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2017 NBA All-Star Game Starting Lineups

By Rahul Lal

The NBA All-Star Game starting lineups were announced Thursday evening and instantly drew reactions from fans across the country. Some were positive, but the majority gravitated toward Russell Westbrook being snubbed despite averaging a triple-double 44 games into the season. Other interesting non-starters, such as Joel Embiid and Zaza Pachulia, would’ve been voted in but for a change in traditional fan voting. Neither Embiid nor Pachulia were named starters.

So who did get voted in and why? Here are the starting lineups for the Eastern and Western Conferences:

Eastern Conference All-Stars:

Kyrie Irving – Cleveland Cavaliers (G)
Fan Rank: 1
Player Rank: 1
Media Rank: 3

Kyrie Irving has delivered on all of the expectations that followed from his spectacular postseason last year. Irving is putting up nearly 24 points per game, with impressive shooting percentages given the number of shots he fires every night, and over five assists. The voting ranks tell the story of a great season for Irving, and he deserves to be voted in.

DeMar DeRozan – Toronto Raptors (G)
Fan Rank: 3
Player Rank: 3
Media Rank: 2

The battle between DeRozan and Isaiah Thomas is one to look at, as each had the same weighted total between voting ranks. There’s an argument for both players. DeRozan has turned the Raptors into the second best team in the Eastern Conference ahead of Thomas’ Celtics and has put up incredible stats along the way. Improving more than any player year by year, DeRozan is hitting his prime right now, putting up 28 points, five boards and a wildly impressive 47.5% shooting from the field while averaging over 21 shots per game. What makes DeRozan so special is that he knows his limitations as a player and plays within his capabilities, something so many players at his level struggle with.

LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers (F/C)
Fan Rank: 1
Player Rank: 1
Media Rank: 1

There’s no question LeBron James deserves to make his 13th NBA All-Star appearance. It’s simple, wherever LeBron plays basketball, he will turn his team into a championship contender. At 32 years old, he has become a more than capable shooter from distance, averaging a career-high 37.5% from three. His 7.8 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game and consistent defensive presence only support the case that his top-seeded Cavaliers should be feared in the playoffs. LeBron deserves to be the top ranked in each voting category.

Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks drives against Thabo Sefolosha #25 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on January 15, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks (F/C)
Fan Rank: 2
Player Rank: 2
Media Rank: 2

Before the season, Antetokounmpo would’ve likely been the player left off most All-Star starting lineups. But he has become one of the league’s most dangerous players and is now a flat-out superstar. At 6’11, he is versatile enough to play the point guard position, as he has done all season. He is averaging nearly 24 points, 8.7 boards, 5.6 assists and nearly two blocks and two steals per game. Antetokounmpo is revolutionizing the game with his size and skill and is somehow only 22. A former mid-first round pick, he may be one of the most coveted players in the league and seems to get better with each game.

Jimmy Butler – Chicago Bulls (F/C)
Fan Rank: 5
Player Rank: 3
Media Rank: 3

The Chicago Bulls have fallen upon tough times with the Rajon Rondo experiment going haywire and Dwyane Wade posting career lows in shooting percentages and assists. Butler’s production on the season has made life a little easier for Wade and Bulls fans. Butler has posted career highs in points (24.8), rebounds (6.8), assists (4.8) and is close to his career high in steals at just under two. His improved shooting makes him a consistent perimeter threat. Butler is undoubtedly the franchise cornerstone for a team with plenty of decisions to make in the near future.

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors reacts against the Miami Heat at ORACLE Arena on January 10, 2017 in Oakland, California.

Steph Curry (Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Western Conference All-Stars:

Steph Curry – Golden State Warriors (G)
Fan Rank: 1
Player Rank: 3
Media Rank: 3

It shouldn’t shock people that Curry was named an All-Star starter while Russell Westbrook, who ranked first in both player and media ranks, wasn’t. Still, Curry’s 24.6 points, 6.1 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game are nothing to scoff at. The winner of the last two MVP trophies has helped lead the Warriors to a 36-6 record while also shooting a remarkably efficient 46.5% from the field, 39.7% from three and 92.6% from the charity stripe.

James Harden – Houston Rockets (G)
Fan Rank: 2
Player Rank: 2
Media Rank: 2

James Harden would likely be the leader in early MVP voting, as he’s only a hair behind Russell Westbrook in individual stats. Harden is currently averaging 28.9 points, 8.3 rebounds and 11.6 assists per game while putting up some ridiculous video game-like stat lines in Mike D’Antoni’s fast-paced Houston offense. There’s no doubt that Harden is the best shooting guard in the Western Conference.

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs during play against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on November 30, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.

Kawhi Leonard (Photo Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs (F/C)
Fan Rank: 3
Player Rank: 2
Media Rank: 2

Leonard has quietly led the Spurs to a 33-9 record, only three games behind the Warriors, on the strength of his 24.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. Leonard does a lot of his damage on the defensive side of the ball too, averaging nearly two steals and a block each game. He has improved each year as a shooter and is currently shooting a mind-blowing 48.8% from the field, including a remarkable 41.5% from three-point range, on nearly 17 attempts per game.

Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors (F/C)
Fan Rank: 1
Player Rank: 1
Media Rank: 1

With all due respect to Steph Curry, Durant has taken over this Golden State team and made it his own. The former MVP has churned out the most efficient season of his incredible career, averaging over 26 points a game. His 54.4% shooting from the field and eight-plus rebounds per game are both career highs. Durant has kept the Warriors alive when their offense has looked stagnant or just simply out of gas.

Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans (F/C)
Fan Rank: 4
Player Rank: 3
Media Rank: 3

Anthony Davis will be the hometown favorite for the New Orleans All-Star Game, but he wasn’t voted onto the team because he plays for the Pelicans. Davis hasn’t been plagued by injuries this season, unlike in previous seasons, and his numbers are up as a result. He has put up 28.8 points per game along with 12 boards and 2.4 blocks per game, the latter of which puts him near the top of the league. He has his team, which started with the NBA’s worst record, within reach of the final seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

The NBA All-Star Weekend will take place February 17-19. The festivities will open Friday with the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and Rising Stars Challenge. The next day will feature fan favorites like the NBA Skills Contest, Three Point Contest and Dunk Contest. The All-Star Game itself will headline the last day of All-Star festivities.

Rahul Lal is an LA native stuck in a lifelong, love-hate relationship with the Lakers, Dodgers and Raiders. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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