Tonight at 7 p.m. E.T. on TNT, the NBA (channeling itself through it's highly qualified mouth of Charles Barkley) will officially announce the reserves to the NBA All-Star Game. The coaches from each conference voted for the seven reserves with the requirement that they pick at least one center, two forwards, two guards and they can't vote for their own players. With Yao Ming being unavailable and yet still voted in by the his rather large family of countrymen, David Stern will select a replacement for him after the reserves are picked.
That's the rules, here's the choices.
First off, the list of Western Conference All-Star Starters as voted on by you, me, and 300 billion people from China. (I have nothing against China or their participating in the vote but clearly they are lacking in basic democratic skills if they voted in a guy who's barely played at all this season. Democracy depends on an informed electorate, even in the NBA).
Here's our informal list of candidates to secure those seven reserve spots for the West.
Russell Westbrook, Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobilli, Deron Williams, and Zabian Dowdell. Actually, Dowdell has already been selected to the (D-league) All-Star Team so scratch him.
Forwards / Centers
Pau Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Tim Duncan, Blake Griffin, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Dirk Nowitzki, David West, Lamar Odom, Rudy Gay and I am going to include Grant Hill. I made the case for Grant several weeks ago and nothing's changed.
Seven guards. 13 forwards and centers. Seven slots. Some deserving players aren't going to get in.
The question for Steve Nash, who is having one of the best seasons of his career, is if he garners enough respect from coaches to beat out some of the other guys who are equally deserving and playing for better teams.
There's no way Ginobili doesn't get in so really it comes down to his beating out Parker, Westbrook and Williams.
While the Suns have the worst record of any of the teams his "competition" play for, I think coaches understand just how well Nash has played and will give him the nod over some of the younger guys. We'll find out tonight but I would think Nash gets picks along with Wililams and Ginobili. Parker and Westbrook will just have to wait for Nash to retire.
As for the bigs, Pau Gasol and Dirk are locks so that comes down to picking two guys out of Aldridge, Love, Griffin and Duncan. Personally, I would go with Aldridge and Griffin and hope that Stern picked Duncan as Yao Ming's replacement. Kevin Love has played great but he's still a very young player on a very bad team. His time will come. Aldridge has been fantastic and simply can't be left off.
Who are your picks?