On January 30th, the NBA All-Star Reserves for both the Eastern and Western Conference were revealed. This includes seven NBA All-Stars in the Eastern Conference and seven in the Western Conference. However, this list will only talk about the NBA All-Stars Reserves in the Eastern Conference. Some of the statistics of the reserves stated below came from Ernie Johnson.
He was the one who introduced the Eastern Conference reserves on NBA on TNT this year. This list will start with the guards in the NBA Eastern Conference. The first player talked about in this list will be point guard Kyle Lowry, who is making his sixth straight NBA All-Star Game.
NBA All-Star Eastern Conference Reserves
NBA All-Star Guards
Lowry considered by many as the best Toronto Raptors player in NBA history is making his sixth straight NBA All-Star Game. It will also mark the first time a Toronto Raptor player has made six NBA All-Star Game appearances. The closest was Vince Carter who made the NBA All-Star Game as a Toronto Raptor five-times in his career. The 33-year-old is the second oldest NBA player on the All-Star roster after LeBron James.
Lowry points per game total have gone up from 14.2 to 19.8 this year. This is his highest total since 2016-17 NBA Season, where he had 22.4 points. A big reason for this was Kawhi Leonard leaving the Toronto Raptors. Because of this Lowry has become more of a scorer than a facilitator. However, that is not to say that Lowry is passing the ball as he is averaging 7.5 assists per game. He is also averaging 4.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.
Lowry’s Impact on the Toronto Raptors
It would not be fair to say that Lowry is the main reason why the Raptors are doing so well this year. Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell and others also had a huge contribution to the Raptors’ success. However, there is no denying that Lowry is the leader of the team. He is the type of player willing to put his body on the line in order to draw an offensive foul.
This in addition to putting up numbers for the Toronto Raptors. These two reasons are why he is heading into his sixth straight NBA All-Star Game. The same thing can be said about Jimmy Butler. He will be heading into his fifth NBA All-Star Game this year.
Butler will be making his fifth NBA All-Star Game appearance this year. This will also be the first-time Butler is an NBA All-Star for the Miami Heat. Many people thought Butler should have been a starter this year as he is having a stellar year this year.
He is averaging 20.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. Currently, he has led the Miami Heat to a fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference. He has three triple-doubles this season.
This includes scoring 28 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds in a nine-point win against the Washington Wizards on December 6th. The Miami Heat’s best player, Butler has returned to the NBA All-Star after a brief absence in 2019. He will be joined by former teammate and point guard Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers.
The best Australian player in NBA history, Simmons his second-straight NBA All-Star Game. The 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year player is scoring 16.9 points per game. While his jump shot and points per game are not impressive for an NBA All-Star, he is still an exceptional passer. He is getting 8.3 assists, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game. When the reserves were announced on January 30th, he was ranked number one in steals by the time and four triple-doubles this season.
The most notable game for Simmons was his 34 points, 12 assists, and 12 rebounds performance against the Brooklyn Nets. They won that game 117-111 on January 20th. The Philadelphia 76ers are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference and are one of the six teams trying to win an NBA Championship.
This is it for the guards of the Eastern Conference, now turning to the forwards position of the Eastern Conference, where three players have been selected to the All-Star Reserves. This includes first-time NBA All-Star Bam Adebayo, who plays for the Miami Heat with Butler.
NBA All-Star Forwards
Adebayo, a first-time NBA All-Star is stepping up for the Miami Heat. When the reserves were announced, he had three-triple doubles, and eleven double-doubles this season. He also scoring several 20-point games this season.
He could be a candidate for Most Improved Player of the Year as he is scoring 16 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. This is a huge jump from last year when he was averaging 8.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 0.9 steals per game last year.
Like Butler, Adebayo’s team is in fourth place in the NBA Eastern Conference. His most notable game was December 10th where the Heat defeated the Atlanta Hawks 135-121. In that game, he scored 30 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds per game. He and the Miami Heat have been joggling for the third position in the Eastern Conference with the Boston Celtics and Jayson Tatum.
Tatum, yet another first-time NBA All-Star will be making his debut as a Boston Celtics player. By the time, the NBA All-Star Game reserves were announced he has had at least six games of at least 30 points this year. In only his third season Tatum is averaging 22.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. This is a significant improvement from last year where he was averaging 15.7 points, 6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.
One of his most notable games was a 116-100 February 5th win against the Orlando Magic. In that game, he scored 33 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds. His team will look to get revenge on the Khris Middleton and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks were defeated by the Boston Celtics in five games last year in the NBA playoffs.
Middleton will be making his second-straight NBA All-Star Game appearance this year. His second straight NBA All-Star appearance and could join the 50-40-90 club. The 50-40-90 club is a term that describes a player having 50 percent field goal percentage, 40 percent three-point field goal percentage, and a 90 percent free throw percentage. This achievement has only been achieved by eight players in the NBA. Furthermore, the only two players to do it more than once is Larry Bird and Steve Nash.
He is scoring 20.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. His most notable game includes a 151-131 win against the Washington Wizards on January 28th. In that game, Middleton scored a whopping 51 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists in that game.
Middleton also deserves to be in the NBA All-Star Game considering where the Milwaukee Bucks are in the NBA Eastern Conference standings. They are first in the East with 46 wins and eight losses. The last player covered in this list comes from the Indiana Pacers. The only Eastern Conference reserve selected as a center is first-time NBA All-Star Domantas Sabonis.
NBA All-Star Centers
This first-time NBA All-Star is leading the Indiana Pacers in the absence of Victor Oladipo. Oladipo has played only six games this year and is still trying to get back to normal. By the time the NBA All-Star Game reserves were announced, one of only two players to average more than 18 points and 12 rebounds is Sabonis. The other player accomplishing that feat is Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Indiana Pacers are struggling as of late. However, they got an important 118-111 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday ended their six-game losing streak. The Pacers are still 10 games above .500 with 32 wins and 23 losses and are ranked sixth in the Eastern Conference.
One of his most notable games was Indiana’s home opener at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. In that game, Sabonis had 27 points and 13 rebounds in a 119-110 loss to the Detroit Pistons on October 23rd. Like Oladipo in 2018 and 2019, Sabonis will be the lone All-Star representing the Indiana Pacers in 2020.
NBA Eastern Conference Reserves Overview
A lot of the guys on this roster are quite young and are either in their first or second NBA All-Star Game appearance. The only exceptions are Butler and Lowry, who has been to several All-Star Games in their careers. It is a good thing to see as players who were drafted a few years are starting to make their mark in the NBA.
Furthermore, all the players on the Eastern Conference reserve teams are playing for teams that have a record above .500. These teams include the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, and the Boston Celtics. As a result players from these teams will be represented on Sunday, February. 16th 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.
This shows players and fans around the world that it is not all about scoring points, grabbing rebounds, or dishing out assists. It is also important for the player to make an impact on winning and that is why these players in the NBA All-Star Game.
This is also why players that put up big numbers but are on teams that have a record below .500 is not in the NBA All-Star Game. This includes Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, who is scoring 29.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 5 rebounds per game. However, the Wizards are doing badly this year with a record of 20 wins and 33 losses, which is 13 games below .500.
There is only one NBA All-Star in the Eastern Conference playing for a team that is below .500. This is Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. He and other NBA All-Star Starters from both conferences are discussed in a previous article.
Embed from Getty Images