You fans did well voting in the All-Star starters. I understand voting in Kobe Bryant, even if his play this season hasn’t merited it. I’ll forgive you for the Dwyane Wade votes. We’ll just ignore the Zaza Pachulia thing and pretend it never happened.
But who should be the reserves?
The 30 NBA coaches — or, in reality, whatever assistant coach/media director/locker room staff guy more than a few pawn the job off on — will have the official votes. They will choose a full second team of two guards and three front court players, then have two wild card spots (bringing the full roster to 12).
Before the coaches get to it, we here at PBT made our picks for you to argue with us about (it’s not easy with those final cuts/picks).
There were four players we all agreed upon — John Wall, Jimmy Butler, Paul Millsap, and Andre Drummond. Here are our explanations for the rest.
Kurt Helin: The last spot in the East was particularly tough. Back when Sean and I discussed this on the PBT Podcast, I had some different answers, but thinking about it over the course of the week led me to change my mind. John Wall has earned a wild card spot carrying the Wizards, and with that final spot I went with the deserving Toronto guy over the deserving Isaiah Thomas or Al Horford or Pau Gasol, any of whom would have been a reasonable choice.
Dan Feldman: My criteria gives the nod to Wall over DeMar DeRozan, who has had a better half season. I’m just not sold quite enough yet on DeRozan, who came close. My system also had Kevin Love in the running with players producing more this season like Reggie Jackson and Isaiah Thomas, two point guards who deserved strong consideration.
Sean Highkin: Nicolas Batum is having a career year and is in large part responsible for the Hornets’ success even in spite of the injury to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. And Thomas has been great since moving to a full-time starting role in Boston. Both deserve their first career nods.
Again four players are agreed upon by all: Draymond Green, Chris Paul, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins. We also were in agreement that Zaza Pachulia should not make the cut.
Kurt Helin: To me, six of these were almost must haves. For the final Wild Card spot, again there were a lot of deserving players, but the Warriors big three needs to be there and be represented.
Dan Feldman: The final spot was wide open with Jordan just edging Damian Lillard, who led a pack that also included Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gobert, Dwight Howard and Klay Thompson. If only Kobe Bryant didn’t occupy a starting spot, Lillard would’ve made the cut. (Ditto DeRozan over Dwyane Wade in the East.)
Sean Highkin: No first-timers here except for Green. I left Blake Griffin off my list because of missed time, but everything else is pretty straightforward. But given the fan voting, the NBA almost has to find a way for Zaza Pachulia to be involved somehow.