again and helps his team to a playoff spot in the west)
    parker, lillard

    silver should then pic dragic to represent the overachieving suns and either davis for the hometeam, ibaka to have a 2nd player from the best team, or lee, as he is at this stage prob the best out of this 3.
    cousins is prob better then all 3, but plays on a bad team and does not have the home bonus (which is not particulary fair, but to me, part of the game)

  40. Da King says:

    I’d agree 100% if you take out Nowitkzi & replace him with Cousins!
    Also I strongly believe Monta Eliis should be in this!

  41. jonny says:

    Tony Parker is shooting over 50% from the field on the team with the second best record in the nba. His stats r great. he should be a reserve

  42. okc2014 says:

    I don’t think it’s fair that an injured player gets considered (Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant). That’s selfish to play a “couple of minutes” when guys who can and deserve to play should. Howard got snubbed!!!! Reserves should be: Backcourt: Harden, Lillard. Frontcourt: Howard, Aldridge, Cousins (ouch). Wildcards: Serge Ibaka and Anthony Davis. Let’s go West!

  43. Sandra Bibbs says:

    Lakers is my team and has been for over 40 years. I did not vote for kobe this year because he has not really played. I am so glad curry made it. I like Dirk but he should not make it this year. I voted for aldridge. I’m sorry he didn’t make it. They should revise the voting to be 2 guards, 2 forwards and a center. The big men in the east and west was shut out. If a person is a F-C they can be in both categories.

  44. Jean_Phi says:

    I think that if Tony Parker was American, he would receive much more consideration. If he’s not an all-star, that’s a joke. The best player on a top 2 team in the West should grant him a spot.

  45. Judge says:

    what about Dragic? Phoenix is 7th in the west and Dragic is playing exceptional basketball, Paul and Westbrook are injured so Damian Lillard and Dragic would make a great back up team

  46. MAX says:

    teams that are winning? player that can take the ball and do it on his own? stats or not? player that has a big influens on his team? player with a great year’
    well……GORAN DRAGIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!and you didn`t say anything? oh yeah hill tried to say it but kenny..kenny…..well i dont want to be disrespectful!

    GORAN DRAGIC!

  47. jdub455 says:

    finally, howard will not start! kudos to kevin love. West reserves: Aldridge (shld be a starter instead of Mr. KIA Optima), Lillard, Harden (kobe starting, really? o’ cmon!), Howard, parker, anthony davis, and a toss bet. dragic and nowitzki…

  48. dave says:

    Leonard!!!??! Chuck quit being contrairinan to the point of stupidity. and Spurs are NOT even the #1, at best they share it from day to day. so how could you put a 12&6 guy in 3rd place on the AllStar game. Get real Chuck. Kenny wake up, this is a game to recognize individual excellence, -a guy can control the make up of his team and can only elevate chumps so far-stop hating on guys stuck on badly run teams

  49. Owen Cook says:

    I can’t help but feel that the debate on selection criteria is missing something in the ‘excitement factor’.

    Yes, the ‘best’ players in the NBA should be all-stars, but choosing to define that by stats, team record, etc misses the point that the all-star game is an exhibition…a show…a showcase of the best / most exciting players in the league.

    I’m from the UK and it was the all-star game being show at 2am on TV here when I was a kid that got me into basketball in the first place. The aim of it is to boost the popularity and reach of the league while recognising and rewarding those players who are making an impact and exciting crowds and fans. With the most respect to the likes of Duncan and Leonard (I love the Spurs by the way – so this is tough to say it) probably don’t belong in the conversation…maybe Parker too, though he’s such a creative player I’d sit on the fence of that decision…

  50. advance stats says:

    Dwight Howard should NOT be an all-star. He is not the best player on his team. And if Houston (5th in the West) can have two guys there than it means that 4 better teams on West should have AT LEAST two guys. Since Kobe, Love and Curry are voted in that is not possibe and also that means that no other team has their representatives at All-Star game (Dallas, Phoenix). If we go by stats than DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis (home kid), LaMarcus Aldridge and Dirk Nowitzki are all better than him.

  51. Owen Cook says:

    I can’t help but feel that the debate on selection criteria is missing something in the ‘excitement factor’.

    Yes, the ‘best’ players in the NBA should be all-stars, but choosing to define that by stats, team record, etc misses the point that the all-star game is an exhibition…a show…a showcase of the best / most exciting players in the league.

