NBA All-Star Game 2017: Full Eastern, Western Conference Rosters and Predictions

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - FEBRUARY 9: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game on February 9, 2017 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. With his 26th triple-double of the season, Westbrook ties Oscar Robertson for the third most triple-doubles in a season. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game might as well be called the 2017 Russell Westbrook Spotlight.

Dedicated fans know that isn't a bad thing.

Westbrook isn't just in an odd situation because he has to play alongside Kevin Durant again for the Western Conference. He also seeks his third consecutive MVP award, and, most notably of all, he wasn't even named a starter.

The storylines don't start and end with Westbrook. DeMar DeRozan gets a deserving nod as a starter. Anthony Davis will play in front of a home crowd. Notables such as Kemba Walker will make debuts. The Golden State Warriors are out in force.

It goes on and on—so here is a brief overview for the event.

     

NBA All-Star Starters

Eastern Conference
PositionPlayerTeamAll-Star Appearance
BCKyrie IrvingCleveland Cavaliers4th
BCDeMar DeRozanToronto Raptors3rd
FCLeBron JamesCleveland Cavaliers13th
FCGiannis AntetokounmpoMilwaukee Bucks1st
FCJimmy ButlerChicago Bulls3rd
Western Conference
PositionPlayerTeamAll-Star Appearance
BCStephen CurryGolden State Warriors4th
BCJames HardenHouston Rockets5th
FCKevin DurantGolden State Warriors8th
FCKawhi LeonardSan Antonio Spurs2nd
FCAnthony DavisNew Orleans Pelicans4th
ESPN.com.

NBA All-Star Reserves

Eastern Conference
PositionPlayerTeamAll-Star Appearance
BCJohn WallWashington Wizards4th
BCIsaiah ThomasBoston Celtics2nd
BCKyle LowryToronto Raptors3rd
BCKemba WalkerCharlotte Hornets1st
FCPaul GeorgeIndiana Pacers4th
FCKevin LoveCleveland Cavaliers4th
FCPaul MillsapAtlanta Hawks4th
Western Conference
PositionPlayerTeamAll-Star Appearance
BCRussell WestbrookOklahoma City Thunder6th
BCKlay ThompsonGolden State Warriors3rd
FCGordon HaywardUtah Jazz1st
FCDeMarcus CousinsSacramento Kings3rd
FCDeAndre JordanLos Angeles Clippers1st
FCMarc GasolMemphis Grizzlies3rd
FCDraymond GreenGolden State Warriors2nd
ESPN.com.

     

Notable Predictions

Giannis Antetokounmpo Makes a Monstrous Debut

The man with the best name in basketball is about to put on a show.

Finally playing in his first ASG, Giannis Antetokounmpo will look right at home alongside the likes of LeBron James and the best the Eastern Conference has to offer.

Antetokounmpo has revolutionized the game a bit, which is what happens when a 6'11", 222-pound forward can stride up and down the floor faster than most players can sprint, redefining the coast-to-coast player.

Now in his fourth season, Antetokounmpo is right in the middle of a breakout campaign as he averages 23.5 points, 5.4 assists, 8.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Perhaps most impressively, his player efficiency rating (PER) has jumped almost 10 points to sit at 26.82, according to ESPN.com.

Padding stat lines is what the ASG is all about, and Antetokounmpo won't have any problems at the showcase, if one of his recent outings is any sign, via NBA.com:

A debut player is likely to gun harder than the veterans who are just out there having fun. Few in the NBA can guard Antetokounmpo as it is, so a game typically lacking in the defense department figures to see him post some epic numbers.

      

The West Makes it Three in a Row

The Eastern Conference actually winning an ASG is quite the rare occurrence. Since 2000, the conference housing James and others has won just six games. 

The most recent was 2014, where Kyrie Irving took the MVP award in a close 163-155 affair. The next year was close as well at 163-158, but Westbrook started taking over the game for fun and with borderline ease.

Last year wasn't even close. The Western Conference flexed its superior depth from top to bottom, running away at 196-173. That one was perhaps the most predictable outcome of maybe all time, though, because the Western Conference players needed to make sure Kobe Bryant went out on a high note.

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 8:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors looks on during the game against the Chicago Bulls on February 8, 2017 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadi
Noah Graham/Getty Images

"It was fun," Bryant said, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). "I had a blast playing with those guys, laughing and joking with them on the bench."

Maybe if Kevin Durant had picked somewhere besides Golden State, it would be easier to pick a different outcome. But he and Stephen Curry do plenty of damage together every night. Westbrook is Westbrook. James Harden is simply out of his mind after a positional change, going for a slash line of 28.9/11.3/8.2. Davis will put on a show in front of fans.

And that's just a look at the starting lineups. Remember, Westbrook comes off the bench, as does the best center in the game, DeMarcus Cousins. Add quality shooters (Klay Thompson, Gordon Hayward) to the mix and incredible depth underneath the basket (DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol) and it is hard to see how the Eastern Conference keeps pace.

The Eastern Conference also doesn't have much in the way of versatility, not with the reserves list boasting four guards and no true center. Snubbing Joel Embiid figures to look quite bad once the deep Western Conference roster gets rolling.

     

Russell Westbrook Steals the MVP

Great as Antetokounmpo might look and as motivated as Davis might be, nothing is stopping Westbrook.

Nobody has a motivating factor quite like Westbrook. The man saw his friend and teammate join the team that beat his in the playoffs the year prior and has already struggled to beat him in the regular season.

Observers can talk all day about how it is an overrated storyline and Westbrook himself can downplay it, but he's a man on a mission while averaging a triple-double at 30.9 points, 10.2 assists and 10.5 rebounds per game.

It's not like he is doing it against bad competition, either:

There is no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen for a guy like Westbrook. He's alone in Oklahoma City. He's forced to play on the same bench as Durant again. Voters didn't respect him enough to put him in the starting lineup, losing the spot to Durant's new best friend.

Sure, narratives in sports can be silly at times, but Westbrook has been on a revenge tour all year. Maybe it gets downplayed again, but fans know one thing based on the his last two MVP performances—Westbrook doesn't downshift simply because this is an exhibition. He's winning a third.

      

All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.

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