With the Western Conference All-Star starters set, let’s look at the players who deserve a reserve slot for the West All-Star team this season. Check out our Eastern Conference All-Star reserve picks here.
Guard: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Curry is a lock to make the team and the only question is: why isn’t he starting? It took historic individual seasons from Dallas’ Luka Doncic and OKC’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to dislodge Curry from his usual starter spot at the All-Star game (the first time that's happened since 2014). As one of the legends of this generation and a face of the league for years running, Curry is still playing at a high level this season, averaging 27.5 points, 5 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 41 games played.
Guard: Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
Like Jayson Tatum out East, Edwards is the best player on the best team in the West, which absolutely strengthens his All-Star case. Blossoming into a full-blown superstar this season, Edwards is averaging 26 points, 5.3 assists and 5.2 rebounds. Even at only 22 years of age, Edwards has been leading his team to wins and the top seed in the Western Conference, earning a ton of respect from fans and the media. Those efforts won't go unnoticed as he earns his second All-Star nod.
Forward: Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers have had the league’s best record over the last 10 weeks and the reason is pretty simple: Kawhi Leonard is performing like his usual self. Leonard has played 41 of the Clippers' 45 games, which is huge considering the 6-foot-7 forward’s injury history and past load management. In the past, Leonard has missed a lot of games in the regular season and playoffs, but that hasn't been the case this season. Leonard has been the Clippers' best player, averaging 23.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.7 steals a night. Whenever Leonard is playing well, the Clippers look like an elite squad.
Forward: Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
Arguably the Lakers’ best player this year, Anthony Davis has taken it upon himself to lead Los Angeles both on offense and defense. Despite playing out of his normal position, Davis is averaging 25 points, 12.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.2 steals as a center. There is a direct correlation between Davis’ play and the Lakers' success this year. The Lakers would probably be even deeper down the standings if not for Davis and he's likely done enough to join Lakers teammate and All-Star captain LeBron James on the team.
Center: Rudy Gobert, Minnesota Timberwolves
Perhaps a controversial pick, Rudy Gobert is a worthy All-Star due to his production and the fact that he's helped lead the Wolves to the No. 1 seed in the West. Gobert is the anchor of the best defense in the entire league and is the main reason why Minnesota can effectively deploy a two-center lineup. Even though his 13.3 points per game don't jump off the page, Gobert is also averaging 12.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. The 7-foot-1 center is once again a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and leading his team to a ton of wins, which he has been doing since his Utah Jazz days. That is a testament to his value.
Wildcard: De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
Last year, Fox made his first All-Star appearance. This year, he’s been even better, upping his averages to 27.5 points, 5.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds for the fifth-place Sacramento Kings. This is Fox’s best scoring campaign of his career, just a season removed from winning the NBA’s inaugural Clutch Player of the Year award. A lot of the 6-foot-3 guard’s success this season can be attributed to him shooting better from three (increasing his three-point percentage from 32.4% to 38.6%), which has allowed him to become a true three-level scoring threat. Using a lethal arsenal of mid-range jumpers and floaters, he has raised his game to the next level.
Wildcard: Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker takes the West's last slot after some recent explosive performances. Booker has been on a stunning scoring tear as of late, which might help him secure a place on the team. Over the past week, the 6-foot-6 guard is averaging mind-boggling numbers of 42 points on 64% shooting from the field, including a 62-point outing and 52-point performance. This season, Booker has taken on more on-ball duties than ever before since Chris Paul is out of the picture and he's trying to fit alongside All-Star starter Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal. This recent explosion reminded everyone that he can light up teams when he gets hot and look the part of an All-Star.
Snubs: Domantas Sabonis (Center, Sacramento Kings); Paul George (Forward, Los Angeles Clippers); Brandon Ingram (Forward, New Orleans Pelicans); Zion Williamson (Forward, New Orleans Pelicans); Alperen Sengun (Center, Houston Rockets); Lauri Markkanen (Forward, Utah Jazz)
The West is too deep. Even with Sabonis and George having stellar seasons and their teams in the upper half of the standings (the Clippers are fourth and the Kings are fifth), both still fail to crack the West’s top 12. One can argue Sabonis and/or George over Gobert, but it's hard to give just one All-Star spot to the best team in the conference and two slots to teams below them. Both Sabonis and George could also get in through the wildcards, but Booker has been on another level recently and Fox and Sabonis are likely competing over the same spot.
The Pelicans’ Ingram and Williamson didn't get in as they don't have the stats compared to others on this list, with the Pelicans being one of the deepest teams in the league.
Sengun and Markkanen each have a case as a leading mnn on the next tier of West playoff teams, but the conference is filled with so much talent that even a career-best season may not warrant a spot.