The 2023 NBA All-Star starters were announced on Thursday night. In the West, it's LeBron James, Luka Doncic, Stephen Curry, Zion Williamson and Nikola Jokic. In the East, it's Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant.
READ: All-Star starter snubs
With that out of the way, we now shift our All-Star attention to the 14 reserves (two guards, three frontcourt players and two wild cards per conference), which will be selected by the league's coaches and announced Thursday, Feb. 2.
Below are my predictions for who will make the cut, but this doesn't necessarily reflect who I think should make the cut.
Western Conference guards
This is a lock. If the Thunder were a better team, SGA would be in the thick of the MVP race. You could argue he should be anyway.
Also a lock. Whether he gets a wild card spot and Damian Lillard takes the guard role, or vice versa, it's a technicality. Both are getting in.
Western Conference frontcourt
Sabonis is the only player in the league averaging at least 18 points, 12 boards and seven assists. A Nikola Jokic light, he's a brute in the post but also the offensive hub of a second-ranked Kings offense that falls by 10 points per 100 possessions when he sits.
JJJ is the Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner and arguably the second-best player on the West's second-best team -- shout out to Desmond Bane, who was tracking to be an All-Star himself before an extended injury absence. Jackson has his fouling under control and he's shooting 39 percent from 3.
I think the coaches reward Markannen over Anthony Davis for two reasons: Markannen has, at the time of this writing, played 46 games to Davis' 29, and the Jazz are one of the best stories thus far. Markannen is a 25-point scorer while shooting 43 percent on over seven 3s a game, but he's perhaps the leading candidate for Most Improved Player because he's nearly an equal threat to put the ball on the floor. He's a far stronger finisher than you probably think. The fully realized version of Markannen being a stretch seven-footer with versatility on both ends is starting to come to fruition.
Western Conference wild cards
Lillard is a lock. Or at least he better be. He's averaging over 30 a night on the highest true-shooting mark of his career. As I said earlier, whether he gets a guard spot and Morant enters as a wild card, or vice versa, Lillard is in one way or the other.
Fox's clutch dominance has been well chronicled, but it bears repeating how great he's been in the biggest moments for the Kings. He's become almost indefensible with his ability to pull up in the midrange, where he's been lights out. Defenders having to honor that threat by pushing up on him makes them a sitting duck for penetration to the rim, where Fox is finishing at the highest rate of any guard in the league, per Cleaning The Glass.
Will miss the cut: Anthony Davis, Devin Booker, Draymond Green, Christian Wood, Anthony Edwards, Paul George, CJ McCollum, Desmond Bane, Jerami Grant
Eastern Conference guards
Haliburton leads the league in assist percentage and is second to James Harden in assists per game despite a usage rate that ranks 82nd league-wide. He's the only player averaging at least 20 points and 10 boards on 39-percent 3-point shooting. He's the most efficient isolation scorer in the league. He had a case to be a starter. He should be a lock to be a reserve.
A bonafide star on the league's best team, Brown is a full-court force on both ends. You'd like to see the 3-point shooting tick up, but Brown is a train in the open floor and one of the most determined basket attackers in the league when he has a head of steam. It doesn't always look pretty when his shot isn't going, but the guy is averaging 27 per game while playing his usual intense, disruptive defense. No way he's not an All-Star.
Eastern Conference frontcourt
Embiid should be starting over Antetokounmpo. Obviously he's getting in as a reserve.
When Adebayo is on the court, the Heat operate at what would be the best defensive rating in the league, per CTG. When he's off, they are 10 points per 100 possessions worse. Bam is so good in so many ways, both measurable and less tangible. He's still the most capable big-man defender away from the basket. He takes more shots in the paint per game than anyone, and given his propensity for facing up for soft-touch jumpers rather than backing down, his 48-percent paint conversion rate is quite healthy. Look, this is a 21-and-10 guy who orchestrates offense and anchors a top defense. He's an All-Star.
With the Raptors in the tank, this is a sheer numbers (pretty inefficient ones, to be fair) selection. But if continues this pace, Siakam would be the 10th player in NBA history to average at least 25 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Siakam could passed over by Jimmy Butler or Julius Randle and it wouldn't be a shock, but these numbers, to me, are too much to ignore -- even if I don't think Trae Young's raw numbers get him in, which I realize is a bit contradictory.
Eastern Conference wild cards
One of the Knicks is getting in, and I'm going with Brunson over Julius Randle. There's not a coach in the league who doesn't love Brunson, for starters, and they're the ones who are doing the picking. Brunson is a coach's dream. That's the reason he gets in over Trae Young, in my opinion, not to mention Trae's dismal shooting. Randle has been just as good as Brunson, if not a little bit better, but there is no way not to connect this suddenly solid, if frustratingly streaky Knicks team to the steadiness of Brunson, who has made life so much easier and more defined for Randle. That's what All-Stars do. They make other guys better, and I think Brunson gets rewarded for that.
These wild cards are incredibly tough calls in the East. But I think the coaches reward the Sixers for their success with two All-Stars. Harden gets in over Julius Randle, DeMar DeRozan, Trae Young and Jimmy Butler. If Harden doesn't make it, I think Butler is the guy. Frankly, they both might get in and Brunson might get left out. It's extremely tight.
But Harden is leading the league in assists while shootign 38 percent from 3 and heading up the most dominant pick-and-roll tandem in the league with Embiid. He's scaled way back on his scoring and is orchestrating at an elite level. He's at or near top 20 in most of the catch-all metrics. He's only played 31 games, but Butler hasn't played many more. Brutally tight call, but I think the coaches reward Harden for his willingness to take a step back and the results that have come with that approach.
Will miss the cut: Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday, Trae Young, Julius Randle, Dejounte Murray, Darius Garland, Kyle Kuzma, Myles Turner