(Photo by TorreyPurvey.com)
By Michael Kinney
OKLAHOMA CITY– When the NBA announced its all-star game starters Thursday, there was a name conspicuously missing. Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook was not one of the five players listed on the Western Conference.
For Oklahoma City fans, that may come as an outrage. But for Westbrook himself, it’s not something he plans to lose any sleep over.
“Not at all. All-Star doesn’t do anything, change anything, change who you are as a player, what you bring to the game,” Westbrook said Friday after practice. “It’s just who people think should make it. It doesn’t change anything for me. Never will. That’s not something I play for. I play to win championships. That’s it.”
The Western Conference starters include Steph Curry and James Harden, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
Among backcourt players, Curry had the most votes from the coaches and fans and was second among media members. Harden was third among fans, second in fan voting and first with the media. Westbrook was fourth with the fans and third with both the media and players.
Westbrook is averaging 24.8 points and a league-leading 9.9 assists per game. He is also fifth in steals at 2.02. He beats out Curry in all three categories and leads Harden in both assists and steals.
However, with Golden State and Houston having better seasons that the Thunder, that may have worked against Westbrook.
Westbrook is expected to be named one of the seven all-star reserves, which will be voted on by NBA head coaches. The reserves will be announced Jan. 23.
But it will be up to Curry and LeBron James to decide which team Westbrook is on. Since they are the captains, they will draft from the pool of reserves to build their team. James gets the first pick.
Judging from the varying relationships Westbrook has with James and Curry, don’t expect Westbrook to be reunited with his former Thunder teammate Kevin Durant on the Western team.
The All-Star game is Feb. 1 at the Stapels Center in Los Angeles.
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com