By Tobi Nifesi
For lovers of the NBA, this year’s valentine day would have a different ring to it. Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Raptors, would be hosting the 2016 NBA All Star game.
The votes are in and the starters have been decided but arguments and discussions are still going on. While everyone’s trying to predict the players that would make the reserves, Sportration.com is going a step further to discuss why some of the potential reserve players should have been starters.
Here are five 2016 NBA All Star potential reserve players (in no specific order) that should actually be starters:
- Jimmy Butler (Guard, Chicago Bulls, Eastern Conference):
The 2014-2015 NBA’s Most Improved Player, Jimmy Butler, has been one of the standout performers in what is turning out to be an above average season for the Bulls. Throughout this season, Butler has been reaching for more and he has been consistent as it. He recently broke Michael Jordan’s team record for points in a half and his career-high 53 points against the 76ers made him the first Bulls players to score over 50 points since Jamal Crawford in 2004. His performances definitely deserve more recognition.
- Isaiah Thomas (Point Guard, Boston Celtics, Eastern Conference)
He is definitely the backbone of a Celtics team that is not as star-studded as it used to be. This 2015 Sixth Man Player of the Year has become a fan-favorite at the TD Gardens within less than a year of signing for the Boston team. His knack for scoring has kept the Celtics in contention for playoff spot and above .500. This year, he is a contender for reserves but many would argue that he should be a starter.
- Draymond Green (Forward, Golden State Warriors, Western Conference)
Green has all it takes to be All Star starter. If not for the hype about Kobe’s retirement, Green should be taking Kobe’s starter spot easily. Take a look at the stats:
Bryant: 16.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 34.5 FG%, 25.1 3P%, 13.1 PER
Green: 14.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 46.6 FG%, 41.4 3P%, 20.2 PER
It’s not even close and that is all that needs to be said about that. In any case, Green would definitely make the reserves.
- Demarcus Cousins (Center, Power Forward, Sacramento Kings, Western Conference)
Cousins has had his immature moments and received a lot of criticism for them. Nevertheless, he is a statistical machine for the Kings this season. He is averaging 26.7 points, 11.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks. Only legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Chris Webber and a few others have averaged over 25 points and 10rebounds in an entire season. So whatever Cousins is doing, he is doing it right. He would make the reserves but really, he could be starting.
- Chris Paul (Point Guard, Los Angeles Clippers, Western Conference):
Alongside Blake Griffin, Paul is in contention for a reserve spot. He is having a tremendous season, averaging 18.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 9.7 assists and 2.1 steals. However, his best stat is his assist to turnover ratio (3.47). Besides Curry, the only Guard in the NBA who can stake a claim against Paul is Harden but let’s be honest: Harden isn’t as strong defensively as Paul. Paul is effective on both the offensive and defensive sides of the game and is one of the best at it. He should be starting the all-star game.
What do you think? Do any of these players really deserve to be starters or are they rightly reserve contenders?