Making the list: Rappler's NBA Western All-Star reserves
MANILA, Philippines - In our previous post, we detailed our picks for the seven All-Star Game reserves in the Eastern Conference. This time around, we will look at the players whom we’d like to see as 2014 All-Star Game reserves for the West.
What makes this a little bit more challenging is that there are so many deep rosters and gripping storylines in the West. Compared to the East, the West is a much stronger conference, with maybe 10-11 teams capable of getting winning records by the end of the season. Not surprisingly, there are also SO MANY players worthy of All-Star Game consideration. Obviously, not everyone will be picked.
Before you continue reading, take note of the following assumptions:
Assumption #1: Chris Paul will not play. He will rest for as long as he can so he can be as healthy as he can for the Clippers’ inevitable late-season run.
Assumption #2: Again, one or more of YOUR own picks is/are bound to be left out. That’s just how deep the West is.
Now, here are our picks for the seven who should-be All-Star reserves in the Western Conference:
Dwight Howard (HOU) - 18.0ppg, 12.5rpg, 1.8bpg, 57.7 FG%
Sure, Howard might strike most of us as still too whiny, but the fact is he is having a great season with Houston. Though I think the Rockets are still not a legit title contender, they’re getting there, and Howard is one big reason why. It’ll be fun to see him go up against tough guys from the East like Andre Drummond or Roy Hibbert, too. I also wouldn’t mind it if he brought out that cape again.
James Harden (HOU) - 23.7ppg, 4.9rpg, 5.5apg, 1.3spg, 2.0 triples per game
A lot of people actually expect Harden to replace KB24 as a starter, but I think Kobe’s too much of a fan-pleaser to let that happen. Harden will be an All-Star, no doubt, and he’ll be one of the more exciting ones to watch. I’d like to see him do those killer between-the-legs crossover-step-back-pull-ups over the East’s athletic wings. I also think that, come the fourth quarter when the horsing around is over, Harden will be one of the West’s go-to offensive threats.
Anthony Davis (NOH) - 20.1ppg, 10.5rpg, 1.6spg, 3.1bpg, 51.4 FG%
The super sophomore has blossomed into a star, and he should be heavily considered for the West’s bench. He has been awesome on both ends this season, and has even shown a couple of nice old school big man moves at times. Would love to see him run the floor, use his uber-long arms to receive an overshot alley-oop pass, and then throw it down like it was nothing. And it’s about time we have a unibrowed All-Star, right? Right?
LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) - 24.3ppg, 11.5rpg, 2.8apg, 1.0bpg
How Portland’s best player got overlooked in lieu of Blake Griffin is beyond me, but that’s the way it happened. Still, LMA is a sure-fire All-Star (just like The Beard), and he should rain those turnaround rainbow Js like no tomorrow. I suspect he won’t be running and jumping all over the place, but it’ll still be fun to see him go up against guys like Hibbert and Joakim Noah in a free-flowing atmosphere. His jumper is the reason I won’t be missing Dirk this time around.
Damian Lillard (POR) - 20.7ppg, 3.6rpg, 5.6apg, 3.0 triples per game, 88.7 FT%
I was on the fence when it came to the Lillard-Paul-Dragic conundrum, but I ultimately felt that health-wise and athleticism-wise, Lillard was the surest bet of the three. He can drive like Wade, lob it like Paul, and hit the trey like Steph (okay, maybe not). He has the skill-set of an All-Star, and, despite being only in his second year, I believe he will actually be an All-Star.
DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) - 22.6ppg, 11.6rpg, 3.0apg, 1.8spg, 1.2bpg
The numbers don’t lie. The man with the worst temper in the league is also the best center in the league, and we cannot leave the best center out of the All-Star game, can we? No. He’s hella good and hella athletic (everytime he leads the break, I remember Shaq… haha fun times), so what else should we look for? I also think he’s fearless enough to attempt to dunk straight up against LeBron, and that’s definitely something I’d pay to see. Just spare us the Ts, Boogie.
Tony Parker (SAS) - 18.1ppg, 2.4rpg, 6.3apg, 51.4 FG%, 43.9 3pt%
The best player on the third-best team in the league needs to represent, and he will. "TP9" doesn’t have the most eye-popping numbers, but that’s mainly because the Spurs are the NBA’s version of the Rain or Shine Elasto-Painters. Nobody is a runaway star, and that’s the way Pop likes it. It’ll be fun trying to see if he can run rings around BOTH Uncle Drew and John Wall, and then flip that floater over Hibbert. Oh, and it’s high time the Chinese brand (Peak Sport) Parker endorsers entered the big time, eh?
Agree or disagree? Who else should be named an All-Star reserve? Hit us up in the comments section below! - Rappler.com