2023 NBA All-Star reserve picks: Should the 76ers get two All-Stars?

Joel Embiid, James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers - Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Embiid, James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers - Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

With the NBA set to announce All-Star reserves tonight, Feb. 2, inhabitants of the Philadelphia metro area are all wondering the same thing: will the Sixers get two All-Stars? After Joel Embiid’s hotly debated snub from the Eastern Conference starters, he feels like a lock. James Harden, on the other hand, is firmly in the realm of the debatable.

There has been no shortage of talent on display in the NBA this season. A wide breadth of players are experiencing career-best years. A historic number of players are averaging north of 30 points per game — and, meanwhile, the conference standings are atypically muddled.

Let’s cut through the noise and pick who should — and shouldn’t — appear in the 2023 All-Star Game alongside the announced starters: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell in the East; LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Zion Williamson, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic in the West.

NBA Eastern Conference All-Star reserve picks


  • Tyrese Haliburton, Pacers

He probably would have started in a just world. Before his injury, Tyrese Haliburton and the Pacers were smack in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. They still have time to get back there. Haliburton’s prodigious playmaking and uncommon efficiency make him an easy pick.

  • James Harden, 76ers

Long gone are the days of 40-point triple-doubles and league-best scoring numbers, but Harden has reinvented himself as the NBA’s most prolific set-up man. He makes life easier on everyone around him, and the Sixers don’t surge to the top of NBA power rankings without him.


  • Joel Embiid, 76ers

He probably should have started. We’re talking about the best scorer in the MVP and, once again, a burgeoning MVP candidate. There’s no real argument against Embiid.

  • Pascal Siakam, Raptors

Despite the Raptors’ struggles, Pascal Siakam has been too dominant across the board to ignore. Still deadly slashing downhill, he has grown even more as a playmaker for others — making crisp reads on the move and picking apart the defense as both scorer and passer.

  • Bam Adebayo, Heat

Perhaps the frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year, Bam Adebayo has been central to Miami’s resurgence. We could be witnessing the passing of the franchise-player baton from Jimmy Butler to Adebayo.


  • Jaylen Brown, Celtics

He’s the second-best player on the NBA’s best team, but Jaylen Brown’s case goes far beyond that. He’s a special individual scorer who has posted career highs across the board, all while supplying quality defense on the wing.

  • Darius Garland, Cavaliers

If the Cavs get a second All-Star, it should be Garland. He has taken the backseat on some level to Donovan Mitchell, but he still carries the offense when Mitchell sits. When on the floor next to Mitchell, Garland has thrived off the ball as a scorching-hot shooter and complementary threat.

On the Bubble… 

Jimmy Butler (Heat), Jalen Brunson (Knicks), DeMar DeRozan (Bulls), Jarrett Allen (Cavaliers), Jrue Holiday (Bucks)

NBA Western Conference All-Star reserve picks


  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has made the superstar leap for the very promising Thunder. He’s maybe the craftiest iso scorer in the sport west of Kyrie, and he’s also a brilliant defender who can suffocate opponents with his length.

  • Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard is having the best statistical season of his career, silencing all the lingering doubts tied to his year-long absence related to a concerning core muscle malady. He’s the hottest scorer in the NBA right now; if only Portland could build a winner around him.


  • Domantas Sabonis, Kings

He probably should have started. The Kings have run out to the 3-seed in the West, having unlocked an elite offense by way of Sabonis’ unique blend of power, finesse, and playmaking wizardry. He elevates his teammates, gobbles up rebounds, and scores plenty of his own points for good measure.

  • Lauri Markkanen, Jazz

The aptly nicknamed Finnisher has really popped for his new team. The Jazz have regressed in the standings after their red-hot start to the season, but Markkanen’s mutli-faceted scoring has been deadlier than ever.

  • Paul George, Clippers

There’s a lot of panic floating around the Clippers fanbase right now, but it’s hard to be all the way out on a team that still employs Kawhi Leonard and, you guessed it, Paul George. The healthier of the two star wings in LA, George gets the nod for his standard two-way excellence.


  • Ja Morant, Grizzlies

Ja Morant is a top-10 MVP candidate to most, so this placement speaks more to the volume of talent on display in the West (and in particular, the backcourt) more than anything else. He’s must-watch television, the most explosive slasher in basketball.

  • Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves

Don’t look now, but the Timberwolves are rolling — and Anthony Edwards is the reason why. He looks every bit the superstar wing Minnesota hoped for with the No. 1 pick, and his progression as a playmaker for others has drastically reshaped the Wolves offense.

On the Bubble… 

De’Aaron Fox (Kings), Anthony Davis (Lakers), Aaron Gordon (Nuggets), Devin Booker (Suns)