Now that the starters for the NBA All-Star Game have been voted in -- most of them correctly -- it’s time to move on to the reserves.
Here are our choices:
Guards: Chris Paul, Clippers; Klay Thompson, Warriors; Tony Parker, Spurs.
Paul is the most efficient star point guard in the NBA and he raised his game when Blake Griffin was hurt. Thompson endured an unexceptional first month to bring his game to an All-Star level on the league’s best team. Parker is, quite simply, the key to the ignition of a team having an extraordinary season.
Frontcourt: Draymond Green, Warriors; DeMarcus Cousins, Kings.
Green is the most versatile player in the league and an irreplaceable member of the league’s best squad. Boogie is the most talented center in the league, bar none, and his game generally states his case.
Wild Cards: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers; Anthony Davis, Pelicans.
Lillard is the leader of the most surprising team in the West, which has beaten the Thunder and the Cavs. Though Davis’ team has been disappointing, he has been the most reliably outstanding component.
Notable snubs: James Harden, Rockets; Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks.
Guards: Jimmy Butler, Bulls; DeMar DeRozan, Raptors.
Butler may be the best two-way guard in the league and has been the primary leader of the contending Bulls. DeRozan has been at least as good as his teammate, Kyle Lowry, who will start in their home arena.
Frontcourt: Andre Drummond, Pistons; Paul Millsap, Hawks; Pau Gasol, Bulls.
Drummond can’t shoot free throws, but he leads the NBA in double-doubles and is the best center in the East. Millsap quietly goes about the business of putting up numbers on a team that absolutely needs them. Even at 35, Gasol still has top-notch skills and remains a terrific offensive presence for a contender.
Wild Cards: Hassan Whiteside, Heat; Isaiah Thomas, Celtics.
Whiteside is a bit of a wild child but he is a monster in the paint, putting on a nightly swat show. A little guy with a huge heart, Thomas has become the clear leader of a team that appears bound for the playoffs.
Notable snubs: John Wall, Wizards; Kemba Walker, Hornets.