The Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers are nowhere near the top of the Western Conference standings this year, but the play of their respective superstars is not to blame for their middling records.

The NBA’s coaches seem to agree with these sentiments as they selected the Warriors’ Stephen Curry and Anthony Davis of the Lakers as reserves for this year’s NBA All-Star Game. This marks Curry’s 10th appearance which ties him with James Harden for the fourth most among active players while Davis is right behind him with nine All-Star nods. 

Joining the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Curry in the West’s backcourt reserve spots are the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker, now a four-time NBA All-Star, and Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 22-year-old Edwards has now made it to two consecutive NBA All-Star games and his current career trajectory suggests that this streak is likely to extend for many more years to come. 

In the frontcourt, Davis is joined by familiar names in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers together with Edwards’ Minnesota teammate Karl-Anthony Towns. It could be argued that Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron of the Sacramento Kings deserved a spot over George and Towns as they are poised to lead their team to a second consecutive playoff appearance.

However, the popularity of the now nine-time NBA All-Star George and the key role that Towns has played on the West’s best team seem to have given them the edge. 


Meanwhile, the East’s reserves are much younger than their West counterparts and even feature three fresh faces who will be making their NBA All-Star debut. These three first-timers are Tyrese Maxey of the Philadelphia 76ers, the New York Knicks’ Jalen Brunson, and last year’s NBA Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero from the Orlando Magic. 

Joining them on the Eastern Conference bench are the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell, the East-leading Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat, and Brunson’s New York teammate Randle. These four players are all still under the age of 30, yet they are slowly becoming staples of the league’s annual midseason showcase. 

Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and the Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes were both worthy of consideration in the East, though it is difficult to make a case for them over the list of reserves selected given how poorly their teams have played this season. Randle is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury though and this could pave the way for Young or Barnes to make it to the team as an injury replacement.

The mix of battled-tested veterans, stars in their prime, and emerging talents who will take the floor for this year’s NBA All-Star Game highlight the depth of talent in the league today. It will be interesting to see how the dynamic between the different generations of players develops with the game set to revert to the traditional East versus West format this year. It is likely that the elders will take this opportunity to bask in the spotlight, but it would not come as a surprise if one of the younger players use this as the stage for their coming out party to highlight that the future is indeed now.