NBA All-Star Game 2021: Damian Lillard, James Harden among the reserves selected by the league coaches

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The NBA announced its headlines at the All-Star Game last Thursday, but given the somewhat predictable nature of picking the top five players in each conference, tonight’s reveal is the most important. On Tuesday, the league released the seven All-Star reserves for each conference selected by the coaches within those conferences. The seven slots were divided between two guards, three frontcourt players and two wild-card slots to bring the rosters to 12, including the five starters. Here are the 14 reserves that won their spots on Tuesday:

Eastern Conference

G: James Harden

G: Jaylen Brown

FC: Jayson Tatum

FC: Julius Randle

FC: Nikola Vucevic

WC: Ben Simmons

WC: Zach LaVine

Western Conference

G: Damian Lillard

G: Chris Paul

FC: Anthony Davis

FC: Rudy Gobert

FC: Zion Williamson

WC: Donovan Mitchell

WC: Paul George

The obvious absence here is Mike Conley, widely regarded as the best active player to ever make an All-Star Game. However, with Davis still injured, the commissioner has the right to name a replacement if the event is missed. That will give Conley at least one more chance to get into the game. He will face stiff competition from Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, a 2020 All-Star, and young guards Ja Morant and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

The Eastern Conference is going to be more contentious. With so many worthy names, there would inevitably be several slights. Among them are Domantas Sabonis, Trae Young, Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. Of these 14 total reserves, four are beginners: LaVine, Randle, Brown, and Williamson.

These rosters will not play together in the All-Star Game itself. As has been the case in the past three All-Star Games, whoever gets the most votes in each conference will serve as captain in a draft to divide this talent. LeBron James will be a captain and his team will be coached by Quin Snyder. Kevin Durant will serve as the other captain, and his team will be led by Doc Rivers. The All-Star Draft will take place on March 4, just days before the game.

Like last year, the All-Star Game will be played under a modified version of the Elam Ending format. In honor of Kobe Bryant, 24 points will be added to the leading team’s score after three quarters. Whoever reaches that point total first wins the game.

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