Tonight, the seven reserves from each conference for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game have been announced. Chosen in a vote by the league's head coaches - as opposed to the split fan/player/media vote that decided the starters - the picks they made are as follows:
EASTERN CONFERENCE: Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), Bradley Beal, John Wall (both Washington Wizards) Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kristaps Porzingis (New York Knicks), Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers), Al Horford (Boston Celtics)
WESTERN CONFERENCE: Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder), LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs), Draymond Green, Klay Thompson (both Golden State Warriors), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns (both Minnesota Timberwolves)
There are of course some notable omissions from those lists. Players significant by their absence include (but are not limited to) Kemba Walker, Lou Williams, Carmelo Anthony (his first missed All-Star game since 2010), Devin Booker, Nikola Jokic, Andre Drummond, Dwight Howard, Ben Simmons and Kawhi Leonard (with injury of course a significant factor in play in Kawhi's case). With the roster limit a finite number, some players will always lose out.
Perhaps the biggest omission might be Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Scoring 20.8 points per game to go along with 5.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists, while leading the league in steals, George has been an excellent second fiddle to Russell Westbrook, the exact task he has been charged with doing. His omission is a significant one, and a clear talking point going forward.
At least one prominent snub has had his say already.
Nevertheless, snubs are inevitable, be they real or perceived. Williams has been playing superb basketball this season, yet so has George, and so have the chosen players. Rightly or otherwise, these are the players that will play. Now it remains only to decide who with.
Regardless of their conference affiliations up until now, all of these players will be entered along with the other eight starters - Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis - into the inaugural All-Star Draft. Leading Conference vote-getters LeBron James and Steph Curry will now divvy up the remaining 22 players pick by pick, no matter what conference each player's team play in.
The draft will take place in the early hours of Friday morning. We will have reaction on GiveMeSport following that, as a part of our lengthy build-up towards the 2018 All-Star Weekend.News Now - Sport News