2016 NBA All-Star Game: Selecting The Reserves

January 11, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) dribbles the basketball against Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Heat 111-103. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
January 11, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) dribbles the basketball against Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh (1) during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Heat 111-103. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /
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2016 NBA All-Star Game
Jan 9, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford (15) scores off a pass over Chicago Bulls center Pau Gasol (16) during the second half at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the Bulls 120-105. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

East Snubs

Pau Gasol — The Bulls’ record would normally be good enough to deserve a second All-Star in the East, but this conference has improved across the board, so Gasol just misses the cut despite his solid stat line of 16.6 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 blocks per game.

Al Horford — You could make a strong case for Al Horford in Isaiah Thomas’ All-Star spot, since his impact goes far beyond the 15.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 blocks per game he’s averaging. But something tells me the Hawks’ regression compared to last year’s 60-win campaign will cost them an extra All-Star, especially with Horford’s numbers pretty much the same as last year.

Reggie Jackson — Don’t get me wrong, Reggie Jackson is living up to his highly criticized five-year, $80 million contract extension. If he had been posting 19.3 points, 6.5 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game for a 25-21 Pistons team last year, he would’ve been an All-Star. But the field is just too full to justify him getting in over some of our other candidates on the list.

2016 NBA All-Star Game
Jan 21, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) and guard Kyrie Irving (2) celebrate in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

Kevin Love — The Cleveland Cavaliers deserve multiple All-Stars more than any team in the East with a 32-12 record, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any advocates of Love this season with the stretch-4 averaging 15.7 points and 10.8 rebounds per game on 41.8 percent shooting. Despite what general manager David Griffin says, Love is probably closer to the trade block than the All-Star Game.

Kyrie Irving — Normally Kyrie Irving would receive strong consideration for an All-Star spot, since he’s an electrifying player on the East’s best team and has already won an All-Star Game MVP. But he’s only played 18 games this season and hasn’t looked anything like himself, averaging a meager 15.4 points and 3.8 assists per game on 40.8 percent shooting.

Hassan Whiteside — Sorry, but the league’s leading shot-blocker isn’t All-Star material just yet. Though he’s clearly enjoying a breakout season at 12.3 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game on 61.3 percent shooting, there are too many superior options in front of him, especially since the Heat will already have one or two All-Stars this year.

2016 NBA All-Star Game
Dec 26, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford talks with guard Nicolas Batum (5) and guard Kemba Walker (15) during the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Hornets defeated the Grizzlies 98-92. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports /

Kemba Walker — Walker is probably more deserving of All-Star consideration than people are giving him credit for, especially after a 52-point outing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and a 40-point performance just a few days after that. But even Kemba’s more efficient shooting and his 20.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game don’t distract from the Charlotte Hornets‘ recent 7-14 skid.

Nicolas Batum — Like Walker, Batum’s All-Star chances are hurt by Charlotte’s rough start to 2016, especially since Batum has been injured over the last few weeks. Had he been able to stay healthy, his 15.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game would be worthy of consideration, especially since his arrival helped the team overcome the losses of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Al Jefferson to injury.

2016 NBA All-Star Game
Jan 8, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) drive to the basket against Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) during first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

Nikola Vucevic — I love Vucci Mane, but with the Orlando Magic dropping 11 of their last 12 games, you could hardly make a case for anyone on this once surprising squad to make the All-Star Game. Vucevic’s 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game are nice, but he’s not well-rounded enough (especially on the defensive end) to warrant serious consideration.

Brook Lopez — Purely from a statistical standpoint, Brook Lopez would have a strong case for the All-Star Game with his averages of 19.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. But I’m sorry, any team that is 12-34 like the Brooklyn Nets does not deserve an All-Star.

Jae Crowder — After signing a five-year, $35 million extension this summer, Crowder is clearly living up to his summer contract while averaging 14.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game on .449/.361/.827 shooting splits. Unfortunately, his solid two-way play doesn’t quite move him past Isaiah Thomas in terms of All-Star merit.

2016 NBA All-Star Game
Nov 30, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8) gets pressure from Milwaukee Bucks center Greg Monroe (15) and guard Khris Middleton (22) in the first quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

Greg Monroe — Monroe is having a career year in his first season with the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 16.2 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game on 51.6 percent shooting. But considering the Bucks’ record and how Milwaukee’s defense has plummeted from second overall in defensive rating last year to a bottom-five unit his year, it’d be shocking to see him selected as a reserve.

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Khris Middleton — Likewise, Middleton’s numbers aren’t enough to make people forget about Milwaukee’s standing with a 20-27 record. Though Middleton has come on strong over the last few weeks, his 17.9 points, 4.0 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game probably haven’t been enough to grab the attention of head coaches around the league.