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Breaking Down The NBA All-Star Reserves: LWOS Roundtable

The NBA All-Star 2016 Reserves have been named, following the announcement of the annual event’s starters a few weeks ago. Did the coaches get it right?

The NBA All-Star 2016 Reserves have been named, following the announcement of the annual event’s starters a couple of weeks ago. So did the coaches get the rest of the team right? Last Word Hoops asked five of its writers to break it all down.

  1. Who is the biggest snub in the Western Conference?

Adam Joseph: Damian Lillard for the second year running, with honorable mentions to DeAndre Jordan and Dirk Nowitzki. 24.3ppg, 4.4rpg and 7.0apg, Lillard may drag the should be lottery bound Blazers into the playoffs. I don’t know what more he could have done to carry his squad considering all the offseason departures. Jordan suffers from the offseason free agency saga and the overhype Doc Rivers has heaped upon him, while Nowitzki deserves a spot if Kobe Bryant is playing.

Matthew Cardenas: Without question, the biggest snub in the Western Conference is Damian Lillard. He is averaging 24 points and 7 assists, and has the Trail Blazers in the playoff hunt after many expected them to be lottery bound. He has embraced the leadership role with the Blazers and is living up to the max contract he signed in the offseason. Lillard has been snubbed quite a few times, going back to the FIBA World Cup with Team USA. He should be in the All Star Game over former teammate LaMarcus Aldridge. Lillard is only going to be more motivated after another snub.

Jack Moon Perrin: DeAndre Jordan. Yes, Damian Lillard is a notable snub due to his important role for the Portland Trailblazers’ offense.  However, Lillard ranks 76th in the NBA and 12th among all point guards in the NBA for Real Plus-Minus (RPM). In contrast, DeAndre Jordan ranks ninth in the NBA and second for all centers for RPM. In addition, Jordan is the focus of the hacking strategy at the end of games that apparently has not hurt his impact on his team’s performance when he is in the game.

Lior Kozai: Damian Lillard. No player to average at least 24 points and seven assists per game in the last 20 years has been excluded from the All Star rosters, until Lillard this season. Furthermore, Lillard and backcourt partner C.J. McCollum have carried the Trail Blazers on offense, enough to surprisingly remain in the playoff race more than halfway through the season.

Jack Hammond: Damian Lillard is the biggest snub, but I am going to argue that Dirk Nowitzki deserves to be an All-Star as well. He is the best player on an overachieving Dallas Mavericks team. He is better this year than last year, averaging 17.5 points per game on 45% shooting. While LaMarcus Aldridge is a great player, Dirk has done more for his team this season and should be on the All-Star team.


  1. Who is the biggest snub in the Eastern Conference?

Adam: Pau Gasol. The Spaniard turns 36 in July, and is playing phenomenally despite his ageing frame. 16.7ppg, 10.9rpg (third highest average of his career), 2.1bpg (tied for a career high) and 3.2apg, Gasol is a pivotal part of the Bulls and is a big reason Joakim Noah has lost his importance in the Windy City. He should be going to Toronto.

Matthew: I would’ve liked to see Pau Gasol make the team. He is still producing at a very high rate for his age. Averaging a double-double at age 35 is very impressive. If the voting system was how it used to be, he could’ve made the team. Although he doesn’t make them at a high percentage, Gasol has been able to knock down the three ball when needed. His post game has always been there and he is one of the best passing big men.

Jack P: Kevin Love. Love has significantly improved his play with LeBron James this season and ranks 13th in the NBA for RPM and third for all power forwards.  The Cleveland Cavaliers have the best record in the Eastern Conference and are only sending one All-Star in contrast to the three All-Stars from the Golden State Warriors in the West. Love is ranked higher than all but nine of the 22 2016 All-Stars.

Lior: Al Horford. Along with All Star teammate Paul Millsap, Horford is very good, but not great, at both ends of the floor. His game isn’t flashy or spectacular in a way that appeals to fans, but Horford’s versatility is crucial to Atlanta’s success. Horford does everything at a B-plus or A-minus level – shooting, passing, post scoring, and rim protection.

Jack H: There is a good case in favor of Kemba Walker deserving the selection over Isaiah Thomas. Charlotte’s recent skid has undermined their early season success. Walker is averaging 20.5 points, 5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. Charlotte has been a much better offensive team this year thanks to Walker’s improvement.


  1. Who shouldn’t have made the Western reserves?

Adam: LaMarcus Aldridge. Despite the sacrifices he has made in moving to San Antonio for more team success, he hasn’t had an outstanding individual season and there are more deserving players (like his ex-teammate Lillard). Here’s another one that might surprise you – James Harden. Should we really be rewarding the guy who got his coach fired, chases empty numbers, leads a should be contender to a .500 record and to boot is -2.3 points worse with him on the floor? I don’t think so.

