The Cleveland Cavaliers will not have an additional representative to join Donovan Mitchell in Utah for the All-Star game later this month barring an injury replacement. Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, who were both All-Stars last season, did not make the reserves list this time. Evan Mobley was not named to the team either.
The full list of reserves is as follows:
- Paul George (LA Clippers)
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder)
- Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies)
- Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
- Lauri Markkanen (Utah Jazz)
- Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
- Domantas Sabonis (Sacramento Kings)
- Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
- Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
- DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls)
- Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
- Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers)
- Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Julius Randle (New York Knicks)
Reserves are selected by NBA coaches.
Making an All-Star team is sometimes more about the surrounding circumstances than it is a reflection on your season. That is the case for Garland who has proven to be a much better player now than he was last season. The circumstances surrounding his All-Star candidacy are not.
On the night the reserves were picked in 2022, the Cavs were tied for second in the East with a 35-21 record. No one saw this kind of leap coming prior to last season. They were the feel-good story of the season while also being the host of the All-Star game. That isn’t replicable.
The situation is different this year. Besides the Cavs currently sitting fifth in the standings and the All-Star game not being in Northeast Ohio, the guard pool is much deeper.
Mitchell migrated over to the Eastern Conference last summer. Kyrie Irving has been able to play a full season after sitting out most of the previous one. Additionally, Jaylen Brown has taken a leap while being the second-best player for a team that sits atop of the league. Those are spots that weren’t previously. That’s before factoring last year’s guard crop of James Harden, Trae Young and DeMar DeRozan.
Those are things mostly out of Garland’s control. What he has done is become a more efficient scorer, a better playmaker while limiting turnovers all while seamlessly fitting alongside a high-usage guard in Mitchell. Those improvements shouldn’t be overlooked because the narrative is different now.
Likewise, Allen remains one of the most impactful defenders in the conference. His ability to protect the rim while being able to hold his own in space is unique to someone of his size. Unlike Garland, he’s not having a clear-cut better season this year than he did last.
Allen didn’t make the team outright last season either. He was an injury replacement. It was honor he deserved, but like Garland it was also easier to justify that selection.
Both players have an outside shot of being named injury replacement, but I don’t think either would be the first choice. The Eastern Conference is more formidable this year in terms of competitive teams and All-Star caliber players.