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TNT Panel propose NBA 2016 All-Star Reserves – Harden on 3 out of 4

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Jan 25, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley (11) guards Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) during the second quarter at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 25, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley (11) guards Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) during the second quarter at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
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Inside NBA Panel propose NBA 2016 All-Star Reserves

Following the announcement of the fan vote for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game starters, the TNT Game Night panel had some discussion over who got snubbed.

Each of the panelists had a specific player or position they felt got ignored:

Charles Barkley was adamant Jimmy Butler and Draymond Green should have been starters (can’t say I disagree though I’d have been fine with an all Raptors starting backcourt too). Kenny Smith agreed with Chuck regarding Butler deserving the start over Wade. And, Shaq felt strongly that the center position was getting ignored completely and therefore felt Andre Drummond should have been a starter.

The panels opinions were also reflected in their reserve list choices and actually led to several disagreements including Charles going on a small rant regarding why James Harden didn’t deserve to be on the All-Star team, a debate over the inclusion or exclusion of Atlanta Hawks and Shaq expanding on argument regarding additional centers needing to make the squad.

.@DwyaneWade or @JimmyButler starting All-Star? @TheJetOnTNT, @SHAQ & Chuck have their say: https://t.co/KcohUCkFtW pic.twitter.com/UC4EGhb4oc

— NBA.com (@NBAcom) January 22, 2016

Inside NBA Panel’s Reserve List

Coaches will select two guards, three frontcourt players and two wild cards to join the starters. Here’s a break down of the panel’s selection for those reserve selections:

All four of the panel were unanimous on the first five players who should make the team:

All Star EC Reserves Inside NBA Panel
All Star EC Reserves Inside NBA Panel

EJ’s Picks:

EJs EC Reserve Picks
EJs EC Reserve Picks

As for two players the panel disagreed on:

Chuck and Ernie both selected Paul Millsap and Al Horford the current third place team. Kenny also selected Millsap.

Kenny and Shaq both selected Miami (7th) Chris Bosh and Shaq alone had the Bulls (4th) Pau Gasol.

In terms of why those players made their lists the debate mainly centered around records. Although Cleveland sits atop the East the fact Irving has played in so few games knocked him off what would have been a likely unanimous vote. Shaq again plead the lack of center case in terms of adding  Gasol, Bosh and Drummond to his list.

Kenny made a valid point that the East is so closely jumbled from seeds 4 through 11 that a couple of days can alter the order drastically

In terms of the West here’s their lists:

WC Inside NBA reserve list
WC Inside NBA reserve list

EJ’s Picks:

EJs WC reserves
EJs WC reserves

James Harden was heavily featured on 3 of 4 voters list though Dwight Howard got zero love from the panel. As I outlined in an earlier article Charles held nothing back when it came to Harden calling him a player he wouldn’t want to play beside basically calling him selfish.  In Harden’s place on Chuck’s list he chose Damian Lillard siting his performance this season, shaft from last season and misfortune of losing his team this summer for his reasoning. I do find it interesting Barkley chose Lillard given he is always citing Mike Conley as the most under rated player in the NBA and his numbers are in line with last season.  Chuck also was the only one to select DeAndre Jordan.

Chuck and Kenny both picked Tony Parker to join Leonard given the Spurs record whereas EJ added LaMarcus Aldridge for the same reasons. Since Kenny added Parker he rewarded the Mavericks unexpected performance by adding Dirk Nowtizki

EJ and Shaq both selected Anthony Davis given his ability and in Shaq’s case (yeah, I know … broken record) he wants more bigs on the team which is why he also picked Blake Griffin.

Since the panel said winning was a main reason for who they selected I found it odd the Spurs weren’t awarded 2 players unanimously. Further  it was interesting no Memphis Grizzlies were selected by anyone on the panel and only Kenny selected a Maverick. Prior to Thursdays games when the panel would have made their picks Dallas was 5th, Memphis was 6th, Houston 7th  and Sacramento had just moved into 8th.

My point is the West has 3 power house teams who each deserve 2 All-Stars. Like Irving in the East, Griffin shouldn’t make the squad based on his injury absence and Clippers win streak without him.

The reserves as selected by the coaches will be announced next Thursday. The great news for fans is teams tightly grouped and players on the bubble will likely attempt to showcase why they deserve the coaches nod. This should add an extra component to excitement to games this weekend and early next week.

If I got to pick my choices would be:

Eastern Conference:

Dec 12, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard forward Nicolas Batum (5) during the second half of the game against the Boston Celtics at Time Warner Cable Arena. Celtics win 98-93. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 12, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard forward Nicolas Batum (5) during the second half of the game against the Boston Celtics at Time Warner Cable Arena. Celtics win 98-93. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 12, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard forward Nicolas Batum (5) during the second half of the game against the Boston Celtics at Time Warner Cable Arena. Celtics win 98-93. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Western Conference:

As for my picks there are two distinct differences, one in each conference. In the East I’ve selected Nicolas Batum because when the Hornets had Al Jefferson (though still without Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) they were top ten in both offense and defense. And when I looked at the top backcourts in the East though the Raptors were by far the best, Charlotte offered a decent argument as a solid number 2 over the Wizards.

It’s a very tough thing for teams to overcome injuries with only the Cavaliers (though they are significantly deeper than any other roster), the Raptors and to a certain extent the Bulls having been able to compensate for extended absences. Like the panel mentioned any of the teams grouped together can go on a win streak at any given time and find themselves surging up the ladder.

My list reflects the fact the Raptors and Cavaliers have consistently remained the two Eastern teams who haven’t fluctuated below the upper tier all season despite both teams playing without significant contributors. If Irving had played more games he would surely have made the team, but I can’t rationalize adding Love to the squad.

More from Space City Scoop

Beyond that although I considered adding Al Horford or Pau Gasol to my list both squads have vacillated between the home seeds and the road seeds. Which points to the other common denominator in the East: parity.  Aside from the 8 seeded teams another 4 are within 2.5 games of the 8th seed. Therefore I looked to share the wealth and it came down to either adding a player from the very exciting youthful Orlando Magic or the potentially dangerous Charlotte Hornets and I chose to go with the latter.

In the West I have the 3 of the same top 4 players as the TNT panel, and unlike Barkley I also have Harden. Where I differ is I believe the top 3 teams each deserve 2 players so I added Green and Parker.

DeMarcus Cousins in my opinion is the reason Sacramento is even on the ladder so he gets the nod. I’m in agreement with Kenny that the Mavericks deserve a player if just simply for over coming what most thought was a doomed season post Jordan emoji drama.

The one player I added which no one considered is Mike Conley of the Grizzlies. He’s been overlooked yearly because of the depth of his position and with Memphis sitting 5th I felt they deserve a representative. Since Gasol has been to the big show I decided to give Conley his long over do spot on the team.

Do you have a player who you think deserves to be on the list and isn’t? Let us know.

For all details visit the nba.com under the All-Star section.

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