    I’m from the UK and it was the all-star game being show at 2am on TV here when I was a kid that got me into basketball in the first place. The aim of it is to boost the popularity and reach of the league while recognising and rewarding those players who are making an impact and exciting crowds and fans. With the most respect to the likes of Duncan and Leonard (I love the Spurs by the way – so this is tough to say it) probably don’t belong in the conversation…maybe Parker too, though he’s such a creative player I’d sit on the fence of that decision…

  52. dave says:

    vinsanefan- you better check D-Cousins MPG and then take a second look at those numbers. plenty of opportunity yes, but his talent transcends when hes doing it in less minutes than anyone else in the top tens..and thats with him only caring 80% of the time! lol

  53. kek says:

    Tony Parker should be a lock in my opinion, maybe his numbers doesnt show it this year, but he puts up numbers when he has to, and he is with out a doubt a top 3 PG in the league, for PF id take Nowitzki and Aldridge, aldridge is a lock and it would be an outrage if he didnt make it, but im a Mavs fan and I think nowitzki deserves to be in, he is averaging 21 ppg shooting a good percentage, his rebounding isnt very good but that was expected:)

  54. bpatton says:

    How can one say that Tony Parker does not deserve consideration, with what he has done for one of the best teams in the league thus far! This just shows that fans thoughts are more overate than the players themselves!

  55. Siah says:

    Kevin Love, Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving, and Carmelo Anthony are all on bottom-of-the-barrel teams. You cant say that these guys deserve to be there but everyone else’s numbers on a bad team are inflated and they are unworthy. Either the numbers dont lie and the starters are legit or you need to disagree with the statement that they are great players.

    • Boston#1 says:

      Chuck and Kenny are messed up in their thinking, Shaq is right. To say that Kevin Love doesn’t deserve the spot he got because his team isn’t winning is a joke. One guy can’t carry a team. If Kevin Love doesn’t deserve a spot then neither does Carmelo by that logic and we all know that Carmelo is one of the best players in the league. The one starter who didn’t deserve a spot is Kobe. I don’t care how good he has been in the past, he has done nothing this season and that’s all that matters. Of course these guys didn’t mention that one. Harden should be starting in place of Kobe.

      • Dr. Lynch says:

        That just goes to show that even with no productivity this season kobe is still respected and he very well should be, once someone has accomplished the things he has in his career you get more leeway, and the people decided who they want to see and thats final, its not all about stats historically speaking in the All-Star its about Popularity

      • james says:

        harden isnt popular enough to start. paul and lin was next on the voting

  56. vinsanefan says:

    Demarcus is putting up huge numbers and definitely deserves some serious all-star consideration, but it’s inaccurate to say that he’s better than a lot of other players just because he has gaudier stats. He happens to play for a talent deficient Kings team and he ends up with a lot of minutes and a lot of shots. He doesn’t have to defer to anyone whereas a player like Dwight has to share the offensive load with another legitimate star in Harden, and other talented players like Parsons, Lin, etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      Um he’s averaging like 35 minutes and maybe 20 shots…..idiot….

    • Harris says:

      The only reason why Cousins would not be in All-Star game is that the Kings are really bad and his poor reputation.

      He plays less minutes (32.0) than any of the other players possible of making the All Star game and yet, has one of the best stats. Cousins also shares the offensive load with Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas, both with around 15 FGA per game (which is more than Parsons) so it is not true to say that Cousins is only having big stats because he is a one man team.

  57. RC says:

    DeMarcus Cousins is 1 of 4 players averagning 20+ ppg & 10+ rpg & would be a farce if he’s not an All Star. I wouldn’t even throw Tony Parker in the discussion this season. Where does Dirk or Dwight Howard even receive consideration over Cousins, David Lee or LA (LaMarcus Aldridge) at the big spots. I’d even take Iblocka (Serge Ibaka), Anthony Davis, Nicolas Batum or Nikola Pekovic over Dirk.

    • J8 says:

      Despite putting up numbers, cousin’s team is the 2nd worst team in a conference where nearly every team is hovering around the .500 mark. Even the lakers have a better record than the kings at the moment, so it’ is easy to see why they’ve left cousins off the ballot.

    • Jim says:

      You have no clue about the game, man. Dirk is averaging 21 ppg, 6 rpg, 3 apg, 1bpg, 1 apg, and almost a 50/40/90 season. Have more respect for a mvp, finals mvp, nba champ, 12 time allstar and one of the greatest shooters in the game before you put names like pokovic infront of him. Idiot.

    • bunbury says:

      f-alridge; f-lee
      c-howard
      g-harden; g- lillard

      the last two spots s/b parker and nowitzki

    • MrNBA says:

      It’s easy to put up good numbers when you’re playing for a bad team. So good players from below .500 teams should never be considered. David Lee is a nobody if it wasn’t for Curry. Same goes for Ibaka if it wasn’t for Durant. And please compare Pekovic’s stats to Dirk’s. The Wolves are 10th/11th in the West despite having a more talented roster than the Mavs. Dirk, TP and sadly, Dwight, deserve a spot.

    • pKone says:

      Like it or not Winning IS a stat.

      A really big one! And since coaches are picking, qualities of character will also come into question.

      D-Cous is a great center and has a chance to be the BEST center in the west.

      My hope is that not making the All-Star cut will drive home that scoring and boarding like a beast is not enough. It isn’t enough for the All-Star game and it isn’t enough for the Playoffs. Then he will come back re-focused on being a leader and a defensive Beast as well.

      THEN you’ll have something to be happy about: A playoff run :)