After my highly successful, much talked about and critically acclaimed Eastern Conference Divisional All Star blog, I now present to you, my loyal subjects, the Western Conference Divisional All Star Squads 2011. Before we get into this, I’m just letting you know that yes, some of these selections are a bit iffy, a bit “out there” but like my old English teacher used tell me, “You’re never ever wrong with an opinion”. Unless your opinion is that LeBron James is a decent human being and takes others into consideration when making life-altering decisions, if that’s how you feel go click that “x” in the top right hand corner. If your opinion is that of the opposite, sit back enjoy and let your opinion be heard in the comments section if you feel the urge to do so.
PG – Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns. Do you know, that just this month he passed Mark Price for all-time leader in free throw percentage with at least 1,200 attempts? In the words of Biggie Smalls, now you know (expletive). 11 assists a night as a 36-year-old point guard playing alongside Jared Dudley and Robin Lopez. Screw the NBA, Steve Nash is where amazing happens.
SG – Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers. Sure its taking him 20 shots a night to average 25 points a game, sure he’s had his fallings out with Phil and been made scapegoat (and rightly so) for the little mini-slump they underwent this month, but he’s still the number one closer in the league and the road to the NBA Championship doesn’t go through Los Angeles, it goes through Kobe Bryant. Also, his play this month (apart from the Knicks game) has been pretty awesome, which by no coincidence coincides with a 7 game win streak. No wonder I hate him so much.
SF – Dorell Wright, Golden State Warriors. You bet your life I just typed his name in here. Some numbers for you – averaging 17 points a game (previous season high was 8), shooting 42% from 3pt range, grabbing 6 rebounds and dishing 3 dimes – both career highs. I know numbers are always inflated in the crazy world the Warriors play in, but he’s impressed me this season, so he gets the nod from me.
PF – Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers. A rookie, playing with the Clippers, who has 25 double-doubles in a row, who’s shooting 52% from the floor, who can and has jumped like Nique all year long while posterising player after player, how can this guy be left out? He may just be having the best rookie campaign ever (well, not ever but he’s been out of this world). Words cannot begin to describe…he’s just that good, simple as.
C – Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers. Yeah sure he’s a power forward, but who else do I put here? It’s because of Blake he isn’t in his normal slot at the four, but he can play here for me. He’s been the most consistent player for the Lakers all season, good things happen when he touches the ball. How he’s putting up these numbers in spite of Kobe taking 30 shots a night says it all. In October, he put down a stretch of games the likes of which no big man for LA has produced since Shaq.
PG – Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors
SG – Eric Gordon, Los Angeles Clippers
SF – Grant Hill, Phoenix Suns
PF – Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers
C – DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
PG – Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
C – David Lee, Golden State Warriors
Head Coach: Vinny Del Negro, Los Angeles Clippers
PG – Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets. People forget how good players are when they don’t see them perform for an extended period of time. This happened with Paul, and now we remember. Possibly the worst team he has had around him to date, and his number (16 points and 10 rebounds) are phenomenal. If he ever ends up in New York alongside Carmelo and Amare then watch we should seriously consider changing the rules of how the league is run, because that wouldn’t be fair.
SG – Manu Ginobli, San Antonio Spurs. Best player on the best team in the West (and quite possibly the entire league), he’s been playing at another level this season. A level I didn’t think he’d have in him at this age, but him being a starter has rejuvenated him to a degree where he’s a genuine contender as MVP right now. If he can avoid those niggly injuries he’s become accustomed to, the Spurs will be for real come May and June.
SF – Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies. Career highs in points, rebounds, field goal percentage, 3pt percentage, free throw percentage, blocks and steals for the former Connecticut standout, showing us all that just because you land that monster deal you can afford to take the foot off the gas. Gay has benefited from the Team USA experience no doubt, and I now regard him as a franchise player whereas in the past I always dismissed the claim. One more step left for Gay – win a playoff series as the leader of this young Memphis side.
PF – Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks. Record with Dirk – 24-5. Record without Dirk – 2-7. Rick Carlisle is a happy man now that the big German is finally back after what must have seemed like an eternity on the sideline (and the commentary booth). With Dirk back, look for Dallas to rediscover their form and make a hard push for home court advantage. Dirk is also very close to having a 50-40-90 shooting season (55-40-88), something he done once before in 06-07, and we all know who won MVP that year.
C – Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs. Duncan is having the worst year of his glittering career with measly averages of 14 points and 9 rebounds. Yep, those are career lows. He’s still had a couple of vintage Timmy games and he still hits that bank shot from the corner better than anyone else, but Duncan has accepted that his legs aren’t what they used to be and has accepted a smaller role in what the Spurs do. Scary, that he’s probably option 4 on this team when they need a bucket at times. Right now, would you bet against him and Pop winning it all again? Thought so.
PG – Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs.
SG – Kevin Martin, Houston Rockets
SF – Richard Jefferson, San Antonio Spurs
PF – Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies
C – Tyson Chandler, Dallas Mavericks
PF – David West, New Orleans Hornets
PF – Luis Scola, Houston Rockets
Head Coach: Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs
PG – Deron Williams, Utah Jazz. Him and Westbrook have almost identical stats on teams with the exact same records, so I went with the guy who I think is doing less with more, if that makes sense. In other words, I think he’s getting more production from a weaker supporting cast, no offense Utah but you guys have nobody like Kevin Durant on you roster. Which makes Williams season thus far even more impressive, and has elevated him to Number One amongst all point guards in the NBA (until next week anyways).
SG – CJ Miles, Utah Jazz. Him being here surprises you just as much as it does me, but the reason its him and not JR Smith is because I knew Smith could put up numbers, I didn’t with Miles. Still only 23 with 5 years experience under his belt, he’s putting up career numbers in all the major statistical categories whilst staying within the flow of the offense. Typical Jazz player really.
SF – Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder. Maybe the pre-season talk of him being the MVP runaway winner slowed down the Thunder a little, but now they’re back in their familiar groove. Durant is the catalyst, whether it’s knocking down a three, sinking free throw after free throw, finishing in the break or beating his guy off the dribble, the Thunder will go as far as he takes them. Kevin Durant is only 22 years old, I’m guessing that it could be pretty far.
PF – LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trailblazers. Meet the new and improved LaMarcus Aldridge, the guy who takes a franchise on his back and carries them. His body of work in January has been nothing short of sensational, and it couldn’t have come at a better time with Roy going down hurt. Aldridge’s reliability and newfound level of play could soon lead to him being the face of this franchise, which Blazer lovers should be just fine with.
C – Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves. His last single digit rebounding game? November 19th. Since then he has had 5 20-20 games, scored 30 points or more 6 times and 46% from the floor. If he’s not an All Star this year, something has gone seriously wrong.
PG – Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
SG – JR Smith, Denver Nuggets
SF- Carmelo Anthony, (for now) Denver Nuggets
PF – Michael Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves
C – Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz
C – Nene, Denver Nuggets
PF – Paul Milsap, Utah Jazz
Head Coach: Jerry Sloan, Utah Jazz