It’s time for 2011 NBA All-Star Game projections, and there are certainly a few players standing out as the elite of the league so far. The 2011 Western Conference All-Star team will end up leaving quite a few talented players out of the loop, despite have really having stolen the spotlight early on. We are now one month into the year, the NBA All-Star ballots are out, and it’s time to start discussing which players deserve a spot in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game.
First let’s start with the obvious choices for who might end up gaining fan support for a starting spot in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game. The Western Conference All-Stars are probably the easiest to discuss right now, as there are again clear favorites that stand out from the group. The forward position comes down to five guys that will run away with the votes, and they include Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, Pau Gasol, and Dirk Nowitzki. The two starters will come from that group, and we think that it will be Anthony and Durant that receive the nods.
The Western Conference All-Star guards will begin with Kobe Bryant in one of the slots, and the second slot will come down to a vote between Steve Nash and Chris Paul. With Paul really on his game again this season, he seems like the one that will make the point guard slot, even though there are some great there are some really great point guards in the West again this year. It might make the center position even more embarrassing, as it will probably be Yao Ming that gets the votes to start again.
Western Conference Starting Five
G — Kobe Bryant
G — Chris Paul
C — Yao Ming
F — Kevin Durant
F — Carmelo Anthony
After we conclude which five players will start for the Western Conference, things get really difficult when deciding which players are going to come off the bench for the team. With seven more slots for a group of great players that include probably 20 that could be All-Stars, there are going to be quite a few snubs this year. The question becomes which players will garner enough support to grab one of those bench spots.
The first choice should be the most obvious, and it is a big man that needs to be on this squad to spell Ming. That man needs to be Pau Gasol, who can play center against some of the best people in the NBA right now. Sticking with some of the low-post players, Dirk Nowitzki has to be on this team, but we are not putting Tim Duncan on the team this year. He is still good, but he isn’t as great as he once was, and it’s time to pass that torch.
Deron Williams has to be the back-up point guard with his 20 points and 10 assists per game, but beyond him the decisions get even tougher. We have just four slots left on this team, and with the depth of point guards, at least one more has to make this team. The choice needs to be Russell Westbrook, who has been averaging around 23 points and nine assists per game this year, and brings a definite excitement to everything he does. He is an All-Star, and deserves to receive that recognition.
Two wild cards that we feel need to be on the 2011 Western Conference All-Star team are Blake Griffin and Kevin Love. Griffin has been leading the Clippers, and is now one of the most exciting players in the NBA. He has been a wonder on the floor, averaging around 20 points and 12 rebounds per game, quickly making him one of the best power forwards in the game. Then there is Kevin Love, who leads the entire league in rebounding at about 15 per game, surpassing the 20 rebound mark in four games already this season.
That takes us to the final spot on the 2011 Western Conference All-Star team, and it is going to be a slot that is heavily debated. Monta Ellis and Eric Gordon are in the top six for scoring average per game, Kevin Martin has been huge in Houston, and Manu Ginobili is really leading the Spurs well.
Then we have players like Duncan, Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, and Brandon Roy who could be All-Stars in any other year. The choice we are going with? Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. He will spread the floor for the team, give them a great back-up shooting guard when he is on the court with another point guard, and he is quickly becoming a huge star out West.
Western Conference All-Star Game Bench Players
F — Dirk Nowitzki
F — Pau Gasol
F — Blake Griffin
F — Kevin Love
G — Russell Westbrook
G — Deron Williams
G — Stephen Curry
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