The NBA All-Star Game is on February 18th, and while this year’s game will introduce a new twist on roster selection, with two captains (LeBron James and Steph Curry, appropriately) picking teams from the other selections a la the playground.
(Except it won’t be televised, which was half the point, because we can’t just go all-out on a different idea, we have to worry about whoever gets picked last not being okay with that despite the fact that the entire All-Star Game exists to exclude most of the league for not being good enough.)
There’s a formal announcement show on TNT tonight to announce the reserves, and another on Thursday to announce the teams as chosen by Steph and LeBron, but thanks to the magic of NBA reporting, we can go ahead and show you the rosters now:
In addition to the five starters from the East (LeBron, Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid) and the West (Steph, James Harden, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, and Anthony Davis), here’s who will be available for selection, via @lateef301:
Your #nba all star reserves:
Karl Anthony Towns
— Simba? (@lateef301) January 24, 2018
So, who was snubbed? Chris Paul isn’t in the game despite being great and perfectly suited for the All-Star Game itself; but he also missed 17 games in the first half of the season. Paul George also didn’t make the cut, which isn’t a surprise given the competition in the West and the underwhelming start for the Thunder (and is also hilarious given Victor Oladipo’s inclusion in the East.) Lou Williams didn’t make the team despite having a career year, which is unfortunate in the sense that Lou Williams kind of shoots like he’s always playing an exhibition.
In the east, Andre Drummond is probably the biggest snub; he’s been great by advanced metrics, but the Pistons have slid back from their opening start.
So we now know the player pool, but we won’t know the teams themselves until Thursday. Is it likely that this revamping of the system will lead to a more intense brand of basketball during the game itself? Probably not! But it at least gives us an air of something different in the lead-up.