The NBA All-Star Game features a matchup of the best players that the NBA has to offer.
Sure, the fans don’t always get the starters right, but once the coaches select the reserves, all is back in its place. This year’s Western Conference All-Star team has some of the most explosive and exciting players in the NBA. Let’s take a look at the profile of the starters and reserves for the 2013 Western Conference All-Stars.
Western Conference All-Star Starting Lineup
Chris Paul is leading the way for a much-improved Los Angeles Clippers team. Prior to Paul missing nine of the last 11 games, the Clippers were battling for the top spot in the Western Conference. Paul is expected to return and the Clippers will once again be one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Paul is averaging 16.6 points, 9.7 assists and an NBA-leading 2.6 steals per game. When he is healthy, Paul is still the most complete point guard in the NBA. This will be the sixth All-Star game appearance for Paul.
Despite a disappointing first half for the Los Angeles Lakers that featured a change at head coach and a number of injuries, Kobe Bryant is once again doing it all in for the Lakers. He is averaging 27.9 points per game and is the third-leading scorer in the NBA. He has managed to raise both his field goal and 3-point percentage this season. Kobe remains an elite player and is the best shooting guard in the NBA. This will mark the 15th time that Bryant has been named an All-Star.
Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is averaging 29.6 points per game is once again leading the NBA in scoring. Durant is the go-to player for one of the best teams in the league and he continues to deliver. Durant has become more aggressive and more assertive on both ends of the court this season. Durant is the only player in the NBA that could take the MVP trophy away from LeBron James. Durant is only 24 years old and he is making his fourth All-Star Game appearance.
Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers is averaging 18.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. The only power forwards that score more points per game than Griffin are David Lee of the Golden State Warriors and LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers, but both shoot the ball at a lower percentage. The 2012-13 Clippers feature a more balanced attack that has slightly lessened Griffin’s shots per game, but he remains the most explosive power forward in the Western Conference. This will be Griffin’s third All-Star Game appearance.
Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers was named an NBA All-Star for the seventh time, but this will be the first time in his career that Howard will represent the Western Conference. Howard was expected to miss much of the first half of the season recovering from off-season back surgery but he has been able to suit up for the majority of games the Lakers have played. Howard is clearly not completely healthy, but he remains one of the top centers in basketball. Howard is averaging 16.5 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Howard is in the top five among centers in scoring, rebounding, blocks and field goal percentage.
Western Conference All-Star Reserves
LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers will be making his second All-Star Game appearance as he continues to prove that he is one of the best power forwards in the NBA. Aldridge is averaging 20.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. The Trail Blazers have improved this year as a team and are currently vying for the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs found the elusive fountain of youth this past offseason. Duncan is averaging 17.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Duncan has improved his scoring, rebounding, free throw percentage and blocks per game from last year. Duncan’s last season with similar numbers to the ones he has posted this year was in 2009-10. Duncan has missed the last four games with a sore knee and the Spurs will likely monitor Duncan’s minutes during the second half of the season as they prepare for another title run. This will be Duncan’s 14th All-Star Game appearance.
The surprising off-season trade of James Harden from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Houston Rockets took Harden from the role of sixth man to the role of a player expected to lead Houston in scoring. Harden immediately made it clear that he was capable of carrying the scoring load for the Rockets. The first time All-Star is averaging 25.9 points per game. Only Kobe Bryant scores more efficiently at the shooting guard position. Led by Harden, the Rockets have become an explosive offensive team. Houston is currently the second-highest scoring team in the NBA at 105 points per game.
The Golden State Warriors’ success has been one of the biggest surprises of the first half on the NBA season. The Warriors appear to be playoff bound and David Lee has a lot to do with the Warriors’ success. Lee is averaging 19.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. Lee will be making his second All-Star Game appearance.
The San Antonio Spurs are the best passing team in the NBA led by veteran point guard Tony Parker. Parker is quietly having a fantastic season. Parker is averaging 20.1 points and 7.5 assists per game. Only three point guards in the NBA score more per game than Parker (Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry) but they are all shooting the ball at a lower percentage and average more turnovers per game than Parker. Parker is making his fifth All-Star Game appearance.
During his time with the Memphis Grizzlies, Zach Randolph has settled in as one of the better power forwards in the NBA. Randolph is averaging 15.5 points and 11.7 rebounds per game. Randolph can score from the post and has great range for a power forward. Without Rudy Gay, the Grizzlies may lean more heavily on Randolph for scoring in the second half of the season. Randolph will be making his second All-Star Game appearance.
Most years a point guard averaging 22.5 points, 8.3 assist and 5.4 rebounds per game would be starting in the All-Star Game. Westbrook is half of the dynamic duo for the Oklahoma City Thunder and he remains an incredibly athletic and talented guard . While Westbrook sometimes plays more like a shooting guard than a point guard, he currently is on pace to have his best season distributing the ball. This will be Westbrook’s third All-Star Game appearance.
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Tags: NBA All-Star Game 2013