With only one day remaining until the All-Star reserves are announced on TNT, here are KJG’s predictions for who the reserves should be.
The league rules dictate that each conference has to select two backcourt, three frontcourt and two wildcard players (any position) to fill out the reserve roles. Here come the predictions:
James Harden (Houston Rockets) 25.9 ppg, 5.4 apg, 4.5 rpg
While the Oklahoma City Thunder unwillingly parted ways with Harden, the league celebrated. By moving to Houston, Harden was guaranteed a starting role and an opportunity to truly blossom as the main go-to guy of a team. Despite shooting a poor 28% from the field in his last 5 games, Harden is 5th in the league in scoring and is a lock in this year’s All-Star game.
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) 23 ppg, 8.2 apg, 5.3 rpg
Westbrook will team up with his former teammate to form the reserve backcourt in the West. The biggest improvement in Westbrook’s game this season is his assists. Last year he averaged 5.5 assists per game, but this year he has done a better job creating for others, while still scoring at the same pace as last year.
Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs) 17.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.7 blkpg
At 36 years of age, Tim Duncan still has a thing or two to teach the up-and-coming generation of frontcourt players. Duncan’s numbers are better across the board compared to last year and perhaps the most impressive stat is his free throw shooting. Duncan has been phenomenal at the line this year, converting on 82.6% of his attempts, which is significantly better than his 69.1% career average. Duncan might be considered to be boring, but he is a clear-cut All-Star this year.
David Lee (Golden State Warriors) 19.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.7 apg
The Golden State Warriors have been a pleasant surprise this season. Even without Andrew Bogut in the lineup, the Warriors are 25-15, good for 5th spot in the West. In Bogut’s absence David Lee has been a dominant double-double machine. His numbers might not be quite as good as they were in 2010, when Lee made his All-Star debut, but they are pretty close, and Lee deserves credit for Warriors surprisingly good season.
Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies) 13.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.8 blkpg
Marc Gasol gets the nod ahead of his teammate Zach Randolph thanks to his complete all-around game. Gasol is very solid across the board, and aside of the above stats he ranks 2nd in the league in assists among centers. He broke through as an All-Star last year and has made a strong case for himself this year.
Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors) 20.7 ppg, 6.6 apg, 4.1 rpg
It’s great to see Curry healthy and not bothered by his persistent ankle problems. He is having a great year and is quickly developing into one of the best guards in the West. He has showed an ability to run the Warriors offense as the primary ball-handler, but has also been great playing off the ball. Curry is an excellent shooter and can create his own shot by either taking defenders off the dribble, or using off-ball screens to get himself open.
LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers) 20.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.3 blkpg
Aldridge made his All-Star debut last year and should be making a return this year. With Damian Lillard by his side, Aldridge has helped the Blazers remain somewhat relevant in a very competitive Western conference, as the team is currently 1 game outside of a playoff spot.
Honorable Mentions: Tony Parker, Serge Ibaka, Jamal Crawford, Zach Randolph
Disagree with the predictions? Give us your take in the comment section below.