Westbrook snubbed as All-Star game starter

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Westbrook snubbed as All-Star game starter

The Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook (0) drives to the basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves' Brandon Rush (4) during the second half on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves won, 96-86. (Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

The Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook (0) drives to the basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves' Brandon Rush (4) during the second half on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves won, 96-86. (Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

The Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook (0) drives to the basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves' Brandon Rush (4) during the second half on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves won, 96-86. (Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

The Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook (0) drives to the basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves' Brandon Rush (4) during the second half on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Timberwolves won, 96-86. (Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Brandon Sans | Staff Writer | @bsans10

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When it is time to appoint the top basketball players in the NBA, the same names usually are uttered around the world without much debate. When it is time to limit those names to five starters per conference, chaos typically ensues.

The starters for the 2017 NBA All-Star game were announced Thursday for both conferences. Even though there were no undeserving starters, there was a fair amount of shock concerning who was not a starter. 

The Western Conference will trot out Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry and the Houston Rockets’ James Harden in the backcourt, while Curry’s teammate Kevin Durant will join New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis and the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard in the frontcourt.

Both recent NBA Finals teams will have two starters as Cleveland Cavaliers teammates Kyrie Irving and LeBron James will be joined by Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, and “The Greek Freak” Giannis Antekounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. 

While it cannot be denied all are deserving of making the squad, ideal starters represent the players who are having the best season that year. There are always exceptions like Kobe Bryant last year, or when an entire continent rallied behind Yao Ming, but players having the best individual season typically get the honor of starting.

Russell Westbrook, who is on pace to average the first triple-double over the course of a season since Hall of Fame player Oscar Robertson in 1961-62, was not named a starter. Westbrook is currently averaging 30.6 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.6 rebounds per game.

Fans account for 50 percent of the starters vote and active players and the media account for 25 percent each. League coaches vote to determine the reserves on the teams.

The biggest factor in determining All-Star starters is the popularity of the individual player or the team they play for. Curry being the baby-faced superstar on a team that has won a title and set the record for most wins in a single season over the past two years certainly makes him an attractive option to the casual fan.

NBA fans across UNC Wilmington’s campus disagree with the results of the voting.

“That man Russ is averaging a triple-double,” said UNCW freshman Logan Harris. “There’s no doubt he should be a starter over Steph Curry.”

At least one player will make his All-Star game debut as Antetokounmpo will be the first Buck to make the game since Michael Redd in 2004. The Greek Freak is enjoying a breakout season averaging 23.7 points, 5.6 assists per game.

All are career highs for the fourth year player.

“It’s not surprising to see [Antetokounmpo] get his nod,” said freshman Chip Kline. “I think he’s proven to be the second best player in the Eastern Conference this season.”

The 2017 All-Star game will be played on February 19 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The game was originally planned to be planned in Charlotte, but was moved amid controversy regarding North Carolina’s House Bill 2.