Picking the 2013 NBA All-Star Reserves

Everyone breathe out, the NBA All-Star starters were announced this week, and luckily, the fans didn’t vote Jeremy Lin into the game. From here, the rest of the team is selected by the coaches, so he won’t make it.

You shouldn’t be surprised by any of the starters, we’re in an age of basketball that has about 10 mega-stars and we’ve seen the same All-Star starters for the past few seasons. We’ll keep seeing those same names for the next few years, so get used to it.

There is plenty of room to argue about who else should be in the game. The All-Star reserves will be announced this Tuesday and SpreeGoogs wouldn’t be the same without an overenthusiastic joy of basketball-team building (See my 2012 Olympic team suggestions or my 2012 NBA All-Star reserves), so let’s get right into it and discuss who I think would complete these rosters the best.

First a few notes:

  • While the best basketball teams are definitely made of the best players, I will be filling out these rosters to make the most complete teams, not rewarding the players who have been the best this season. (Sorry, Mark Gasol)
  • I don’t care about rewarding teams with good records. If the Lakers (17-22) and Celtics (20-19) can have two All-Star starters each, the Pistons (14-25) can have an All-Star reserve.
  • I like to think the best teams have a good mix of elite skills, so I’ll be picking players who have a range of skills, not just the best scorers.
  • Since scoring is the most complex statistic, I’ve split slashing and shooting into two different skills
  • My suggested reserves will follow the pattern the coaches will use: 2 backcourt, 3 frontcourt, 2 wild card

Western Conference

Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard

Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard

Starters:

  • Chris Paul (Assists, Scoring/shooting, Steals, Insurance Commercials)
  • Kobe Bryant (Scoring/slashing, Scoring/shooting)
  • Kevin Durant (Scoring/slashing, Scoring/shooting, D-Rebounding, 3-point shooting)
  • Blake Griffin (Appearing in Commercials)
  • Dwight Howard (Blocks, D-Rebounding, O-Rebounding)

There’s not a lot missing from this lineup. Sure there’s a virtual empty spot in the lineup (Blake), but there’s still plenty of rebounding, defense and both kinds of scoring. Sure four of these guys play in Los Angeles, but there’s no rule against that. What the West could use is a little more passing, a deep threat and maybe another interior defender. After that, it’ll just be beefing up the reserves with the best leftovers.

Recommended Reserves:

  • Russell Westbrook (Assists, Steals)
  • Steph Curry (Scoring/shooting, Assists, Steals)
  • Tim Duncan (Blocks, D-Rebounding)
  • David Lee (D-Rebounding, Scoring/shooting)
  • Zach Randolph (O-Rebounding, D-Rebounding)
  • James Harden (Scoring/slashing, Facial hair)
  • Tony Parker (Assists, Scoring/slashing)

Sorry to the Bigs in the West, but both wild card spots go to guards. The best players in the West are just little. If Kevin Love and Dirk would have been healthy all year, this would be a different story, but it just turns out that the most elite West players are guards/wings. In an ideal world, we could remove Griffin from the game entirely, putting Duncan into the starting lineup and adding another big to the bench. Three of the best options for that slot are in the list below.

A short list of apologies:

  • Mark Gasol
  • Al Jefferson
  • Damian Lillard
  • LaMarcus Aldridge

Eastern Conference

Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett

Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett

Starters:

  • Rajon Rondo (Assists, Steals)
  • Dwyane Wade (Scoring/slashing)
  • LeBron James (Scoring/slashing, Steals, Assists, D-Rebounding)
  • Carmelo Anthony (Scoring/slashing, Scoring/shooting)
  • Kevin Garnett (Remember how good he was 10 years ago?)

Just like the Western Conference, the East will be playing with essentially four studs and a mega-market fan favorite who adds nothing to an All-Star team. This team has three players (Wade, James and Anthony) who play similar wing games on offense, which is a strength, but it comes at the expense of rebounding, three-point scoring and shot blocking.  In other news, Rajon Rondo has been the NBA’s best passer and one of the 10 best players in the NBA for years, it’s about time he got some recognition.

Recommended reserves:

  • Jrue Holiday (Assists, Scoring/slashing)
  • Kyrie Irving (Scoring/slashing, Scoring/shooting, Steals)
  • Greg Monroe (O-Rebounding, D-Rebounding)
  • Joakim Noah (Blocks, D-Rebounding, O-Rebounding)
  • Brook Lopez (Scoring/shooting, Blocks, O-Rebounding)
  • Paul George (D-Rebounding, Steals)
  • Josh Smith (Blocks, D-Rebounding)

The East bench is a little heavy on size, but that’s what I think they need. My love of Greg Monroe continues, I get it, but he does so much…  In general, I picked a lot of rebounders for the East bench, because 1) the starters don’t match up well on the boards and 2) the rest of the guards in the East don’t have multiple elite skills.

A short list of apologies:

  • Carlos Boozer
  • Chris Bosh
  • Tyson Chandler
  • Deron Williams
  • David West

Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.

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