NBA All-Star Rosters 2016: Starters, Reserves, MVP Predictions and ReactionJanuary 28, 2016
Sound the snub sirens. The full rosters for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game are here. A week after announcing the 10 starters who will be making the trip to Toronto, the league filled out its remaining 14 spots Thursday night.
While the Inside the NBA crew will make the announcements official in a telecast later in the evening, Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution provided the Eastern and Western Conference rosters.
|Eastern Conference All-Star Roster|
|BC||Kyle Lowry||Toronto Raptors|
|BC||Dwyane Wade||Miami Heat|
|FC||LeBron James||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|FC||Paul George||Indiana Pacers|
|FC||Carmelo Anthony||New York Knicks|
|BC||Jimmy Butler||Chicago Bulls|
|BC||DeMar DeRozan||Toronto Raptors|
|BC||John Wall||Washington Wizards|
|BC||Isaiah Thomas||Boston Celtics|
|FC||Chris Bosh||Miami Heat|
|FC||Paul Millsap||Atlanta Hawks|
|FC||Andre Drummond||Detroit Pistons|
|Twitter (Chris Vivlamore)|
|Western Conference All-Star Roster|
|BC||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors|
|BC||Russell Westbrook||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|FC||Kobe Bryant||Los Angeles Lakers|
|FC||Kevin Durant||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|FC||Kawhi Leonard||San Antonio Spurs|
|BC||Chris Paul||Los Angeles Clippers|
|BC||James Harden||Houston Rockets|
|BC||Klay Thompson||Golden State Warriors|
|FC||LaMarcus Aldridge||San Antonio Spurs|
|FC||DeMarcus Cousins||Sacramento Kings|
|FC||Anthony Davis||New Orleans Pelicans|
|FC||Draymond Green||Golden State Warriors|
|Twitter (Chris Vivlamore)|
A large majority of the selections were preordained. There would be no just All-Star Game without Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, Chris Paul, DeMarcus Cousins or Andre Drummond. Those five stars were among the easiest picks for coaches, who were tasked with assigning the remaining All-Star spots after fan votes determined the starters.
Butler, 26, will be making his second All-Star appearance. The reigning Most Improved Player has come into his own even more in 2015-16, averaging a career-high 22.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game while clearly establishing himself as the face of the Bulls.
"It’s different," Butler told Paul Flannery of SB Nation about his new role. "It’s a learning curve. But I prepared myself for this every day over the summer. I’ve got the best trainers in the nation in Chris Johnson and Travelle Gaines. They prepared me for it. It’s different, but I’m learning. I’m going to keep getting better, because I’m never going to stop working."
Butler is joined by Wizards guard John Wall, Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan and Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas among Eastern backcourt reserves. Wall, who will be making his third straight All-Star appearance, was another obvious selection. He's well on his way to averaging a double-double for the second straight season and has emerged as a league-average three-point shooter—something that should open up his game going forward.
An impending free agent, DeRozan is playing career-best ball in his walk year. The 26-year-old is setting career highs in points (23.0) and assists (4.1) per game while continuing to be a foul-drawing menace. The Raptors are in the midst of a nine-game winning streak that's clearly established them as the East's second-best team, and DeRozan's selection allows him to play host with starter Kyle Lowry.
“He’s playing extremely well right now he’s playing at a really high level and he’s about to hit his prime right now,” Lowry said of DeRozan, per Rachel Brady of the Globe and Mail. “I think you can expect him to get better over the next couple of years, grow and be an All-Star type player and a perennial All-Star.”
Thomas will be making his first All-Star appearance. Unleashed as a full-time starter once again under Brad Stevens, Thomas is averaging 21.6 points and 6.6 assists per game. Boston outscores opponents by 5.2 points per 100 possessions when he's on the floor, per Basketball-Reference.com.
