After much debate and speculation, the coaches' picks for the Eastern Conference reserves in the 2014 All-Star Game were officially announced on Thursday on TNT. The full list is as follows: Roy Hibbert (Pacers), John Wall (Wizards), Joakim Noah (Bulls), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors), Paul Millsap (Hawks), Chris Bosh (Heat) and Joe Johnson (Nets).
Yes, that means Kyle Lowry did not make it. Neither did Lance Stephenson. Here's a bit more on each of the players who did:
Roy Hibbert: Hibbert's role on one of the best teams in the league made him a heavy candidate to start the 2014 All-Star game and a shoo-in to start at center had the NBA not nixed the separate forward and center spots. In an Eastern Conference with so many strong individual candidates on so many sub-.500 teams, the Pacers center became an easy pick after LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and teammate Paul George made the starting frontcourt. The leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year is only behind New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis in blocks per game (2.5) and is also averaging 11.8 points and 7.8 rebounds.
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John Wall: Though Kyrie Irving earned the starting point guard spot following his dazzling performance last year, you could argue that Wall's credentials are stronger when only looking at the 2013-14 season. Both young point guards have gone through rough stretches, but Wall's team finds itself in the playoff race very much because of what he's doing. Irving and Wall are caught shooting perhaps too much, but the Wizard has dished the ball at a much higher rate.
Joakim Noah: The Bulls may be going through some pains without point guard Derrick Rose, but as expected, Noah's impact hasn't wavered. He's averaging a double-double and more than four assists, a testament to Noah's already well-rounded skill set being honed as he pushes through his seventh NBA season. Noah only helped his All-Star candidacy in the weeks leading up to the final announcement. In the month of January, Noah has averaged 14.1 rebounds 5.8 assists per game.
DeMar DeRozan: Toronto's swingman has kept up his scoring following the Rudy Gay trade, averaging 21.8 points per game. This is a sign that he's been able to handle increased defensive attention. Even though DeRozan's three-point shooting has dropped off, he's gotten to the line more and has recorded bumps in his rebounding and assist numbers since the trade. Perhaps most importantly, he's the leading scorer on what is now the East's third-best team.
2014 NBA All-Star Game
Judge on merit, not narrative
•SBNation.comNo one flavor of All-Star candidate is better than another, which is why it's important to judge all candidates on the merits, not on the narratives.
2014 NBA All-Star Game
Paul Millsap: Millsap in in the midst of a career year scoring the ball, and he's currently helping the Hawks stay afloat without center Al Horford, who has been out with an injured shoulder. Across the board, Millsap has stuffed the stat sheet, averaging 17.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game. In his eighth season, this is his first All-Star appearance.
Chris Bosh: With eight All-Star appearances under his belt heading into this season, it's no surprise Bosh is back for his ninth. The Heat forward's numbers are down a tad from his past seasons, but there's an argument he's playing his best ball. Bosh has never played off his teammates so well. He's shooting a career-best 54 percent from the floor and has extended the range on his jumper. He's shooting 36.7 percent on three-pointers this season and is taking a career-high two of them per outing, which is twice as many as last season.
Joe Johnson: With center Brook Lopez out for the season with a broken foot, Johnson has taken the reins as the best player on a surging Nets squad. His numbers haven't been off the charts by any means -- not much about Johnson ever is -- but he's been steady and selective in his shot attempts. He's averaging 15.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Johnson's best at the end of close games, needing only half a season to make a compelling highlight reel of clutch buckets.