The full rosters for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game have been announced. There have been hits and misses, as there always is, with both the fan voting and the Reserve selection. In a season that has seen great passing, fast scoring, and clutch buckets less than halfway through the year, there were bound to be some toes that got stepped on. Here is my take on what has me scratching my head or nodding it in approval.
Let’s first start with the starters. In the West, Steph Curry lead all NBA players in votes. This is only a testament to the great body of work Curry has put in so far, leading his team on both ends of the floor. Kobe Bryant does not seem to go away, despite having his third season ending injury in as many seasons. Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol are all not surprising starters here. Each player is finding great success, and their teams records show this.
On to the East. Lebron James came in second for fan voting and lead the East. Although he has missed some time due to injury, James is still as talented as ever. John Wall and Kyle Lowry dethrone main stay All Star guards like Dwayne Wade and Derrick Rose as a testament to their great seasons. Wall has the Wizards in second place in the Eastern Conference and Lowry leads his likely playoff bound Toronto Raptors in scoring and assists. Pau Gasol got a very deserving All Star nod. His career looks revived as he is playing out of his mind for the Chicago Bulls. Finally Carmelo Anthony rounds out the East is a surprising vote for me. Although he is putting up decent numbers, his team cannot seem to win a game.
For the reserves the West has regulars like Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and James Harden. Joining them are Lamarcus Aldridge, who has been playing very well in Portlant, and first time All Star Klay Thompson, who just last week scored 37 points in one quarter. It is a shock that Demarcus Cousins nor Damien Lillard find themselves going to New York for the Mid-Season Classic. Cousins is leading his team in points, at 23.8 and rebounds, at 12.3. He in my opinion is a smarter pick than Kevin Durant. Despite probably being the second best basketball player today, Kevin has missed too many games to injury to truly deserve this All Star nod. He has the past body of work to be called an All Star, but not this season. I believe Lillard will eventually sneak into the game, replacing the injured Bryant who had season ending surgery on his rotator cuff recently. Look for Lillard to prove he belongs in a big way.
The reserves for the East are a little less controversial. Regulars Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade, are joined by the Hawks trio that has given Atlanta control of the East; Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford, along with Kyrie Irving, and Jimmy Butler, two young players who can take control of the league in the very near future. I cannot think of anyone getting snubbed in this case. The Hawks trio could have been joined by teammate Kyle Korver, who is shooting 53% from beyond the arc. But I don’t think that if he were on another team putting up the same number he’d be selected. The Bucks Brandon Knight may have a case to be a backup guard, averaging 17.9 points per game. But again, his numbers may be just shy of All Star worthy recognition. Finally, Magic center Nikola Vucevic is averaging a double double in Orlando with 19.5 points and 11.5 rebounds. It may have been the fact that his team’s record is only 15-33 that excluded him from the festivities.
I think this will be as exciting an All Star Game the NBA has seen in a few years. The teams are stacked with outgoing stars and incoming talent. I think the West wins this matchup 161-157. Have fun in New York basketball fans!