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Western Conference All-Star Reserves
We’re about to find out who the 2015 NBA All-Star Reserves will be. These are my picks to complete the Western Conference team (I’ve included eight players due to Kobe’s injury and I believe James Harden will be moved into the starting line-up):
1. Damian Lillard
All-Star Appearances: 1
MPG: 36.3; PPG: 21.8*; RPG: 4.6*; APG: 6.2; SPG: 1.3*; BPG: 0.2; FG%: 43.4*;
3P%: 36.7; FT%: 86.3
He just continues to get better every single season. He’s a great part of a Blazers team that is fighting for the top spots in the amazingly competitive Western Conference, a point guard with one of the smoothest releases I’ve ever seen and a great finisher at the rim. He’s given us some highlights this season due to his great athleticism and a he’s a capable defender as well that really deserves to take part in his 2nd All-Star game.
2. LaMarcus Aldridge
All-Star Appearances: 3
MPG: 36.0; PPG: 23.6*; RPG: 10.2; APG: 1.9; SPG: 0.8; BPG: 1.2*; FG%: 46.3;
3P%: 51.1*; FT%: 87.6*
He’s the best power forward we’ve got in the game right now. A tremendous scorer, with such an incredible mid and long range game. He’s also a solid post-up player and a good finisher at the rim. Due to his amazing scoring ability, people tend to forget how good of a rebounder he is but he’s averaged over 10 rebounds in the last 2 seasons. A player who deserves to be in the MVP conversations if his team clinches one of the top spots in the Western Conference.
3. Russell Westbrook
All-Star Appearances: 3
MPG: 32.2; PPG: 25.2*; RPG: 5.9*; APG: 7.5; SPG: 2.3*; BPG: 0.1; FG%: 42.5;
3P%: 25.7; FT%: 80.9
What else can I say about Russell Westbrook? An incredible athlete with the ability to put up ridiculous numbers night in and night out. He’s also a very tough defender and one of the strongest guards in the history of the NBA. With questionable decision making at times, but certainly deserves a spot in the Western Conference team. I know the Thunder have struggled early this season (mainly because of his and Durant’s absence), but his numbers are just unbelievable.
4. Kevin Durant
All-Star Appearances: 5
MPG: 33.1; PPG: 25.6; RPG: 6.7; APG: 4.1; SPG: 0.9; BPG: 1.0; FG%: 51.9*;
3P%: 39.3; FT%: 85.8
We’re just talking about last season’s MVP here. A professional scorer and of the best offensive players to ever play this ball game. Not only is he an unbelievable shooter but his ball handling skills for a player his height are just amazing. He can score from downtown, from mid range, posting up players, over defenders, off the dribble… Like in Westbrook’s case, not the best team record this year but great numbers that should guarantee a spot for him in the All- Star.
5. Chris Paul
All-Star Appearances: 6
MPG: 34.4; PPG: 17.5; RPG: 4.7; APG: 9.7; SPG: 1.9; BPG: 0.2*; FG%: 47.1;
3P%: 39.4; FT%: 89.1*
He’s probably been the best true point for the last 4-5 years in this league. An incredible solid player who makes an impact on both sides of the court. His passing skills and ability to run a team are just off the charge, and he’s always been one of the best defensive point guards, leading the league in steals several times. He’s averaging almost a double-double again this season in a Clippers team that is starting to heat up and getting to where they should be at.
6. James Harden
All-Star Appearances: 2
MPG: 36.3; PPG: 27.3*; RPG: 5.6*; APG: 6.8*; SPG: 2.0*; BPG: 0.8*; FG%: 45.6;
3P%: 38.4; FT%: 88.5*
James Harden’s the league’s leading scorer this year in a team that is really playing well and fighting for the top spots in the West, so I believe there’s no question about whether Harden should be an All-Star or not. With career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks per game, as well as free throw percentage, he’s just having a ridiculous year that I believe puts him in the conversation for the MVP of the Regular Season (until the Cavs and the Thunder get to a point where their record is good enough for Lebron and Durant to win this award, Curry and Harden are the main candidates right now to me)
7. Klay Thompson
All-Star Appearances: 0
MPG: 32.6; PPG: 23.0*; RPG: 3.6; APG: 3.0*; SPG: 1.3*; BPG: 0.9*; FG%: 48.1*;
3P%: 45.6*; FT%: 85.9
Very little is yet to be said about this outstanding basketball player. We just witnessed a how he set an All-time NBA record for most points in a quarter in an unbelievable performance (37 points, 13/13 from the field and 9/9 from three point territory) in a game he went for 52 total points. The second component of the splash brothers, he’s just a great two-way player who’s having a terrific season along with his team and really deserves to make his 1st All-Star appearance.
8. Mike Conley Jr.
All-Star Appearances: 0
MPG: 32.1; PPG: 17.4*; RPG: 3.4*; APG: 5.6; SPG: 1.2; BPG: 0.1; FG%: 45.6*;
3P%: 41.9*; FT%: 85.5
This has been the hardest choice of all. I’ve really been thinking about who deserves it more, if Conley or Monta Ellis, and finally chosen the Memphis Grizzlie due to his team record. He’s been one of the most underrated players for several years and is now starting to get the credit he deserves. A great point guard on both ends of the court, who doesn’t make many mistakes and has showed how well he can shoot the basketball. He’s also a player who always makes good decisions and seems to be a great teammate as well. He really deserves to be an All-Star for the first time in his career (definitely a hard task in the Western Conference from the point guard spot).
Other players who I believe could but won’t make the All-Star team for different reasons (injuries, bad team record, or simply being close but outperformed by those making it): Monta Ellis; DeMarcus Cousins; Dwight Howard; Dirk Nowitzki; Tyreke Evans.