The NBA-Holes Column: 2018 West All-Star Reserves
As the NBA nears the halfway point, All-star voting just closed on Jan. 15 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Before the Reserves are released on Jan 25rd. Unlike the starters, the reserves are chosen by the coaches. So the fan vote does not matter. Here are my picks for the West All-Stars Reserves
Draymond Green (GSW)
The numbers for Draymond Green this year, or any year, might not jump out at you. But it is a fact that Draymond does so much for the Warriors. He is the Earth, the Moon, the Sun, the Compass for the Warriors. When Green plays well, the team plays great. His shooting numbers, especially 3-point percentage, have dropped slightly this year but it does not matter. Without Green grabbing rebounds and playing point guard on the fast break, the Warriors machine would not be the juggernaut we see each and every night. The coaches and media will reward that with an All-star selection for Green.
LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)
Joffrey Lauvergne, Dejounte Murray, Ender Wiggin & Davis Bertans. Three of those are actual players for the San Antonio Spurs. How many NBA fans know which 3? (P.S. one is the protagonist in a very popular Sci-fi novel)... There in lies the point, that the Spurs are tied for the 3rd best record in the West while missing Kawhi Leonard for most of the year. Much of the credit has to go to Aldridge. He seems to have found his place in San Antonio after a rocky year and a half. LaMarcus will be a 6 time All-star this year.
Nikola Jokic (DEN)
The Joker, A.K.A Nikola Jokic has been a bit of a league pass favorite for some time now. The way he sees the floor, the passing ability at his size, it is poetry in motion. He is the best passing big men in the league. He might be THE best passing big man in history if he continues at the current trajectory. Don't tell Arvydas Sabonis or Bill Walton. The way Jokic sees plays unfolding before anyone else is just astounding. Like a savant who isn't understood, you can even see on some plays Jokic gets upset when passes are not made. It is like him screaming " HEY do you not see this!?". He is special. Denver better cherish him.
Russell Westbrook (OKC)
Westbrook may be one of my most disliked superstars in the league. But I won't let that cloud what he does on a nightly basis. With the Thunder appearing to be back on track after figuring out the pecking order of the new Big 3 in OKC. The intensity at which Westbrook plays with each and every night is hard to ignore. There is no way Russ wins the MVP this year, but that doesn't matter. He is an All-star caliber player and should be chosen by the coaches this year.
Klay Thompson (GSW)
Long live Klay Thompson. The mild mannered, "forgotten" Warrior is still having an All-star type season. He just does what he is suppose to do each night and never says anything. His life is the envy of most, all he does is take open 3-pointers, make back-door passes, and do #ChinaKlay. The guy is living the life. Regardless, he still defends the opposing team's best player, grabs rebounds and knock down jumpers. His numbers, and the teams success all but guarantee he will be an All-star this year.
Jimmy Butler (MIN)
The Minnesota Timberwolves quietly have the 3rd best record in the Western conference thanks to Jimmy Butler. After 12 games of "I am the new guy, I am not trying to make this my team", Jimmy did just that. Since then the team has been on a tear. Looking to go to the playoff for the 1st time in 13 seasons. The defense and leadership that Butler has brought to the Wolves is a major factor in their new found success. Things are starting to click and expect the coaches to take note by voting Butler into the All-star game.
Damian Lillard (POR)
This is the year, the year Damian Lillard finally makes an All-star game. Dame has been "snubbed" for 3 years now, many argue. Always putting up All-star level numbers but never getting the vote. Having to compete with Harden, Westbrook, Chris Paul, Curry, and Gordon Hayward among others, has always left Lillard without an All-star selection. With Paul hurt to start the season and Hayward playing for the Celtics, it is finally Damian's time, and rightfully so.
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