If there is an overlying consensus on this list, it’s that the East has been both fun and chaotic. The Cleveland Cavaliers have encapsulated both as you probably don't even remember them losing Colin Sexton and Ricky Rubio early in the season.
Their success has largely been a group effort but they have had a statistical star. Joel Embiid is the obvious best center in the East and Giannis Antetokounmpo could be a center, depending on how you think about basketball. The next best center in the conference, if you really think about it, is Jarrett Allen.
Averaging 16.9 points on 68.0 percent shooting with 10.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game, Allen has been terrorizing teams on both ends. On offense, he's the perfect lob partner for Garland. On defense, you might as well call him Rudy Fro-bert.
To think, the Brooklyn Nets were itching to get rid of this guy in the James Harden trade. Now, he's a cog on one of the most exciting young teams in the league. – Migs Flores
LaMelo Ball is made for the All-Star Game. He's a player we regularly see in the daily NBA Top Plays. No-look passes and between-the-legs lobs? Yup, that's pretty much right down LaMelo's alley.
The Charlotte Hornets have a huge chance of making the playoffs because of the exciting brand of basketball they've been playing this season, thanks to Ball and Miles Bridges. LaMelo has been spectacular, averaging a pretty damn good 20-7-8 line. He’s like the reincarnation of Jason Williams but with a higher basketball IQ and reliable range.
Think of the All-Star Game as ice cream and LaMelo Ball is the chocolate syrup and rainbow sprinkles that you put on top to make it more enticing. That’s just how fun he is to watch. Imagine having the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zach LaVine at his disposal.
What's the over/under for LaMelo lobs in the All-Star Game? Take the over! — JC Ansis
This is a gentle reminder that Jimmy Butler was two fresh legs and a healthy lung away from being an NBA champion just two years ago. Remember that photo of him–exhausted, steam coming out from his body, his soul desperately latching on to fight another Finals game against a dangerously-inspired Los Angeles Lakers team? Yeah, that was just two years ago.
Jimmy is still that dude. Except he’s no longer exhausted, he’s no longer stuck in a bubble, and he’s got help. In the multiverse, there’s a version where Butler and the Heat pushed the Lakers to a Game 7 and brought back the championship to Miami. Then Butler wouldn’t be in this All-Star reserves article. There’s also a version where Butler left it all out on the floor but still came up short. He waited for two years to catch his breath and–as if a covert operation–is now silently infiltrating the league as an All-Star reserve, then boom, brings the Heat back to the finals. That could be the version we’re in right now.
Get Jimmy Butler on that All-Star bench and put a mic on him. – Jon Carlos Rodriguez
Wouldn’t it be cool to have a guy from the Cavaliers actually represent his home court in the All-Star Game? Picture this, a sea of Cleveland fans go crazy as Darius Garland enters the floor. Wild! And honestly, it isn’t so far-fetched.
People keep writing him off year after year but Garland is persisting and powering through it all. He may be in the running for Most Improved Player after what he’s shown so far. In his last 10 games, the young guard is averaging 20.1 points and 11.3 assists. The Cavaliers were hit by one injury after another but Garland continued to seize the opportunity that opened up because of this. – Renee Ticzon
They say growth isn’t linear and Tyler Herro is a prime example of that. After breaking into basketball consciousness with his performance in the 2020 bubble, his second year in the league didn’t live up to expectations. Was he all glitz and glamor? Was he just a sporadic scorer? Maybe having a song named after you by Jack Harlow during the preseason gave unwanted pressure.
Turns out, Herro just needed a little more time. Maybe that song “Tyler Herro” just needs a few more runs on your playlist to fully appreciate it. In any case, the 22-year-old has quickly dispelled all concerns about his game. He’s having a career year with 20.1 points per game and currently leads all bench players in scoring. A Sixth Man of the Year candidate, Herro definitely deserves a spot in the All-Star Game. – Yoyo Sarmenta
LaVine is a lock to make the All-Star game. If we’re being honest, he has a case to be a starter alongside teammate DeMar DeRozan. But even though he’ll be coming off the bench, it shouldn’t take any shine away from what has been a brilliant season from Flight 8. LaVine has willingly shared the spotlight with DeRozan in an effort to make the playoffs for the first time in his career. But a quick scan of his numbers (24.9 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.3 apg) show that LaVine hasn’t slowed down a lick. And besides, who wouldn’t want to see Zach ascend for an All-Star slam? — Chuck Araneta
Fred VanVleet is having an all-time season, putting up career-high numbers across the board (21.7 points, 7.0 assists, 4.7 rebounds). He may not be as popular and flashy as the other potential reserves, but he's made a strong All-Star case with his steady play on both ends of the court.
