Here's a look at the full list of starters following Thursday's announcement on TNT:
|2017 NBA All-Star Game Starters|
|Guard||Kyrie Irving||Cleveland Cavaliers||4th|
|Guard||DeMar DeRozan||Toronto Raptors||3rd|
|Frontcourt||LeBron James||Cleveland Cavaliers||13th|
|Frontcourt||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks||1st|
|Frontcourt||Jimmy Butler||Chicago Bulls||3rd|
|Guard||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors||4th|
|Guard||James Harden||Houston Rockets||5th|
|Frontcourt||Kevin Durant||Golden State Warriors||8th|
|Frontcourt||Kawhi Leonard||San Antonio Spurs||2nd|
|Frontcourt||Anthony Davis||New Orleans Pelicans||4th|
The discussion after Thursday's reveal will focus on Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook's omission.
Westbrook is averaging a triple-double with 30.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game this season, but that wasn't enough to earn a starting spot.
ESPN's Cassidy Hubbarth provided Westbrook's likely reaction:
Instead, Curry joins Harden in the Western Conference backcourt. The reigning MVP is having a good year, but his scoring average has fallen from a league-leading 30.1 points per game in 2015-16 to 24.6 in 2016-17. He's also shooting a career-low 39.7 percent from three-point range.
CBS Sports' Matt Moore thought it was another example of the Golden State Warriors thwarting Westbrook:
Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron didn't think Westbrook needed more motivation to silence his doubters this year:
ESPN.com's Royce Young found a silver lining:
This year's crop of starters includes only one first-time All-Star: Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Milwaukee Bucks star has been one of the league's most entertaining players, and he has stepped up in a big way with Khris Middleton out of action since undergoing hamstring surgery in September.
The Greek Freak thanked those who voted him into the All-Star Game:
Antetokounmpo is averaging 23.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists per contest, and he has dazzled fans with his athleticism.
Still only 22 years old, Antetokounmpo will likely add many more All-Star appearances to his resume before all is said and done.
Whereas the Western Conference starting lineup largely played out as expected—with the exception of Curry over Westbrook—the Eastern Conference provided arguably the most egregious exclusions, with Kyle Lowry, John Wall and Isaiah Thomas all missing the cut.
Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal took issue with the voting results:
The Toronto Sun's Ryan Wolstat tweeted that Lowry will be satisfied to see his teammate getting the nod:
Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan are both having strong seasons, but Lowry, Wall and Thomas were arguably more deserving. Below is a comparison between the five:
According to NBA.com, DeRozan and Thomas finished with the same weighted score (2.75), with DeRozan getting the edge by virtue of the fan vote, which is the same metric that kept Westbrook out of the West starting five.
At the other end of the All-Star spectrum, for the second year in a row, Zaza Pachulia's fanbase showed up in numbers on the All-Star ballots, but it wasn't enough to get the Warriors big man to New Orleans.
Even though Pachulia was the second-highest vote-getter (1,528,941 votes) among West frontcourt players, the league enacted rule changes that made it impossible for him to be an All-Star starter this year. For the first time, the fan vote counted for only 50 percent of the results, with players and the media evenly splitting the remaining 50 percent.
While the new voting procedure devalues the fan vote, it produces a fairer picture of the league's best players.
The reserves will be announced next Thursday on TNT, at which point the debates over the biggest All-Star snubs can commence.
Stats are courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.