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NBA All-Star Game Rosters 2019: Voting Results for Starters; Predicting Reserves

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2019

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) and New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The NBA players, fans and media have spoken—the 10 starters for the 2019 All-Star Game are officially locked in place.

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo earned the highest vote totals in their respective conferences, meaning they'll have the honor of picking their rosters in the (televised!) All-Star Game draft on Feb. 7.

Between now and then, though, 14 more players will have their All-Star tickets punched by the coaches who select the two reserve units. After looking at the voting results for the 10 starters, we'll peak into our crystal ball to make predictions about the reserve units from both conferences.

            

2019 All-Star Game Starters

Western Conference

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Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors

Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder

James Harden, Houston Rockets

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers (Captain)

            

Eastern Conference

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (Captain)

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics

Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors

Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

              

Voting Results

           

Reserve Predictions

Western Conference

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Steve Dipaola/Associated Press

While the West is absurdly deep with top-level talent, there's less guesswork needed here than you'd think.

Five of these feel like locks, or something very close to it.

Davis and Jokic, who respectively rank third and fourth in ESPN's real plus-minus, could've easily snagged starting spots if not for a frontcourt logjam in the West. Lillard has the third-highest offensive RPM in the entire league. Gobert anchors the Jazz's fourth-ranked defense and statistically means even more to their offense. Towns is on a very short list of the Association's best-scoring bigs.

It might surprise some to see Westbrook on the bubble, since he's just one season removed from an MVP season and amid a three-year run of averaging a triple-double. But he's having a historically brutal shooting season for a featured player, and he's coughing up the second-most giveaways.

Still, the fact he keeps the gas pedal floored puts constant pressure on the defense and gives his teammates room to work. His defensive versatility also contributes to OKC's third overall ranking on that end. It would be hard to keep him off the roster.

The last spot is the trickiest. The candidate pool might be 20 players deep, including sentimental favorites (Mike Conley Jr. should've been an All-Star by now), familiar faces (DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge), breakout ballers (Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari) and even a freshman phenom (Luka Doncic).

Holiday snags the last spot by maybe half a Pelican feather due to his substantial two-way impact. He defends multiple positions, plays on or off the ball and works as both a super-sidekick or a centerpiece. The stat sheet not only says he's more valuable to New Orleans than Davis, but that it's not particularly close (15.7 net differential for Holiday, 7.3 for Davis).

              

Eastern Conference

Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

Eric Bledsoe, Milwaukee Bucks

Jimmy Butler, Philadelphia 76ers

Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons

Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers

Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 30: Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic and Blake Griffin #23 of the Detroit Pistons look on between plays in the fourth quarter at Amway Center on December 30, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
Harry Aaron/Getty Images

Again, there are several presumable locks we can write in permanent marker.

Simmons is on that list, as the best triple-double supplier outside the Sooner State. Vucevic has bumped his points (20.5), rebounds (12.0) and assists (3.8) to personal bests, while shooting like a long lost Splash Brother (51.7/38.1/77.9 slash). Griffin has been destroying as a jumbo point forward. Beal looks better in nearly every facet than last season, when he made his All-Star debut.

While Lowry, Butler and Bledsoe round out our projected selections, none of their cases is ironclad.

Lowry has been overly passive while adjusting to life with Leonard, and it's taken a toll on the point guard's shooting accuracy. Lowry's 55.6 true shooting percentage is easily his worst since 2014-15. But he's never been a better distributor (9.4 assists), and his peskiness on defense has helped him secure the eighth-best RPM.

It'll be interesting to see how coaches handle Butler's messy divorce from the Timberwolves, and his transition to the Sixers hasn't been the smoothest. But you won't find many players who bring more positives to both ends of the floor. He sits second among all shooting guards in both RPM  and RPM wins.

The final spot is always a doozy, and this is no exception. We wouldn't argue much if D'Angelo Russell, Pascal Siakam, John Collins, Khris Middleton, Myles Turner, Domantas Sabonis, JJ Redick or Josh Richardson got the nod.

But it feels like the Bucks—the NBA's most efficient club—deserve two representatives, and Bledsoe adds a pinch more value than Middleton for his slashing, playmaking and defending. Bledsoe checks in second among Milwaukee's regulars in PER, win shares and RPM.

            

Statistics used courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com.