The reserves for the Western Conference All-Star team have been announced. We already know Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard were voted in as starters. Now we know who will be joining them.
The West reserves are headlined by a pair of Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Green joins Leonard as the only first-time All-Stars in the West by raising his numbers across the board in his fourth season. The 25-year-old big man is averaging career-highs in points (14.5), rebounds (9.4) and assists (7.2) while also becoming a top contender for the Defensive Player of the Year award once again.
Thompson is also having another terrific, year averaging 20.9 points and shooting 42.7 percent from three-point range on 7.5 attempts per game. Read our Jesus Gomez on how the threat of Thompson’s shooting and off-ball movement helps everything fall into place for the league-best Warriors.
Here’s Western Conference All-Star roster
STARTERS: Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard
RESERVES: Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, James Harden, Chris Paul, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, LaMarcus Aldridge
Green was passed over by Kawhi Leonard and Zaza Pachulia in the last week of frontcourt voting, but the Warriors forward was a no-brainer selection for the coaches as a reserve. After a bursting onto the scene with a big 2014-15, Green has taken his game to a new level this season. He remains a dominant defensive force who anchors Golden State small ball units, but his improvement as a facilitator and shooter has vaulted him into star status, and he currently leads the NBA in triple-doubles.
The other Splash Brother has bounced back from back issues that slowed him at the start of the season to put forth another strong year after his breakout last year. Thompson’s numbers aren’t quite as prolific as last season, but he’s one of the deadliest shooters in the NBA and is second in three-point makes behind only teammate Stephen Curry.
It’s been a roller coaster year for the reigning MVP runner-up. Harden’s poor shooting and apathetic defense helped lead to Kevin McHale receiving his pink slip, but the guard has picked up his play as the Rockets have worked their way back up the standings. He’s the only non-point guard in the league to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and assists.
Paul didn’t get off to the best of starts this season, but with Griffin sidelined, the point guard has picked up the slack and helped the Clippers thrive without one of their best players. His points and assists are up since Griffin went out, and despite the higher usage, Paul’s efficiency has gone up as well. He’s still one of the top point guards in the league.
Injuries and poor shooting plagued Cousins at the start of the year, but he’s been a world beater over the last month. January has featured a 48-point effort followed by a 56-point explosion for Cousins, and his huge scoring numbers have come on much-improved efficiency. The big man’s brilliance has made the Kings into a serious challenger for a playoff spot.
Many expected Davis to take another leap and potentially challenge for the title of NBA best player, but while that hasn’t happened on a disappointing Pelicans team, the 22-year-old has still had a strong individual campaign. So while Davis hasn’t lived up to the hype just yet, that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t, although his knack of racking up injuries is somewhat troublesome.
Aldridge was the splash signing of the summer when he decided to leave Portland for the Spurs machine. The big man has naturally seen his scoring numbers go down playing on a team that emphasizes ball movement and has seen Kawhi Leonard emerge as a bona fide superstar, but Aldridge continues to be an effective weapon from mid-range and a steady defender for the league’s top-ranked defense.