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NBA All-Star 2021: Russell Westbrook misses first team since 2014 after reserves are named

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Can’t quibble about it considering the list of Eastern Conference reserves this season.

Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Clippers
Russell Westbrook did not make the NBA All-Star Game this year,
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the NBA announced the reserves for the 2021 All-Star Game. This came after the starters were announced last Thursday where Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal was named one of the starters and even finished with the most votes from fans, players and media.

The reserves list missed a familiar face in Russell Westbrook. He missed the team for the first time since the 2013-14 season which he missed due to a knee injury.

Here is the list of All-Stars:

Eastern Conference Starters

  • Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  • Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  • Kevin Durant (Nets)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)
  • Joel Embiid (76ers)

Eastern Conference Reserves

  • Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  • James Harden (Nets)
  • Zach LaVine (Bulls)
  • Julius Randle (Knicks)
  • Ben Simmons (76ers)
  • Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  • Nikola Vucevic (Magic)

Western Conference Starters

  • Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  • Luka Doncic (Mavericks)
  • LeBron James (Lakers)
  • Nikola Jokic (Nuggets)
  • Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)

Western Conference Reserves

  • Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  • Paul George (Clippers)
  • Rudy Gobert (Jazz)
  • Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers)
  • Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  • Chris Paul (Suns)
  • Zion Williamson (Pelicans)

The other true guards from the Eastern Conference to make the team include Harden, Brown. LaVine and Simmons. I’ll say with confidence that all of them played better than Westbrook based on their performances so far.

That said, Westbrook has averaged 20 points, 11.7 assists and 11.5 rebounds in his last six games and has shot 55 percent from the field in his last three games during this road trip. After suffering a hamstring injury earlier this season, he seems to be back to his normal self which Washington will need to get back in the playoff race.

Some more facts on the All-Star team

  • Four players make their debuts: Brown, LaVine, Randle and Williamson are in for the first time.
  • A very international roster: Four starters: Antetokounmpo (Greece); Embiid (Cameroon); Doncic (Slovenia), Jokic (Serbia) and three reserves: Simmons (Australia and USA), Vucevic (Montenegro and Belgium), Gobert (France) are not American players and/or are dual citizens in Simmons’ and Vucevic’s cases. I get that the Wizards have more non-American players than anyone else, but unfortunately, it didn’t seem like Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija were in contention. And also, the Wizards haven’t had the best luck with some international players.
  • Belgium can now claim their first multi-time All-Star in American basketball: Vucevic has made his second All-Star team, surpassing the accomplishments of two other Belgians in American basketball. In the WNBA, Washington Mystics forward Emma Meesseman and Ann Wauters only made the All-Star team in their league once. It’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, but interesting nevertheless for different reasons.
  • All but one of the Eastern Conference All-Star reserves made the team no more than three times — Perhaps there’s a changing of the guard in the East. In the West, only Mitchell, Gobert and Williamson have made the team two or fewer times.
  • BRADLEY BEAL IS AN ALL-STAR STARTER! When a team is firmly in the Eastern Conference cellar (even after the five game win streak) and someone in his prime makes the team, THIS IS ALL THAT MATTERS!

What’s next?

A draft will be held on Thursday, Mar. 4 at 8 p.m. ET between Kevin Durant and LeBron James, the two captains for the game. If players opt out of the game or are injured, then there is a chance that Westbrook could get a shot, but the list of “snubs” is pretty full as it is.

The All-Star Game will be on Sunday, Mar. 7 at 8 p.m. ET.