Last week, I covered who I thought was the most deserving of an All-Star bid in the Eastern Conference. Now, I will go over who I believe to be All-Star quality players in the West. Like last time, there will be four guards, six frontcourt players and two wildcards. Here are my picks.
Western Conference Starters:
G: Russell Westbrook
G: James Harden
FC: Kevin Durant
FC: Kawhi Leonard
FC: Anthony Davis
G: Steph Curry
G: Mike Conley
FC: DeMarcus Cousins
FC: Rudy Gobert
FC: Nikola Jokic
WC: Chris Paul (replaced by Marc Gasol) WC: Draymond Green
Westbrook and Harden are starters because they are both carrying their teams and putting up ridiculous numbers while doing so. Westbrook is still averaging a triple-double, while James Harden has somehow put up two 50 point triple-doubles, the first player to do so twice in one season in NBA history, including an unfathomable 53-16-17 stat line. It is pretty insane three of the five starters of the All-Star team played together and did not win a title. Sorry, OKC fans.
Kevin Durant has played the best defense of his career while being usual hyper-efficient self on offense. Kawhi is the best player on a 36-11 Spurs squad, and is coming off a spectacular performance against the Cavs in an overtime win. Anthony Davis is shooting 50 percent while taking over 20 shots a game, which is incredibly impressive on a bad Pelicans team. Teams know Davis is coming, and have not come close to stopping him.
Steph has really picked it up after a relatively slow start to the season, but isn not playing nearly as well as Harden and Westbrook. Chris Paul was once again doing an excellent job running the Clippers machine before getting injured, so I awarded his spot to Marc Gasol. Mike Conley has had a career year, topped off by dropping a career high 38 points against Phoenix in a win. Cousins almost beat Davis for the starting spot, with his stellar 3-point shooting, but Davis has been better in terms of overall FG percent with an arguably weaker supporting cast. Rudy Gobert has been a key piece to the amazing Jazz defense, stifling opponents at the rim once again.
I decided to throw Jokic on the team because in the past couple months, the Serbian big man is throwing up 23-12-5 and buoying the Nuggets into the 8-seed. His defense has held up while Denver has run its entire offense through him. He has shown range from three, next level passing and a soft touch around the rim. He battles inside for boards, and is a glimmer of hope for a mediocre Nuggets franchise. If not for being a bench player for some unknown reason to start the season, he would have been a shoo-in for the All-Star team.
I awarded the last spot to Draymond Green. Green hits open threes, always seems to make the right pass, guards five positions and is the heart and soul of Golden State. He is the perfect role player, and that in itself makes him a star. If he is your best player, you will make the playoffs. If he is your second best player, you will make the Finals. Luckily for the Warriors, he is their third best player, which most likely means the Dubs are on their way to avenging last year’s defeat at the hands of the Cavs.
Collegian Blogger John Scriffiny can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @JScriff. Read more of his content here. Leave a comment!