Matthew: I don’t think LaMarcus Aldridge should’ve made the team. He is having a great season, but not necessarily an All-Star season. And that’s okay, because player’s stats drop a little bit when they play with the Spurs. I feel that the main reason Aldridge received the nod was because of the Spurs record. We usually see the coaches try to reward the teams that are at the top of their conferences with multiple All-Stars.

Jack P: LaMarcus Aldridge. By the numbers, LaMarcus Aldridge should not have made the West reserves. Aldridge has a .51 RPM which is 22nd among all power forwards and 103rd in the entire league.  If another San Antonio Spurs player needed to be added, it should have been Tim Duncan, who is more the sentimental favorite and statistically is third among all centers right behind DeAndre Jordan and DeMarcus Cousins.   

Lior: James Harden. Regardless of what the stats say, Harden showed up to training camp out of shape, caused the firing of a solid coach in Kevin McHale, and has hogged the ball. The Rockets have been a disappointment, and a lack of leadership from Harden has been a major factor in that.

Jack H: LaMarcus Aldridge shouldn’t be an All-Star. I understand that his stats are down because he signed with San Antonio, but I think others are more deserving than him. He isn’t having as big an impact on his team as players like Nowitzki or Lillard.


  1. Who shouldn’t have made the Eastern reserves?

Adam: I don’t actually have any issue with any of the reserves. Although Gasol should feel aggrieved, I can’t argue with the choices made. Two criminally underrated players rightfully made it (Bosh and Millsap). Butler, Wall and Drummond could have been starters while Thomas is the fairy tale story (and a rightful place). I could be talked out of DeRozan, but he’s as good as a perimeter player can be without a gun three point shot.

Matthew: I didn’t have a problem with anyone who made the Eastern Conference All-Star team. All of the players are having great seasons and deserve it. But if there is one who didn’t deserve it as much as everyone else, it has to be Chris Bosh. Don’t get me wrong; he is having a great season after all he went through last season with the blood clots. He deserves it, and he doesn’t deserve it. Like I said, I don’t really have a problem with the East roster.

Jack P: DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan is 91st in the NBA for RPM and tenth among all shooting guards. It seems hard to fathom that the Raptors have more All Stars than the Cavaliers. Worse, DeRozan missed nearly half of the season with a groin injury.

Lior: Isaiah Thomas. Thomas is the main creator on offense for the Celtics, and he’s been excellent in that role. However, Thomas struggles to defend almost anyone because of his height, and many are questioning if Jae Crowder is actually the Celtics’ best player.

Jack H: Isaiah Thomas is the least deserving player in the Eastern Conference lineup, but he’s still deserving to be on the team. He is a great creator on an overachieving Boston team, and it’s a great story to see the last pick in the draft become an All-Star.


  1. Was DeMarcus Cousins right to say fans shouldn’t vote in the starters?

Adam: Yes and no. The All-Star game is about the fans. But if All-Star selections play a big part in determining a player’s career success, a player’s popularity shouldn’t determine whether they get a spot. It should be performance and performance alone. So it’s a question of what the All-Star means to both the fans input and in turn, the players’ legacies.

Matthew: I agree with Boogie. The starters for the All-Star Game have become more based on popularity than actual production. Draymond Green and Jimmy Butler both should be starting. But because of the fans, they aren’t. I understand that Adam Silver wants the fans to be involved, but it has gotten to a point where some players aren’t getting their dues. I also think the roster should be expanded to 15. That would definitely clear up a lot of players getting snubbed.

Jack P: Cousins may have a point technically, but All-Star games are for the fans. The fans pay the high ticket prices. The fans love and support their teams. Give the fans something now and again. In addition, but for the fans, sentimental favorites like Kobe Bryant would not be voted in. Even Bryant admitted he should not be an All-Star based solely on his play this season.

Lior: No, the fans should continue to vote for the starters. After all, this game is essentially meaningless, and is meant almost solely for the fans to enjoy. However, there is a change that needs to be made: All-Star appearances shouldn’t be taken into consideration when deciding if a player should make the Hall of Fame, nor should players have incentives built into their contracts based on receiving a starting spot in the game.

Jack H: Fans should not vote the starters in. The players and coaches should get to vote for who makes the game. They are the ones who face each other every night. They know who the best players are and therefore should get to vote for starters. The NBA should copy what the MLB does, allowing fans to vote for the last member of the All-Star team for each conference.


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