The reserves for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game will be announced tonight on TNT at 7 p.m. EST.
Starting for the Western Conference this year will be Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant in the backcourt and Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard in the frontcourt.
The first four are all deserving but you can easily make the case for someone like Tim Duncan to start over Howard.
There will be seven spots left to fill out the roster on the bench. Remember, the fans don’t vote for these spots, they are selected by the coaches.
Here are my predictions:
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder – 22.7 PPG, 8.1 APG, 5.3 RPG, 23.0 PER
Westbrook and the Thunder have the best record in the league so far this season and he is having another big season. His shooting percentages have dropped but his assists have gone back up and his defense has improved as well. Westbrook is seventh in the league in scoring, fifth in assists and fifth in steals.
James Harden, Houston Rockets – 25.8 PPG, 5.4 APG, 4.5 RPG, 22.0 PER
That’s right, the Thunder could have had three All-Stars this year if they didn’t trade Harden. Harden is having a fantastic season in his first year as “the man” for a new team. He’s fifth in the league in scoring and has the Rockets in position to make a real run at the playoffs this season.
Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs – 17.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 2.7 BPG, 24.9 PER
Duncan probably should be starting in this game which is pretty incredible considering he is 36 years old. He’s sixth in the NBA in PER and Brook Lopez is the only big man ahead of him in that department. He’s only playing 30.2 minutes per game but his numbers and the Spurs’ record are enough to make up for that.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors – 20.9 PPG, 6.6 APG, 4.1 RPG, 19.8 PER
Curry has managed to stay healthy this year and that means he is worthy of being named an All-Star. He and the Warriors have looked as good as they have in a long, long time and his all-around play as the floor general is the biggest reason why. He got off to a slow start shooting the ball this season but since then has returned to one of the deadliest sharp-shooters in the NBA.
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings – 18.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG, 2.9 APG, 21.1 PER
This may not be the most popular choice because of his attitude problems but you can’t deny Cousins’ talent and production this season. On a Kings roster that is such a mess, Cousins is putting up ridiculous numbers with relative ease. In only 32.2 minutes per game, he’s averaging 18-10-3 and has a better PER than Zach Randolph, Al Jefferson, David Lee, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol.
David Lee, Golden State Warriors – 19.6 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 3.7 APG, 19.6 PER
Lee has helped lead the Warriors into playoff position in the incredibly difficult Western Conference. He’s having his best season since joining the Warriors and it shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies – 16.1 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 1.4 APG, 19.1 PER
The Grizzlies need someone to be selected as an All-Star and Randolph is that guy. He’s one of the best double-double machines in the NBA right now. He’s second in the league in rebounding behind only Dwight Howard.
Snubs: Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies; Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs; LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers