I’ve already shared my predictions for the Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Star starters, but I also wanted to speculate about possible East All-Star reserves. The NBA has so many talented players that I could easily see any of the honorable mentions sneaking into the game. Unfortunately, I have a feeling defensive-minded players such as Myles Turner won’t get the same respect as a player having a great offensive season such as Nikola Vucevic. That’s the reasoning behind a few of the selections, but some player’s defensive ability still influenced me to include them. Here are my 2019 East All-Star Reserves:
G – Victor Oladipo – Indiana Pacers
Season Stats: 19.8 PPG (44/35/73), 5.2 APG, 1.7 SPG
Although his stats are down from last season, Oladipo has still been all-star worthy. He may be scoring less, but Oladipo has come up big when it matters and played elite defense. His Pacers are third in the East with a 28-14 record. In addition to this Oladipo has improved a passer, averaging nearly one more assist per game. His ability to lead the Pacers team to contention in the East as the number one option has earned Oladipo an East All-Star reserve spot.
G – Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards
Season Stats: 24.4 PPG (47/35/80), 4.8 APG, 1.3 SPG
This season Beal has established himself as an elite player even in the absence of John Wall. After Wall struggled with injury last season, fans saw Beal go off and keep the Wizards afloat. Once again, Wall is out with injury and Beal has been incredible. Starting nine games ago, when Wall first sat out with a heel injury, Beal has averaged 30.2 PPG on 47-41-80 splits. Over this stretch, he has had a 40-11-15 triple-double against the Suns and a 43-10-15 triple-double against the Raptors.
F – Jimmy Butler – Philidelphia 76ers
Season Stats: 19.5 PPG (47/38/84), 4.9 RPG, 2.1 SPG
Even though Butler has had to adjust to a new team this season, he is still putting up great stats. His scoring may be down, but he has been more efficient than ever before and is still playing great defense. His 51.5 eFG% is a career-high and his 2.1 steals per game is a career-high as well. Additionally, performances such as his back-to-back 38-point outings against the Raptors and Pistons remind us why he deserves a spot as an all-star.
F – Blake Griffin – Detroit Pistons
Season Stats: 25.6 PPG (48/36/76), 8.3 RPG, 5.3 APG
The 2018-2019 season has been a year of career-highs for Blake Griffin. He’s averaging a career high in minutes, three-pointers made, three-point percentage, eFG%, and points. He also scored a career-high in points this season with his 50-point game against the Sixers. This season, Blake has been single-handedly carrying the Pistons in the playoff race. Although they haven’t played well recently and I believe the team should make a trade, Blake hasn’t disappointed. If he still played in LA, there’s a chance he would be in the running as an all-star starter, but he deserves to be an east all-star reserve at the very least.
F – Nikola Vucevic – Orlando Magic
Season Stats: 20.1 PPG (53/38/77), 12.0 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 1.1 BPG
Similar to Griffin, Vucevic is experiencing many career highs this season. He is currently averaging a career high in rebounds, points, field goal percentage, three-pointers made, three-point percentage, eFG%, and assists. Additionally, Vucevic has been much better on the defensive end. He is top 20 in both Defensive Win Shares and Defensive Box Plus/Minus while averaging a block and a steal per game. These career numbers Vucevic is putting up are the only reason the Magic are in the playoff race. For all these reasons, Vucevic deserves a spot as an East All-Star reserve.
G – Dwyane Wade – Miami Heat
Season Stats: 13.9 PPG (42/33/68), 3.5 RPG, 3.9 APG
While this all-star appearance is more about respect than his play this season, Wade hasn’t played poorly this season. His averages are unrecognizable compared to his prime years, but Wade has had a few flashback performances. Against Toronto, he dropped a season-high 35 point game, something most players only dream of doing. Additionally, Wade has had multiple 20-point outings and has continued to make impressive plays despite his old age. This year will be the last time any of us see Wade in an All-Star jersey and I plan to enjoy it.
G – Ben Simmons – Philidelphia 76ers
Season Stats: 16.5 PPG (58/NA/57), 9.1 RPG, 8.1 APG, 1.4 SPG
After getting snubbed last season, Ben Simmons has earned his spot as an All-Star. While his jump shot is still non-existent (33% from 3-10 feet, 8% from 10-16 feet) Simmons has impacted the game in so many other ways. He has been an efficient scorer around the basket and is still a great rebounder and passer for his position, leading to 7 triple-doubles this season. Simmons has also looked like an improved defender in his second season. I strongly considered giving this last spot to Zach LaVine, but Simmon’s all-around game trumped LaVine’s scoring ability.