Three Atlanta Hawks have been named All-Stars. What incredible volumes it speaks of the team’s performance in 2014-2015 thus far that such an achievement ranks as a relative disappointment. The league revealed the coaches’ choices for All-Star Game reserves today, and Atlanta’s Kyle Korver and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard were among those left off rosters of their respective conferences – for now.
Without further ado, the 2015 All-Star Game reserves – with some quick and dirty analysis on those “snubbed” following each team:
Eastern Conference Reserves
- Jimmy Butler
- Kyrie Irving
- Jeff Teague
- Dwyane Wade
- Chris Bosh
- Al Horford
- Paul Millsap
Korver is enjoying the best shooting performance in league history, and is the fulcrum from which Atlanta’s fifth-ranked offense swings – his on- and off- court offensive ratings are his team’s top marks. The supreme gravity Korver’s threat provides basically allows the Hawks to play 4-on-4 and his three All-Star teammates to thrive. Obviously, he’s a deserving choice.
All that said, Korver will likely be joining Horford, Millsap, and Teague in New York as injury replacement for Wade. Perhaps there’s a case for Brandon Knight, Kevin Love, Nikola Vucevic, Greg Monroe, or another so-so candidate, but we’d much prefer if the league honors the Hawks’ remarkable first half.
Western Conference Reserves
- James Harden
- Chris Paul
- Klay Thompson
- Russell Westbrook
- LaMarcus Aldridge
- Tim Duncan
- Kevin Durant
DeMarcus Cousins joins Lillard as the West’s biggest snub. It bears mentioning that one of the two will likely be selected by commissioner Adam Silver as a replacement for the injured Kobe Bryant. Both players would surely have made the team in the Eastern Conference, and there’s a case to be made that each is as deserving as most any reserve selected.
Personally, we’d have chosen Lillard over Aldridge as the resident Trail Blazer. The third-year point guard has made a leap to elite this season few saw coming, while his frontcourt mate – despite adding a dash of three-point range – has largely stalled as a high-usage, average efficiency scoring hub. Lillard makes Portland go.
Cousins’ dominance is nearly unmatched. But team success matters to the coaches, and the 16-28 Kings have been out of playoff contention since Boogie missed 10 games in early December with viral meningitis and Vivek Ranadive made the rash decision to fire Mike Malone. Cousins deserved a spot; he’ll be awarded many of them throughout his career.
The coaches owe similar apologies to Mike Conley and Zach Randolph, Dwight Howard, Draymond Green, and Monta Ellis, Tyson Chandler, and Dirk Nowitzki. The West is a monster.
We’ll keep you updated as injury replacements for Bryant and Wade are named.
What do you think?
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