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Who Should Be a 2021 NBA All-Star Game Reserve? Eastern Conference Picks

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The NBA All-Star Game is right around the corner, and the starters have been announced. We won’t know who is on what team until after the All-Star draft, which will occur on March 4 with captains Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets and Lebron James from the Los Angeles Lakers.

However, we still don’t know who will be coming off the bench in the All-Star game. The reserves for both conferences will be announced on February 23 at 7 p.m. EST on TNT. Until then, we can only wonder and predict who will be the reserves. In this article, I will be going over who I think should get a spot as a reserve for the game. 

2021 NBA All-Star Game Starters

*Stats and scores from games on 2/19/21 are not included. 

Guards

The NBA All-Star game reserves consist of seven players from each conference. 2 guards, 3 frontcourt players, and 2 players from any position. James Harden is the first eastern conference guard I have coming off the bench. Harden has put up great numbers for far this season with the Rockets and with the Nets. Harden is averaging 24.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and a league-leading 11.7 APG. With Durant being out of the lineup in the last seven games, Harden has stepped up in a big way and continues to show why he’s a perennial all-star.

The next guard reserve I have is Jaylen Brown. He has undoubtedly taken one of the biggest leaps in the NBA. Brown is averaging almost 26 PPG, which is up from his 20.3 PPG last season. Jaylen is also averaging 5.5 RPG and 3.6 RPG. This year, the potential Most Improved Player has been one of the few bright spots for the Celtics during their disappointing 14-14 start. The NBA media has Jaylen Brown as a starter for the NBA All-Star game but finished 5 in player voting, which pretty much ended his chances of being a starter. 

Frontcourt

The first player I have in the Eastern Conference frontcourt is Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum. The former Blue Devil is having another great season. Even though Jaylen Brown is the leading scorer for the Celtics, Jayson Tatum still has career-high numbers. Tatum is putting up 25.8 PPG, 7 RPG, and 4.7 APG. All of those career highs for the 22-year-old. Tatum, one of the players who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this season, has not been as good as of late, but we have learned that he has had some trouble breathing at the end of games and is getting fatigued quicker since his having COVID-19. No matter what, Jayson is still an NBA All-Star.

Although the Heat has struggled this year, I think they will still be sending center Bam Adebayo to the NBA All-Star Game. Bam leads the Heat in a very major category with almost 20 PPG, 9.3 RPG, and 5.5 APG. Adebayo’s teammate Jimmy Butler could also be considered for this spot, but I don’t think he deserves it because he only has played a little over half of the Heat’s games. If Bam can keep up how he’s playing, the Heat have a great chance at becoming a playoff team and know that their roster is healing up. 

The final frontcourt spot was tough to decide on. It came down to Tobias Harris and Domantas Sabonis. Both of them are having spectacular seasons for their respective teams. In the end, I decided to go with Sabonis. The Pacer is averaging a career-high in points with 21.5 per game. Sabonis is also averaging 11.6 rebounds so far this year. The Pacers currently hold the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, turning into real playoff threats led by Sabonis. Once Caris Levert, who the Pacers got in a trade with the Houston Rockets involving Victor Oladipo, comes back from his kidney injury, the Pacers will get even better and become an even more scary team.

Any Position

For the final two Eastern Conference All-Star spots, I have two guards. Zach Lavine is the first one. Lavine finished off above Jaylen Brown in the fan voting and player voting, but I still have Brown above Lavine on my list. Lavine is putting up amazing stats so far this season on a struggling 12-15 Bulls team. Lavine is averaging the sixth most PPG in the NBA at 28.5 per game. Lavine has put up a little over five assists and rebounds per game. This would be the 25 year-olds first All-Star Game appearance; however, he has appeared in the Slam Dunk Contest. 

Trae Young is the next player I have. Like the Bulls, the Hawks have had a very underwhelming season, but like Lavine, Trae Young is also having a great season. Trae has the tenth most PPG in the league at 26.5 per game while having the fourth most APG at 9.3. If the 12-16 Hawks want to have any chance at one of the eight Eastern Conference playoffs spots, Young needs to take his play to the next gear, and the rest of the Atlanta roster does too. I know 76ers fans aren’t going to like not seeing Tobias here, but I think Young is a little more deserving of the final spot. 

Summary

At the end of all of this the complete Eastern Conference Reserve roster looks like this:

  • James Harden
  • Jaylen Brown
  • Bam Adebayo
  • Domantas Sabonis 
  • Jayson Tatum
  • Trae Young
  • Zach Lavine

Although some players have protested against having an NBA All-Star game this season, it does look like it will happen this year with all the same events as last year. The All-Star Game will have the same format as the last All-Star Game, where the score resets after each quarter. The teams will have a target score to win the game. Be on the lookout for part two of this article with my Western Conference Reserves soon!

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Sam has been writing for Overtime Heroics since June of 2020, he currently is a writer for the Boston Celtics. Sam also helps run the Overtime Heroics Celtics Twitter account.