2012 NBA All-Star Roster: East vs. West, Who Has the Better Starting 5?

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference is guarded byb Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat and the Eastern Conference in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center on February 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The starters for the 2012 NBA All-Star game were announced yesterday, and there were no surprises on either roster, but one thing is for sure: Both starting rosters are loaded and when these 10 guys are on the floor together, fans are promised excitement.

There's a strong Miami and Los Angeles presence on the rosters, led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in the East and Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in the West. The reigning MVP Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard round out the Eastern Conference starters, while Kevin Durant is the other Western Conference starter.

Which team has the better starting five, though?

The East is probably the more athletic team on paper, but we're giving the slight nod to the Western Conference overall. The reason being is the frontcourt of the West.

The East boasts James, Anthony and Howard, which is a more then formidable frontcourt, but the edge goes to the Durant, Griffin and Bynum unit.

Since we are just looking at the starters here, we aren't taking into account the massive talent at the forward position that the West will have on the bench. That fact will give them a distinct advantage over the East.

Simply looking at the starters, the West still has the slight advantage. Durant's pure scoring ability combined with the pure power of Griffin and Bynum make the West a tough matchup for the East.

Naturally, the All-Star Game is wide open and traditionally doesn't feature as much half-court offense as a regular season game does. But when it gets into the half-court set, the West has the advantage because of Griffin.

With Anthony and James on the floor, the East doesn't have a true power forward to matchup with Griffin on the block. Both could do a decent job defending Griffin, but he should have the advantage against either guy.

Durant will get his against whoever is guarding him, and Bynum will have success banging against Howard, but Griffin is the guy that could swing the advantage in favor of the West. Of course, he's going to have to defend either James or Anthony as well, which is a bad matchup for him, but getting the ball down on the block would be in favor of the West.

There's real no right answer here, with 10 of the best players in the NBA on the floor at once. But given the choice, we're going with the Western Conference starting five by the slightest of margins.