The NBA announced the 2024 All-Star Game starters a week ago with a glaring omission in the Eastern Conference backcourt as fans voted in mass for Damian Lillard and therefore snubbed Jalen Brunson.
The 2024 #NBAAllStar Starters!— NBA (@NBA) January 26, 2024
Giannis Antetokounmpo (captain)
LeBron James (captain)
The Association—only coaches voted this time—fixed that wrong on Thursday, Feb. 1, as the reserves for the ASG were announced on TNT putting both Brunson and teammate Julius Randle in the Eastern Conference squad for the mid-February showcase to take place in Indianapolis.
The 2024 NBA All-Star Game Eastern Conference Reserves:— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) February 2, 2024
▪️ Bam Adebayo (MIA)
▪️ Paolo Banchero (ORL)
▪️ Jaylen Brown (BOS)
▪️ Jalen Brunson (NYK)
▪️ Donovan Mitchell (CLE)
▪️ Tyrese Maxey (PHI)
▪️ Julius Randle (NYK) pic.twitter.com/yaxdyLcZrx
Brunson will make his All-Star debut this season after failing to crack the code last year—although many around the NBA believed he should have been given the accolade then and there—while Randle will notch a third star to his already-terrific resume albeit he won’t be able to appear in the game while rehabbing a dislocated shoulder injury suffered last week.
The Knicks point guard finished tied for second in the Eastern Conference guards leaderboard but Dame got the starting nod by getting (many) more fan votes than Brunson with that being the tiebreaker for the final selection.
Randle ranked ninth among those listed as frontcourt players. He was noted as a top-8 pick by both fans and media, but fellow NBA players only gave him the 11th-most votes, thus tanking his rank and making it impossible for him to even stand a chance at starting in this year’s ASG—which was going to be impossible anyway with Giannis, Jayson Tatum, and Joel Embiid locked into the three main slots.
In a dark twist, however, both Embiid (a penciled-in starter) and Randle (who more than merits a reserve nod this season) went down injured in the past few days with the former now also dangerously close to missing more games than he’s allowed to if he wants to win his second MVP award, and the latter out for the next few weeks-to-months with a shoulder issue.
At the time of the announcement and entering Thursday’s matchup against the Pacers, Brunson is putting up career-high numbers in the points (26+ PPG) and assists (6+ APG) columns as well as shooting better than ever and bagging three-point shots at a 42%+ clip.
When it comes to Randle, who is now a three-time All-Star (yes, haters), he was averaging 24 PPG, 9+ RPG, and 6 APG before getting injured last weekend in the victory against Miami.
Even though he’s injured, the NBA doesn’t impose any sort of limitation or block coaches from voting Randle or any other injured player as reserves for the All-Star game, allowing those performers to get the accolade they earned without a problem—just imagine Embiid not getting the ASG entry in his resume because of a last-minute injury, for example. Obviously, if Randle cannot (and he most definitely won’t) attend and appear in the ASG, the NBA will have a substitute at hand who will earn a bonus All-Star nod in his replacement, making the rosters of both the Eastern and Western Conferences 12-player deep come tip-off time.
To Jalen and Julius, congrats from your P&T admirers!