Washington’s Bradley Beal is having an All-Star season. So are Chicago’s Zach LaVine, Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Boston’s Jaylen Brown.
You can make a case for Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris and Detroit’s Derrick Rose.
But they didn’t make the NBA All-Star teams as reserves.
And if you make a case for someone who didn’t make it, you better be prepared to make a case for taking a name off the list of reserves who were named All-Stars on Thursday.
Eastern Conference reserve All-Stars: Philadelphia Ben Simmons, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and Miami’s Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler.
Western Conference reserve All-Stars: Portland’s Damian Lillard, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Denver’s Nikola Jokic, Utah’s Rudy Gobert, New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram, Houston’s Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City’s Chris Paul.
Gobert, Mitchell, Ingram, Tatum, Sabonis and Adebayo are first-time All-Stars.
Coaches voted for the reserves, and they tend to reward players on winning teams.
Beal might have the best case even though he plays for the Wizards, who were 15-31 headed into Thursday’s game against Charlotte. TNT’s Ernie Johnson said Beal joins Dick Barnett in 1966 and World B. Free in 1979 as the only players to average 28 points at the All-Star break and not make the All-Star team.
Beal, an All-Star the two previous seasons as a guard, is the league’s sixth in scoring at 28.6 points per game and is shooting 45.3 percent from the field.
The coaches vote for two guards, three frontcourt players and two wildcards per conference, and in the East, Simmons and Lowry got the nods at the guard spots. The coaches went with two frontcourt players as the wildcards.
Of course, had Beal made it, who would’ve been left off? Adebayo? Sabonis? But by selecting frontcourt players as the wildcards, it’s clear the coaches prized winning in combination with individual statistics.
Captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will draft the All-Star rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and then from the pool of players named reserves regardless of conference or position. The rosters will be revealed Feb. 6.
All-Star weekend is in Chicago Feb. 13-16, with the game on Sunday (TNT, 8 p.m. ET).
Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt