Westbrook is by far the biggest storyline, with others close behind. For instance, he'll once again have to team with Kevin Durant. Speaking of Durant, he is one of four members of the Golden State Warriors present on the roster.
Elsewhere, big names such as Gordon Hayward, DeAndre Jordan and Kemba Walker will make deserving debuts.
Here is a look at the starters and reserves:
|NBA All-Star Starters|
|BC||Kyrie Irving||Cleveland Cavaliers||4th|
|BC||DeMar DeRozan||Toronto Raptors||3rd|
|FC||LeBron James||Cleveland Cavaliers||13th|
|FC||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks||1st|
|FC||Jimmy Butler||Chicago Bulls||3rd|
|BC||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors||4th|
|BC||James Harden||Houston Rockets||5th|
|FC||Kevin Durant||Golden State Warriors||8th|
|FC||Kawhi Leonard||San Antonio Spurs||2nd|
|FC||Anthony Davis||New Orleans Pelicans||4th|
|NBA All-Star Reserves|
|BC||John Wall||Washington Wizards||4th|
|BC||Isaiah Thomas||Boston Celtics||2nd|
|BC||Kyle Lowry||Toronto Raptors||3rd|
|BC||Kemba Walker||Charlotte Hornets||1st|
|FC||Paul George||Indiana Pacers||4th|
|FC||Kevin Love||Cleveland Cavaliers||4th|
|FC||Paul Millsap||Atlanta Hawks||4th|
|BC||Russell Westbrook||Oklahoma City Thunder||6th|
|BC||Klay Thompson||Golden State Warriors||3rd|
|FC||Gordon Hayward||Utah Jazz||1st|
|FC||DeMarcus Cousins||Sacramento Kings||3rd|
|FC||DeAndre Jordan||Los Angeles Clippers||1st|
|FC||Marc Gasol||Memphis Grizzlies||3rd|
|FC||Draymond Green||Golden State Warriors||2nd|
That's not to suggest either guy didn't deserve it, especially Harden, who changed his role and averages 28.6 points, 11.6 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game for the 34-win Houston Rockets.
Westbrook, of course, might receive more playing time than most would expect, especially if those involved want to help him gun for a historic third-straight All-Star MVP award. Given his wild stat-accumulating ways so far, it doesn't seem impossible. ESPN Stats & Info looked at his most impressive feat:
"It's a blessing," Westbrook said after dropping 45 points on the Dallas Mavericks Thursday, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "I never take it for granted. I'm honored, obviously, to play in the All-Star Game."
The conference also features two of the major players making a debut. Hayward of the Utah Jazz deserves every bit of the honor, with the Jazz boasting 30 wins and his ability to actually stay healthy. Staying on the court has helped him average 21.8 points, 3.4 assists and 5.7 rebounds. Per ESPN.com, his points-per-40-minutes number comes in at a career high of 25.1.
Hayward's teammate Rudy Gobert, also a major candidate to make it to the game, took to Twitter to congratulate him:
Jordan makes the other big debut for the conference. The Los Angeles Clippers big man once again functions as a dominant force underneath the basket, averaging 12.5 points, 14.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.
Chris Paul, who now assumes the role as one of the biggest snubs, also showed support for his teammate on Twitter:
There weren't as many surprises in the Eastern Conference. Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets finally getting a nod despite the team flirting with the .500 mark is a great development. He's averaging a career high 23 points while also hitting 5.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds.
Walker bolsters a starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and DeMar DeRozan, with Isaiah Thomas and John Wall predictably the backups. The former is one of this year's better stories given his debatable MVP candidacy. Thomas currently averages 29.1 points per game on a career high of 46.2 percent shooting from the floor.
The biggest story in the Eastern Conference is the biggest omission of all—Joel Embiid.
It apparently doesn't matter that Embiid sits in the middle of a long-awaited breakout year. His Philadelphia 76ers aren't winning much, but they are more relevant than ever while he averages 19.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. Those numbers are likely smaller than they should be because he started the year on a minutes restriction.
Embiid, the social-media guru that he is, took to Twitter to joke about his miss:
A few comments by the crowd say it all when it comes to Embiid:
Gobert and Paul have plenty of strong arguments when it comes to the snubs, though Embiid seems to sit on the throne. Once voters wake up, two of the game's emerging premier big men should receive plenty of future appearances in the All-Star Game.
Alas, snubs shouldn't take away from these rosters. This should be one of the most interesting ASG offerings in many years. Not only do fans get to watch Westbrook gun for a historic third MVP award, but they also will see how he meshes with Durant. Another major storyline is how the Eastern Conference will juggle a lineup loaded with point guards.
How these storylines play out will shine an even bigger spotlight on the selection process. But on paper, what fans have waiting for them looks like a must-see affair.
All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.