As a reminder: the reserves, which will be picked by the coaches in each conference, consist of two backcourt players, three frontcourt players, and two wild-card spots. Those choices will be announced next Thursday on TNT.
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
Lowry trades places with teammate DeMar DeRozan, who took his starting spot from last year’s All-Star Game this year. But Lowry, the best guard in the East this year, is clearly deserving of a spot.
John Wall, Washington Wizards
He may not get as much attention as Lowry, Kyrie Irving or Isaiah Thomas, but Wall has been fantastic for the Wizards amid their recent resurgence, averaging more than 22 points and 10 assists per game, and looking healthy after offseason knee surgery.
Paul George, Indiana Pacers
It’s great to see George completely recovered from the broken leg he suffered in 2014 and back to consistently being one of the best players in the world on a nightly basis. Few guys in the league are more well-rounded in their games.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Love often looked like a third wheel in his first two seasons in Cleveland. But now he seems fully comfortable alongside LeBron James and Irving on the defending champions, and is playing like it.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
No player will be discussed in trade talks more than Millsap, who is on an expiring contract. But whether he gets moved or not, he deserves another all-star selection for his excellent all-around play.
Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics
Thomas has his deficiencies — he’s currently the worst player in the league, by a significant margin, in ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus-Minus — but he’s also a flat-out scorer who has been incredible in the clutch all season long. He deserves a second straight all-star trip.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Yes, Embiid plays on one of the league’s worst teams. Yes, he’s had to sit out games and be on a minutes restriction. But he’s also plus-68 for the season — meaning the 14-26 Sixers have been better than their opponents with him on the court, and atrocious without him. That’s why he gets the last all-star spot in the East.
Honorable mention: Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets; Dwight Howard, Atlanta Hawks; Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards; Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
No, Westbrook didn’t get voted into the starting lineup, losing out on a tiebreaker to Stephen Curry and James Harden. But the man attempting to become the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season — and the first in over 50 years — was always going to be an all-star, anyway.
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Now to be clear, if Chris Paul was healthy, he would get this spot. But since Paul will miss the game after undergoing surgery on his left thumb this week, we’re going to select his replacement. And, among the other options, Thompson, who scored 60 points in a game earlier this season and is a force at both ends, gets the nod.
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
It still is hard to determine exactly what’s happening with Sacramento, where the Kings and Cousins are often involved in some form of turmoil. But it’s impossible to argue with the production the big fella gives the Kings on a nightly basis.
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Gasol has expanded his range out beyond the three-point line this season, and he kept Memphis afloat while the Grizzlies waited for Mike Conley to recover from a back injury in December.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
The front-runner for defensive player of the year remains as divisive as he is instrumental for everything the Warriors do. He’s the definition of an all-star who does everything but score.
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
The “Stifle Tower” has become a dominant force in the middle for Utah, earning legit defensive player of the year consideration while also becoming a much better offensive player while keeping the Jazz afloat amid injuries.
Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz
While several players could be chosen here, the nod went to Hayward, who has been terrific for the Jazz this season after coming back from a broken finger, cementing himself as worthy of a max contract when he becomes a free agent this summer.
Honorable mention: Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers; LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs; Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies