ORLANDO — Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant have already been named All-Star Game starters, but the question remains:
Will Klay Thompson and Draymond Green make the Western-Conference roster when reserves are announced Thursday?
“Those guys have had great seasons,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said before Sunday’s game against the Magic. “I haven’t really stopped to do the numbers. When you say who should be on the All-Star team, you should be required to say who shouldn’t, as well.”
The league’s coaches have numerous deserving options to choose from when deciding the 14 All-Star reserves (two backcourt players, three frontcourt players and two wild-card spots per conference). Still, Thompson and Green are odds-on favorites to make the cut.
A force on both sides of the ball, Thompson authored the NBA’s top individual performance this season — a 60-point outburst in only 29 minutes of Golden State’s Dec. 5 win over Indiana. He is third on the Warriors with 21.1 points per game and second with 127 three-pointers made.
It helps his case that the Clippers’ Chris Paul will miss the All-Star Game after recently undergoing surgery on his left thumb. Thompson’s backcourt competition includes Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Portland’s Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, and Memphis’ Mike Conley.
“With Klay, it’s what he does on both ends,” Kerr said. “Think about the week he’s just had, chasing around Kyrie (Irving), Russell Westbrook, James Harden. He does it night in and night out, and he’s just an incredible two-way player. To me, that’s what wins.”
Green leads Golden State in rebounds (8.7), assists (7.7) and steals (2.0), while ranking fourth on the team with 10.8 points. The front-runner for the Defensive Player of the Year Award, he has made crunch-time stops to help preserve four Warriors wins this season.
His biggest frontcourt threats for an All-Star spot are Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Gordon Hayward, and San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge.
“Draymond is so important for us defensively,” Kerr said. “He’s our leading assist guy; such a great all-around player.”
Briefly: On the front end of a back-to-back set, Kerr will rest Shaun Livingston against the Magic. Kerr said that there is a chance he gives Andre Iguodala the night off Monday in Miami. … Sunday marks the Warriors’ earliest start time since a March 26, 1995 game in Orlando. Kerr admitted that Golden State’s “preparation has not been very good” because the team didn’t practice Saturday and had no shootaround or morning meeting Sunday. … Orlando’s Evan Fournier, who was listed as questionable with a sore right foot, won’t play against the Warriors.