Wolves center Karl-Anthony Towns did not make the seven All-Star Game reserves voted by coaches and announced Thursday evening. Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Golden State’s Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, Utah’s Gordon Hayward and L.A. Clipper DeAndre Jordan complete the West team.
“It doesn’t matter if I get to play on that Sunday,” Towns said. “It’s what happens after that Sunday: Can we make the playoffs? Can we win games? Can we keep this momentum riding? That’s the most important thing.”
Towns, 21, is averaging 22.4 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. He will participate in the Rising Stars Challege as part of All-Star weekend next month.
Among those also left off the West team: Utah's Rudy Gobert, Memphis' Mike Conley and Portland's Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
“This is the first time I have no problem with the reserves," former NBA star and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley said on the broadcast announcing the reserves. "The coaches did a fantastic job … they got it 100 percent correct.”
Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau submitted his vote by Tuesday's deadline.
"It's not easy," he said. "There are many players who are deserving. Somebody’s going to get left out all the time. You try to be as fair as you can be. It's real close and you can make a case for a lot of guys and oftentimes you’re looking to see if a guy has missed time, is he is nicked up, who has better record and how have they contributed to winning? A guy may be left off and then the next year he gets in."
The East reserves: Former Wolves star and Cleveland forward Kevin Love, Indiana's Paul George (playing the Wolves tonight at Target Center), Toronto's Kyle Lowry, Atlanta's Paul Millsap, Boston's Isaiah Thomas, Charlotte's Kemba Walker and Washington's John Wall.
• Now that Zach LaVine won’t compete in the slam-dunk contest, will forward Andrew Wiggins carry the flag for his team? “Uhhh, no,” he said, smiling.
• Towns said he’s undecided whether he’ll defend his All-Star Skills Challenge won in Toronto last season. “I’ve got some time to decide, but not too much,” he said.
• Thibodeau, Indiana coach Nate McMillan and their assistants wore bow ties Thursday to honor Michael H. Goldberg, longtime National Basketball Coaches Association executive director, who died last week. “We’re going to give it a shot,” said Thibodeau, who praised Goldberg’s nearly 40 years of work. “We prefer lapel pins.”
• A Dallas personnel scout has attended the past two Wolves games. The trading deadline is a month away.
• Former Wolves assistant coach Bill Bayno is now an assistant on McMillan’s staff.
• Wolves players taped New Year’s messages spoken in Chinese for minority owner John Jiang. He’s a Chinese sports marketing executive who owns 5 percent of the team.