Unlike the Eastern Conference, the west is loaded with 20-something players who all have solid arguments to represent their conference in February. Here’s who would make the team if the game was held tonight. Same selection rules as the normal game: four guards, six front-court players, two wildcards. Here are the locks who, unfairly or not, will make the game regardless of equal comparisons to their counterparts.
- LeBron James
- Stephen Curry
- Kevin Durant
- Anthony Davis
- James Harden
- Russell Westbrook
That’s half the roster. Let’s pin down the other candidates. As of Friday afternoon, there were 12 teams at or above .500. Here they are along with their best players minus the Los Angeles Lakers, who clearly only have one all-star at this point of the season.
- Golden State Warriors: Klay Thompson, Draymond Green
- Portland Trailblazers: Damian Lillard
- Denver: Nikola Jokic
- Los Angeles Clippers: Tobias Harris, Lou Williams
- Oklahoma City: Paul George
- Memphis Grizzlies: Marc Gasol, Mike Conley
- Sacramento Kings(!): Buddy Hield, De’Aaron Fox
- San Antonio Spurs: DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge
- Utah Jazz: Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert
- New Orleans Pelicans: Jrue Holiday
- Houston Rockets: Chris Paul
That’s 17 players for six slots. I’m giving Jokic and Lillard two slots right off the bat because their teams have overachieved and are currently second and third in the west standings. Let’s remove the “easiest” players to exclude. Klay and Draymond have not been helping the team win games in Curry’s absence, and Thompson was ice cold to start the season. Hield, LMA, Mitchell, Williams, CP3 and Holiday are all on winning teams, but these teams only merit one All-star. Gasol and Conley have not shot the ball well. Here’s who I trim it down to for the final four slots: DeRozan, Harris, PG, Fox, Gobert. Because the game would be held today, here’s who I wouldn’t take right now: DeRozan.
This is the lineup:
- Guards: Curry, Harden, Lillard, Westbrook
- Front-court: James, Durant, Davis, George, Harris, Jokic
- Wildcards: Fox, Gobert
What the final four boils down to is positional requirements. I needed two more front-court players after LBJ, KD, AD, and Jokic. George and Harris are my guys over Gasol and Aldridge. The Clippers deserve recognition. To the surprise of everyone, so do the Kings. Fox gets a wildcard as does Gobert.
So that is my all-star team from the western conference through mid-November, which was decidedly much more difficult to pick than the east was. Who do you think belongs in this ASG?