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Early read on All-Star reserves: Expect James Harden to join Kevin Durant but no Kyrie Irving

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Brooklyn Nets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the fans, players and media have had their say in picking the All-Star Game starters, it will be up to the NBA coaches to choose the reserves, the pool from which team captains Kevin Durant and LeBron James will “draft” their teammates.

The reserves will be named on Thursday by the coaches. Then a week later, KD and LBJ will start picking rosters in the All-Stat Draft. The Game itself will be played February 20 in Cleveland.

What to expect from a Nets perspective? Tim Reynolds, AP’s national basketball writer, took an early look Tuesday and thinks that James Harden deserves his 10th All-Star berth. He may not be what he was last year (at least yet) but he is who he is and his numbers are not bad at all.

James Harden, Brooklyn: His shooting is way down, but is still averaging 23 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds per game. It should be impossible to look at those numbers and scoff at Harden’s candidacy.

Harden in fact is 18th in scoring, second in assists, 29th in rebounding and third in triple-doubles.

No word from Reynolds about Kyrie Irving’s longshot candidacy. He has gaudy numbers too — 24.5 points on 49/37/96 shooting splits — but he’s played only eight games in a season filled with controversy.

Commissioner Adam Silver will have to name a replacement for Durant who’s been ruled out of the Game because of a sprained MCL as well as any injured players ... or players unlikely enough to test positive for COVID.

Reynolds also notes that former Net Jarrett Allen along with Cavs. teammate Darius Garland is a good bet to make the reserves, writing “the home crowd would go positively bonkers if these two get into the All-Star Game. Allen is a double-double machine.”

And tonight, at 7 p.m. ET, the Rising Stars Challenge participants will be named. it would appear that Kessler Edwards, starter of 10 straight games as a 3-and-D wing, and Cam Thomas, with for 20+ point games in January, would have a chance of being among the 12 first year players selected. They too will be chosen by the league’s coaches. The game has a revamped format that will include rookies, sophomores as well as players from the G League’s Team Ignite.