Harden, Lillard Lead 2021 NBA All-Star Game Reserves

James Harden BW Nets Background

    • James Harden and Damian Lillard are among the players named as reserves for the 2021 NBA All-Star game.
    • Harden will be making his 9th All-Star team but his first while playing for the East.
    • Lillard was the most notable snub in the All-Star starters voting but will make his 6th appearance anyway as part of the coaches’ choices.

The NBA completed the cast of next week’s 2021 All-Star Game in Atlanta by announcing the reserves for both conferences on Tuesday.

James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers led 14 names who will join the 10 voted starters for the 70th NBA All-Star Game on March 7th at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

In selecting the reserves, NBA coaches voted for seven players in their conference – two guards, three frontcourt players, and two players regardless of position. Coaches were prohibited from voting for their own players.

The All-Star game rosters will be determined by a draft conducted by the leading vote-getter from each conference who have been designated as team captains. Kevin Durant and Lebron James will alternate making picks until all players are selected. KD and LBJ are allowed to pick any player from any conference. James will pick first because he was the top vote-getter among fans.

Harden Leads Eastern Conference Reserves

Harden will be playing in his 9th All-Star game but his first for the Eastern Conference. He made his previous 8 appearances as a member of the Houston Rockets, which traded him to the Nets earlier this season. Since coming to Brooklyn, Harden has averaged 24.9 points and 11.4 assists per game in 18 games played. The Nets have three representatives to this year’s game with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving voted as starters.

The other six Eastern Conference reserves are forwards Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks forward Julius Randle, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, Guard Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, and Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic.

Brown is third in the current betting odds board to win Most Improved Player at +650 at online sportsbook SportsBetting.ag. He will be making his first All-Star game appearance along with Randle and LaVine. Randle had led the Knicks to a surprising 15-16 start while LaVine is averaging career highs across the board.

Tatum will be making his second straight appearance for the Eastern Conference team while Vucevic will return to the All-Star game after making the team two seasons ago. Simmons will also be making his third straight trip to the game and will join starter Joel Embiid as the Sixers representatives to the NBA’s midseason classic

Lillard’s 6th All-Star Game

Lillard meanwhile, will be joining his 6th All-Star team after he was snubbed in the voting for this year’s starters. Dame Dolla is averaging 29.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 7.7 assists with shooting splits of .45/.38/.93 but was beaten to the starting five by Dallas’ Luka Doncic in the fan voting.

Joining Lillard as the Western Conference reserves are Utah Jazz duo Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, L.A. Clippers forward Paul George, Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis, Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul and New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson

Mitchell and Gobert have led the Jazz to the best record in the league while George will be making his first All-Star appearance in Los Angeles and his 7th overall. Davis isn’t expected to play due to injury and is expected to be replaced by Devin Booker who was the biggest All-Star game snub this season.

CP3 will be playing in his 11th All-Star game and his second straight after making the team with the OKC Thunder last season. Meanwhile, Williamson was the number one overall pick of the 2020 NBA Draft and will be making his first trip to the All-Star game and is the 4th youngest player ever to make an All-Star squad.

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