All-Star reserves: Snubs, surprises

Verrier: Anthony Davis. LeBron James made his first All-Star Game his sophomore season, one in which he finished with a 25.74 PER. Davis, now in his second season, currently has a 26.81 PER, fifth-best in the NBA. It can't be the injuries -- Chris Paul has missed three more games this season -- so apparently the coaches think Davis' bad teammates will ride his coattails to the game, too.

Wallace: Anthony Davis. The league's leader in blocks and one of the most versatile big men we'll see in some time shouldn't have been shut out in his own hometown. Perhaps one of incoming commissioner Adam Silver's first executive orders should be finding a way to get Davis on the West roster.


3. Which East All-Star is the biggest surprise?


Haberstroh: Joe Johnson. Prisoner of the moment pick. The Nets have played well this month, but this isn't a January appreciation award. Johnson has been electric in the clutch, but he's an average player for the other 90 percent of the season. Truth is, if Johnson played up to his reputation, the Nets wouldn't need last-second miracles.

Pelton: Joe Johnson. Johnson has been better in January, when his Brooklyn Nets have surged, and a series of clutch shots surely helped his chances with East coaches. Still, according to Basketball-Reference.com Johnson is the second All-Star reserve chosen by coaches in more than a decade with a below-average PER (his is 14.9; average is set at 15), and unlike Luol Deng two years ago Johnson is neither a top defender nor on an elite team.

Strauss: Joe Johnson. I mean, what in the world? The East teams are bad this season, but it wasn't so bad that selecting Joe Johnson made sense. This is the kind of pick that makes it look like coaches are behind by two seasons on player evaluations.

Verrier: Joe Johnson. Fittingly, a player known most for his inconsistency is rewarded for his most consistent month of games in some time. Unfortunately, the season started before the new year. The East is rough, but it isn't "Joe Johnson, All-Star" rough.

Wallace: Paul Millsap, only because it takes a real appreciation for someone who's willing to do the dirty work and make all of the hustle plays to recognize Millsap's true value. He has really filled the void after the Hawks lost leader Al Horford to a season-ending injury.


4. Which West All-Star is the biggest surprise?


Haberstroh: Damian Lillard. As my man Kevin Pelton pointed out on Twitter, I'm struggling to see how four reserve guards make sense given how stacked the crop of West big men is this season. Lillard has had a great season for a surprise team, but objective measures point to Davis and Cousins as more deserving.

Pelton: Tony Parker, I guess? The only thing that really surprised me was four guards making the reserves. Because of the way coaches vote -- two guards, three frontcourt players and two utility players -- typically the votes get split so that the last two spots on the roster go to one guard and one big man. That wasn't the case this year.

Strauss: Tony Parker wasn't a total surprise, but it's rare to see perimeter guys get in with so few minutes played (fewer than 32 MPG). Parker probably deserves a selection if we're judging on a per-minute basis, but if we're leaning heavier on total time played, Goran Dragic should have made it.

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