Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry among NBA All-Star reserves with 6 first-timers
The All-Star Game is going to have plenty of new faces.
The NBA released the list of the players Thursday voted by the league’s head coaches as reserves for the Feb. 16 game in Chicago, including six who will be All-Stars for the first time.
Kyle Lowry of the NBA champion Toronto Raptors is headed back to the game, as are Miami’s Jimmy Butler, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Denver’s Nikola Jokic, Houston’s Russell Westbrook and — for the first time since 2016 — Oklahoma City’s Chris Paul.
The other reserves are all first-time selections: Miami’s Bam Adebayo, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram and the Utah duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
“Definitely it is an honor,” Tatum said in a statement. “I am extremely blessed and grateful. Third year, to make the All-Star team, it is a surreal feeling. I’m just very excited and it is a dream come true.”
Those six — combined with starters Pascal Siakam, Luka Doncic and Trae Young, whose spots were revealed last week — mean nine first-time All-Stars will be at the game.
That’s the highest number of first-time All-Stars in a decade.
“I don’t get there without my teammates,” said Adebayo, who went to last year’s game in Charlotte as a fan, sitting in the seats and eating dinner from Bojangles — a popular fast food restaurant in that region. “They’ve been behind me this whole time.”
Paul is now a 10-time All-Star selection, the 41st such player with that distinction. Westbrook has made it nine times in the last 10 seasons.
Among the notable omissions from the reserve list: Phoenix’s Devin Booker, Detroit’s Derrick Rose and Andre Drummond, Washington’s Bradley Beal and Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon. Beal is sixth in the NBA in scoring entering Thursday and Booker is eighth, while Drummond leads the league in rebounds per game.
More notable omissions: Everyone from the San Antonio Spurs. Barring an injury replacement, the Spurs won’t have an All-Star for the first time since 1997 ending what had been the longest such active streak in the NBA.
No members of the Golden State Warriors made it, which was to be expected after the five-time defending Western Conference champions have been battered by injuries and are at the bottom of their conference.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson were in the game for the Warriors last season; both have been hurt this season. Kevin Durant also was an All-Star for Golden State a year ago; he’s also injured, and is now with the Brooklyn Nets.
Kyrie Irving, Karl-Anthony Towns, Blake Griffin, D’Angelo Russell and Nikola Vucevic were All-Stars last year and weren’t picked this year.
Captains LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks will pick their teams on Feb. 6.
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