Filling out the frontcourt in the East is Drummond, Chris Bosh and Paul Millsap. Drummond is blasting career highs across the board as he emerges as a pick-and-roll monster under Detroit head coach Stan Van Gundy. His 38 double-doubles are seven more than any other player thus far this season, and he's on pace to become just the third player since the turn of the century to average 15-plus rebounds (Kevin Love, Ben Wallace).
Millsap and Bosh are Eastern mainstays, with the former earning his third straight nod and the latter further solidifying his Hall of Fame status with an 11th appearance. Both players are bastions of versatility, stretching the floor with shots from mid- and long range while flashing deft passing skills. They've largely been the glue holding together Atlanta and Miami, respectively, amid a fierce race in the East.
Green is another jack-of-all-trades who has become arguably the Golden State Warriors' second-best player. He's setting career highs in points (14.5), rebounds (9.4) and assists (7.2) per game, acting at times like the Warriors' pseudo point guard.
A below-average three-point shooter during his first three seasons, Green is also knocking down a sterling 41.4 percent of his shots from distance. Couple that with All-NBA defense, and Green has become one of the NBA's best half-dozen two-way players.
"Draymond's a different beast," Andrew Bogut said in December, per Matt Moore of CBS Sports. "He's not an inside man, he's a 4 who can bring the ball up the floor. He's a very, very smart player. He knows all our options. He's kind of the motor that makes us go."
Green is hanging out in the frontcourt with Cousins, Anthony Davis and LaMarcus Aldridge. Cousins, who spent most of the early part of 2015-16 mired in a feud with head coach George Karl, has become an unstoppable buzz saw in January.
He's averaging 33.1 points, 12.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for the month, knocking down 43.9 percent of his threes and taking 11.5 free throws per night. The Kings outscore opponents by 3.4 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor and are defeated by 9.0 with him off, per Basketball-Reference. Cousins will also be a participant in the Skills Challenge, which will feature a "big man" element, per Marc Stein of ESPN:
Davis' campaign, by contrast, has been filled with disappointment. He's spent the year intermittently injured and struggling to perform at the level he did last season. The New Orleans Pelicans are one of the most disappointing teams in the NBA at 16-28, and it's a testament to Davis' skills that he's an All-Star despite the downturn.
Aldridge's statistical depression came as part of a conscious decision to sign with the Spurs this summer. He's enjoyed the best first half of his career from a team perspective and is beginning to come into his own as a No. 2 option behind Kawhi Leonard. Of all the selections, Aldridge's drew the most Twitter ire:
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sounded off on Twitter about Dirk Nowitzki not getting selected:
Making up the reserve backcourt are a pair of easy choices in Paul and James Harden along with Klay Thompson. Paul has kept the Los Angeles Clippers in the No. 4 seed despite an extended absence from Blake Griffin, who will not be participating in Toronto because of a hand injury.
Harden is putting up near-mirror-image counting stats to his brilliant 2014-15 campaign. However, he's slipped on defense, has been less efficient from the field and has looked on as Houston's fallen out of title contention. There's no justification for his being left off the team, but he'll be nowhere near challenging Stephen Curry for league MVP after the season.
Thompson gives the Warriors three All-Star selections, the most among all teams. Defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland has just one All-Star, marking the first time LeBron James has been his team's sole representative since 2010.
Is there anyone alive crazy enough to pick against Curry for the MVP of anything at this point? The 27-year-old is the best shooter of all time playing with the confidence of Kanye West on five shots of Hennessy. He's running away with his second consecutive MVP award, is on pace to blast his own record for threes in a season and is leading a Golden State team on pace for 70-plus wins.
What, are we supposed to be edgy here because predictive exercises are meaningless in the large scale? Are we to pretend Lowry or DeRozan will scorch the nets to the tune of "Hotline Bling" and shock the world? Are there really enough media folks sentimental enough to vote for Kobe despite the 8-of-88 shooting line that's obviously coming?
No. Curry is the best player in the world at the moment. He has a game tailor-made for these All-Star showcases. Let's not be silly here.
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