Posted: January 21, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NBA
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The Western Conference is deep. Like Grand Canyon deep. There are eight teams with 24 or more wins already, with the Lakers and Spurs having passed 30 already. That alone proves the individual talent level available to represent the Conference in LA for the All-Star game next month. But what’s more is that even on the bad teams, there are guys that are playing so well that they deserve to make the trip, for both dominating against the good teams and overcoming their own teammates lack of…um…fortitude. Arguably there could be a team made from those that don’t make the cut (stay tuned for that actually), but for now it’s time to look at the top of the mountain, and those that made the cut to back them up.

Durant and Kobe get to unite for one night only, and have their usual reservations for All-Star weekend


G: Deron Williams: 22.1 PPG, 9.5 APG, 1.2 SPG

G: Kobe Bryant: 25.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.7 APG

C: Tim Duncan: 13.6 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 2.0 BPG

F: Carmelo Anthony: 23.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.9 APG

F: Kevin Durant: 28.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.1 SPG

There are a few issues to measure out right away in my process at arriving at this starting five right away, starting in the middle. Yao Ming is going to win the popular vote, despite wearing a suit for the second consecutive season more than a jersey. That’s fine, I probably wouldn’t have voted for him anyway. Instead, I’m putting Tim Duncan in this spot, but not as a bench replacement that’s bumped up due to injury, but as the actual best center in the West. Historically, Tim is listed as a power forward, which is right, because he is the best to ever play the position. In reality though, for the last three seasons or so, he has played more center than anything else, due to decreased mobility and easier assignments on defense. Why the NBA doesn’t list him as such on their All-Star ballot I don’t know, but I took the liberty of correcting it for them. Get it right next year NBA, when him and Yao are in the exact same places as this year again.

Williams has ascended to the becoming the class of the either conference at the point.

As for the other starters, I don’t feel the need to speak to Kobe or Durant’s presence here, so I won’t. They don’t need an introduction anywhere. For Carmelo, it came down to a choice between him and Dirk Nowitzki, but I take Melo simply on the fact he’s in his prime and one a more active rebounder, plus he is flat out more exciting to watch. I want Melo vs. LeBron kicking off my ASG over LeBron blowing past Dirk (although that would be quite exciting still). As for Deron Williams over Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook, he’s the overall best option here in my opinion, and while I still like CP3 better as a better pure creator from the point, Williams is probably the best overall player at the spot right now, so he takes my vote.

The bench is where you set yourself up to lose at any rate. No matter who you take, there are at least two to three players that have an equal qualification at every position. The only player that has a definite spot outside the starting five here is Nowitzki. Let the debate rage on for all others, yet here is how I arrived where I did.


Monta Ellis: 25.9 PPG, 5.6 APG, 2.3 SPG

Russell Westbrook: 22.5 PPG, 8.4 APG, 2.0 SPG

Dirk Nowitzki: 23.4 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 2.5 APG

Kevin Love: 21.3 PPG, 15.6 RPG, 2.5 APG

Blake Griffin: 22.6 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 0.62 BPG

Chris Paul: 16.3 PPG, 9.7 APG, 2.7 SPG

Pau Gasol: 18.6 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.0 BPG

Monta Ellis, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook at guard: With all apologies to Steve Nash, Kevin Martin, Eric Gordon, Tony Parker, and most of all, Manu Ginobili, these are the best options. Westbrook would be the most dynamic point guard finisher in the league if not for Derrick Rose. He’s been on beeline to this point since dominating in the FIBA tournament this summer and contributes across the board more than any other PG in the West. Paul’s return alone has pushed basically the same Hornet roster that finished in the lottery last year to one of the best starts in the League, and has them poised to return to the Playoffs. Monta Ellis was the easiest choice of this group, as he is perhaps the most explosive small guard scorer since Allen Iverson. Plus, he deserved a trip last year and didn’t get it, and came back this season and raised his game again. He’s due.

Monta Ellis will make his past due debut on an All-Star roster this year. He should show out on the big stage.

Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and Pau Gasol  at PF/C: Picking frontcourt players was the hardest part. Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay are both putting up numbers in Memphis, yet are on a last place club still. LaMarcus Aldridge, Lamar Odom, Al Harrington and Paul Milsap are all major contributors on playoff clubs; yet still don’t make the cut, although they could be argued for. Yet all of these contributors on the best teams in the Conference are on the outside looking in, why? Because two players on bad teams are having such amazing seasons that there is no way they can be omitted. Kevin Love has become a rebounding juggernaut this year, grabbing 15 on an average night, and even snatching 30 down in one game, first time since ’96 that happened. All while putting in 20 points per for a terrible Timberwolves team. As for Griffin, he’s a sensation, bottom line. As a rookie, he has already become the league’s top highlight producer, yet not as a flash in the pan, bench player way. He puts up numbers nightly, and basically refuses to not bring in a “done by the 3rd quarter” status double-double every night. As for Gasol, he simply is the best pure post player in the West and plays for one of its best teams. He deserves the annual nod, unless somebody goes way over the top.

So here you have it, what I want to see on both sides of the court for the 2011 All-Star game. Please list any differences, gripes or perceived slights? Land them down in the comments area down bottom.

  1. idokicks says:

    Agree with all players except I would put Pau starting at center of Tim.

    • Paul, Blake and Love are having better seasons, but I went with Tim because I was trying to stick to the actual official All-Star ballot and I feel Duncan should be listed at center any way. But Pau may get the actual real life start in the end, especially in LA.

  2. Hard to argue with these picks at all.

  3. Wish there was an easy way to tweet your posts.

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