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All-Star 2019

Using blind resumes to determine who is more deserving of a reserve spot in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game

NBA-BlindResume.jpg
Blind Resumes (NBA Canada Illustrations)

The last time we did blind resumes, we looked at four guards in the Eastern Conference who have a case to start in the 2019 All-Star Game.

Today, we're removing the names of two players who will likely be considered by the league's head coaches when they choose the reserves and comparing their statistics to figure out who is more deserving of being an All-Star this season.

The players below are both key contributors on teams that would in the playoffs if the season ended today. They don't play the same position - one is a guard, the other is a forward - but they fill similar roles on offence.

With that in mind, who do you think should make the trip to Charlotte, North Carolina next month based on the following per 36 minute numbers?

Player PPG RPG APG STL BLK FG% 3PT% FT%
A 21.9 8.4 2.3 0.8 0.4 50.4 44.3 88.2
B 22.6 4.3 2.1 1.3 0.7 45.1 36.0 80.2

The points and assists are basically the same, but Player A has a significant advantage in rebounds and overall shooting efficiency.

Player B, meanwhile, has the edge in steals and blocks.

Player B is also far more of a volume shooter from 3-point range than Player A. He's taking three more 3-pointers per 36 minutes, as you can see below:

Player FGM FGA 3PM 3PA FTM FTA TS%
A 8.1 16.2 2.1 4.7 3.5 3.9 61.1
B 8.9 19.6 2.9 8.0 2.1 2.6 54.5

So who are they?

Player A is LA Clippers forward Tobias Harris.

Player B is Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson.

Again, numbers don't tell the whole story. To add some context, let's take a look at both of their cases in slightly more detail.

The case for Tobias Harris

The Clippers weren't expected to compete for a spot in the playoffs entering the 2018-19 season, but they currently have the sixth-best record in the Western Conference due in large part to the emergence of Harris.

With 20.8 points per game, Harris is leading the Clippers in scoring this season. He's getting it done with great efficiency, as he's shooting 61.4 percent in the restricted area, 45.6 percent from midrange and 44.3 percent from 3-point range.

If he can maintain those shooting percentages over the second half of the season while increasing his free throw percentage by a hair, Harris will join the likes of Kevin Durant, Steve Nash and Larry Bird in the exclusive 50-40-90 club.

Based on how efficient he's been, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Clippers are a completely different team with Harris in the lineup. According to NBA.com, they've been scoring at a rate of 111.9 points per 100 possessions with him on the court this season compared to 105.4 with him on the bench.

While it's the opposite case on defence - LA's defensive rating is actually better with Harris on the bench - the Clippers go from having a positive net rating (+1.7) to negative one (-1.2) when he's not out there.

With how well he's been playing and the impact it's had on the Clippers, Harris has a strong chance of being an All-Star for the first time in his career.

The case for Klay Thompson

Thompson's scoring is up slightly from last season, but he's shooting under 40.0 percent from 3 for the first time in his career.

Even so, Thompson ranks in the top-10 in 3-pointers made, trailing only James Harden, Stephen Curry, Buddy Hield, Paul George, Kemba Walker, Damian Lillard and JJ Redick. He's still more than capable of catching fire from beyond the arc in a way few players in NBA history can, too.

On Oct. 29, for example, Thompson set an NBA record by making 14 3-pointers on 24 attempts against the Chicago Bulls. He entered that game shooting 5-for-36 from 3-point range on the season.

More recently, Thompson scored 43 points in 33 minutes against the New York Knicks, doing so while taking only four dribbles. It was reminiscent of the time he scored 60 points against the Indiana Pacers while taking only 11 dribbles.

Thompson has also been one of the league's best midrange shooters this season. In a surprising turn of events, only DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge have attempted more shots from midrange than the Warriors guard through 43 games.

Thompson, however, has knocked those opportunities down at a much greater clip (47.6 percent) than both DeRozan (39.1 percent) and Aldridge (41.9 percent).

The icing on the cake is Thompson is still one of the better perimeter defenders in the NBA. It's not reflected as much in the on-off splits this season, but there aren't many wings who are as comfortable guarding out of their position as he is.

All things considered, Thompson has been the third-best player on a Warriors team that is half a game out of the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

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