(Reuters) – Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is averaging a league-best 30.6 points per game this season but was a conspicuous absentee from the starting lineups announced by the NBA on Thursday for next month’s All-Star Game.
Instead of Westbrook, Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and James Harden of the Houston Rockets were selected as the starting guards for the Western Conference in voting by fans, current players and the media.
Curry, the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2015 and 2016, will make his fourth All-Star appearance while Harden, averaging 28.9 points this season, gets the nod for a fifth time.
The other Western Conference starters were Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis.
Durant, a seven-time All-Star, is averaging 26.2 points and a career-high 8.6 rebounds this season while Leonard, Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016, is averaging a career-best 24.8 points for the Spurs.
The Eastern Conference starters are LeBron James of the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers, Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls, dynamic 22-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors and Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James, who led the Cavaliers to a comeback win from a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals, is averaging 25.6 points this season, and will be making his 13th All-Star appearance.
The All-Star Game will be played in New Orleans at the Smoothie King Center on Feb. 19.
(This version of the story corrects Kevin Durant’s team in paragraph four.)
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in St. Augustine, Florida; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)