Following Kyle Lowry's departure, VanVleet has emerged as the leader and positive force that the Raptors need. He has taken advantage of every opportunity to shine. He has shown his ability to take charge in big moments. His stunning rise from undrafted to NBA champion has always been an awesome story. He continues to prove that he not only belongs in the league; he’s among the elite players who deserve an All-Star nod. – Charmie Lising
One of the many reasons why the All-Star Game is fun is because it’s an exercise on showcasing the many different ways an NBA player can score. It’s truly a travesty that Devin Booker, a professional scorer at the most professional level, isn’t deeply associated with the All-Star Game. He almost missed out last season; he’s a reserve this season. DBook, in an ideal setting, should have gotten at least one All-Star Game MVP trophy by now. But here we are, trying to come up with words on why Devin Booker should be an All-Star reserve.
He once scored 70 points in a single game, like a legend. Just last week, his shot wouldn’t fall but he kept shooting and shooting and shooting until five of his shots went in. He missed a total of 18, also like a legend. He sees the ball and the defender in front of him and he thinks, “bucket.” He will also most likely bring a very famous and influential plus-one to Cleveland. DBook is made for the All-Star Game. – Jon Carlos Rodriguez
After back-to-back starts, Luka Doncic did not make the cut this year. One of the guard spots in the West was reserved for Steph Curry, so the next selection boiled down to Doncic, Ja Morant, or Devin Booker. While Morant turned out to be the runaway winner (and for good reason), it’s still surprising that Doncic got ZERO media votes. No love even from Dallas?
Doncic was not in peak form early in the season, but he and the Mavericks have been on a roll since the new year. Known for his offensive prowess and triple-double exploits (43 and counting at 22 years old) – not to mention, his magical style of play that leaves viewers mesmerized – a generational talent like Luka deserves to be in every All-Star Game throughout his career. – Charmie Lising
It’s about time the Utah Jazz earn some respect in the league. They are near the top of the leaderboard with a record of 30-21. The Jazz have the best offensive rating in the league with 115.3 and a relatively good defensive rating of 109.5. A big part of their success this year (and the seasons prior) is the guy in the middle, Rudy Gobert.
Gobert is having a career-high, double-double season. He is averaging 16.0 points and 15.1 rebounds in the last 42 games he played. He has upped his consistency since the start of the year which has helped Utah grab some wins.
Not to be rude or anything, but Andrew Wiggins’ numbers (besides points) are way lower than Gobert and he got into the starting position, so why shouldn’t Gobert?! – Renee Ticzon
The Western All-Star reserves are going to have a lot of salt and pepper picks -- guys that are shoo-ins, near essential to properly illustrate the star power in the conference like Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, and Draymond Green. So indulge me for a minute as I add a tablespoon of cayenne pepper to the mix with this Brandon Ingram pick.
The New Orleans Pelicans are horrid, but that's not Ingram's fault as much the Hawks' uninspiring start to the season is because of Trae Young. Ingram, for his part, has continued to develop into a multi-tool scorer, who has been a terror in the few clutch moments the Pelicans have afforded him.
His numbers are comparable to most stars mentioned on this list (22.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 5.2 apg, 45.0 FG%). Sure, he isn't Devin Booker. But he has proven to be at least at the level of Khris Middleton. And Middleton also deserves to be an All-Star. – Migs Flores
There’s a line from Encanto’s “All of You” that says “The stars don’t shine, they burn” and I can’t help but think about Dejounte Murray. The guy is a star without a doubt, but he plays for San Antonio. Not only does he play for a small market team but he’s on a struggling team as well. So when you think about “stars don’t shine,” it’s Murray playing high-level basketball in a low-key way.
He’s not in-your-face like Ja Morant or as attractive and suave as Luka Doncic. But by gosh, this star burns through the court like wildfire. The numbers are superhero-like (19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 9.1 assists) and when you watch him play, you can’t help but notice that this guy gives a damn on every single play. He cares so much and that’s what you want from your best player. He’s undoubtedly a talented individual and if there’s anything we learned from Encanto, it’s that we’re more than just our gifts. Dejounte Murray goes all out because that’s just who he is. – Yoyo Sarmenta
The reason why the Phoenix Suns are No. 1 in the West is because Chris Paul still plays for them.
At 36 years old, CP3 is still as lethal with the basketball as he was when he first entered the league. He's been a fantastic leader for the young Phoenix Suns, and he has the numbers to back that up - averaging a double-double of 14.8 points and a league-leading 10.3 assists.
The Suns are on a mission to redeem themselves from the brutal NBA Finals loss last season and Paul, who seems to have no issue playing heavy minutes, is again at the forefront of their attack.
Suns coach Monty Williams was selected as the coach of Team LeBron in the All-Star Game so Paul should be a lock as one of the reserves. — JC Ansis
Is KAT the coolest player on the Timberwolves? Probably not, because sophomore stud Anthony Edwards has confidence and drip for days.
But make no mistake, Towns is the most important player on the team. He is the fulcrum of the Wolves on both ends of the floor with impressive numbers of 24.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game. In previous seasons, health and personal tragedies have slowed down Towns understandably. But this season, Karl has played free and with confidence, which is a major reason why Minnesota is firmly in playoff contention.
No one deserves an All-Star stint more than Towns after what he’s been through. And seeing him play with aggression and intensity once again has been a joy. — Chuck Araneta