The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

NBA All-Star Game reserves were named, and talk about snubs immediately followed

James Harden of the Nets was one of seven reserves selected from the Eastern Conference for the March 6 All-Star Game in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Whether the players are ready or not, the NBA finalized the list of 24 all-stars who will take the court March 7 in Atlanta as part of a scaled-down, single-night All-Star Weekend.

The pool of all-star reserves, which was selected by a vote of the league’s coaches and announced on Tuesday, included seven players from each conference. James Harden, Ben Simmons, Jayson Tatum, Nikola Vucevic, Jaylen Brown, Zach LaVine and Julius Randle were selected from the East, while Chris Paul, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Damian Lillard, Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Zion Williamson were selected from the West.

Perspective: If NBA players don’t want this All-Star Game, they have an easy solution: Refuse to play

Brown, LaVine, Randle and Williamson were all first-time selections.

As always, the reserve selections featured numerous close calls and were met with some blowback. This year’s noteworthy snubs include Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks, Trae Young on the Atlanta Hawks, Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors, Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat, Domantas Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers and Tobias Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers in the East, as well as Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns, Mike Conley of the Utah Jazz, De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings and DeMar DeRozan of the San Antonio Spurs in the West.

Sign up for our weekly NBA newsletter to get the best basketball coverage in your inbox

Davis is expected to be sidelined through the upcoming all-star break with an Achilles’ injury. If Davis is unable to participate in Atlanta, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will name an injury replacement.

“Devin Booker is the most disrespected player in our league,” Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James wrote on Twitter in response to the announcements, which were made on TNT. Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum called Booker’s omission “crazy.”

Elsewhere, Middleton told reporters that he was “a little disappointed” to be left off this year, while Harris’s agent told the Philadelphia Inquirer that his client’s snubbing was “very disappointing” because of his “high level” consistency. DeRozan’s agent told The Athletic that his client deserved selection because of San Antonio’s team success: “At some point, the winning has got to matter.”

Following extensive player pushback over the event, which centered on coronavirus concerns and the league’s demanding schedule, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association agreed to proceed with the festivities during the midseason break, which will run from March 5-10. The Skills Challenge and Three-Point Contest will be held before the All-Star Game, and the Slam Dunk Contest will take place at halftime.

Last week, the NBA named five players from each conference as all-star starters through a voting process that included fans, media members and players. James, the overall leading vote-getter, and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant will serve as captains. The other starters included Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo from the East and Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic and Kawhi Leonard from the West.

Rather than using an “East versus West” format for this year’s All-Star Game, James and Durant will select 12-man rosters for the game, drafting four players each from the pool of starters and seven players each from the pool of reserves. James’s team will be coached by Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz, while Philadelphia 76ers Coach Doc Rivers will lead Durant’s team.