NBA: Picking the All-Star reserves
NBA coaches will vote for seven All-Star reserves from within their own conference. Coaches are not permitted to vote for their own players and must select two guards, three frontcourt (forwards and/or centers) and two wild cards from any position.
Reserves will be announced on Thursday. Here is our list of reserves:
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Guards — Russell Westbrook (Thunder) and James Harden (Houston): Former Thunder and Olympic teammates will be reunited and are two clear choices as All-Star reserves. Westbrook continues to improve each year and Harden has “rocketed” to stardom after refusing to accept OKC's extension offer.
Frontcourt — Tim Duncan (San Antonio), Marc Gasol (Memphis), David Lee (Golden State): The 36-year-old Duncan has gone back in time, is in great shape and is playing like he's in his early 30s. Meanwhile, it's time for both Gasol and Lee to get their due, especially the underappreciated Gasol.
Wild cards — Tony Parker (San Antonio), LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland): With teammate Manu Ginobili fighting injuries, Parker remains steady as a rock while leading perhaps the best team in the West. The Trail Blazers would be nowhere near playoff contention without the frequently lethal Aldridge.
Also considered — Zach Randolph (Memphis), Steph Curry (Golden State), Serge Ibaka (Thunder), Jamal Crawford (LA Clippers), Damian Lillard (Portland).
Guards — Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia): Slim pickin's here with Brooklyn's Deron Williams underperforming and Chicago's Derrick Rose out with a knee injury. Irving is a budding superstar and Holiday has helped fill the void left by center Andrew Bynum's absence.
Frontcourt — Brook Lopez (Brooklyn), Tyson Chandler (New York), Chris Bosh (Miami): Finally healthy, Lopez has shined for the Nets under both coaches. Chandler remains a dominant inside presence. Bosh flourishes as a superb complement to All-Star starters LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
Wild cards — Paul Pierce (Boston), Joakim Noah (Chicago): The 35-year-old Pierce is still effective and remains the Celtics' go-to guy. Noah is a determined double-double machine and gets the nod over teammate Luol Deng for the final spot.
Also considered — Luol Deng (Chicago), David West (Indiana), Paul George (Indiana), Al Horford (Atlanta), J.R. Smith (New York).