Lenny Carlos’ NBA All-Star Eastern Reserves Picks
Lenny Carlos’ NBA All-Star Eastern Reserves Picks
The coach voting for the All-Star reserve selections for this year’s NBA All-Star Game must be completed by Tuesday afternoon. About time to think about who I would like to make the All-Star team this season.
First up though, some rules and regulations:
Coaches have to pick two guards and three frontcourt players, as well as choosing two wild cards (coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players).
So far, the All-Star starters are set. Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will start for the East.
EASTERN CONFERENCE BACKCOURT:
Isaiah Thomas, and Kyle Lowry.
First up, if I had been eligible to vote for the All-Star starters, these two would have been my starting backcourt over Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan – so it only makes sense for them to be my backcourt reserves selections for the Eastern All-Star Squad.
Isaiah Thomas is having a (another) career year. He is averaging an impressive 29.0 points, 2.7 rebounds and 6.0 assist while averaging 46.1% from the field and 90.7% from the line. He currently is the 2nd best scorer in the NBA behind only Russell Westbrook. The Celtics have never had a leading scorer in the NBA during their history with not even Larry Bird finishing a season better than 2nd in scoring. Isaiah though, seems to be on a mission to catch Westbrook. In his last 10 games, Thomas has averaged 35.1 points per game. On top of that, Boston is currently 3rd in the East. It still is unbelievable to me, how he is not starting the All-Star game.
Many people thought that Kyle Lowry had reached is ceiling last season, including myself. Lowry though is on a mission to prove all of them (us) wrong. He is averaging a career high 22.1 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, while adding 7.0 assists and 1.7 steals. He is shooting 47.0% from the field and 82.4% from the line. The Toronto Raptors currently are 2nd in the east, trailing the Cavs by only 3 games. Lowry to me is the most important player on the team, DeRozan being a very close second. Kyle Lowry has an impressive 72.7 true shooting percentage since Thanksgiving, making him one of the best players in the East, and also making him an obvious choice as an All-Star reserve.
EASTERN CONFERENCE FRONTCOURT:
Paul George, Joel Embiid, Paul Millsap
Paul George isn’t playing as good of a season as he has in the 2015-2016 campaign, but it still is more than enough to be named an All-Star. There aren’t too many eastern frontcourt candidates in consideration anyways and Paul George is averaging 21.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 44.9% from the field and a very impressive 92.9% from the line, making him one of only four players with averages of at least 20 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The other 3? Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler and Russell Westbrook – not the worst company. After a horrible start to the season, the Pacers seem to finally be in a groove and are currently the 7th seed in the eastern conference.
Joel Embiid is the obvious choice for this year’s rookie of the year award, and ever since he has stepped foot on NBA hardwood, he has impressed everyone. Even all time great NBA center Hakeem Olajuwon praised Embiid.
“I saw some YouTube videos of his game and I was very, very impressed with how he was moving. The movements, I go, ‘wow, I can see myself.’”
The stats are matching what everyone is seeing. The Process averages 19.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 2.5 blocks per game, playing with a minutes restriction (He only averages 25 minutes per game). Embiid’s per-36 minute stats are insane: 28 points, 11 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. These stats are comparable to the per-36 stats of the rookie seasons from Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Embiid is leading this legendary group, in per-36 scoring, and is second in blocks. On top of all that, he can shoot the three as well (SCARY!).
Philadelphia averages a nightly scoring margin of a 55-win team when Embiid is playing, a scoring margin of an 11-win team when he isnt’t. Enough said, he needs to be an All-Star.
Paul Millsap isn’t my first obvious choice, mainly because the Hawks roster has lots of good players. To me, Millsap has always been one of the most underrated players in the league. He is able to do it all. Millsap is averaging 17.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks per game this season. He had an underwhelming start, but has been playing his best basketball as of late. In his last 12 games, Paul Millsap has averaged 19.5 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.2 blocks (and 1.4 three pointers).
He is the most important player on the Hawks roster. A team that currently sits in the 4th spot of the eastern conference, and my 3rd eastern conference All-Star reserve pick.
John Wall, Kevin Love
This has been the toughest decision for me. My heart is screaming Kemba Walker, but my brain is telling me to go with Kevin Love. I trusted my brain on that decision.
On the other hand, John Wall is an/the obvious choice for me. He is playing the best season of his career, leading his Wizards to a current 5th place in the eastern conference. He has been playing like a human cheatcode as of late. John Wall is averaging 23.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 10.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game, making him one of just three guards to average a point-assist double-double this season (the others are James Harden, and Russell Westbrook – how surprising!).
Kevin Love seems to have finally arrived in Cleveland (remember, it also took Chris Bosh a whole year to grow into his new role with the Heat). It is tough to adapt to a new system, even more so when you’ve been the go-to-guy and clear #1 option in the system you’ve played in before, but only a third option with the new team and system.
Love is averaging 20.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists for the top dog in the East. As mad I am at myself for not picking Kemba, Love deserves to be on the All-Star Team.
ALL STAR SNUBS:
Kemba Walker, Kristaps Porzingis, Hassan Whiteside, Bradley Beal, Dwyane Wade