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This is a no brainer.
Kobe will start the All-Star Game until he’s fifty years old, and Andrew Bynum partnered him there last year. Now, Bynum’s replacement should take the New Jersey native’s place. It’s quite obvious that Chris Paul and Kevin Durant will be joining them. The power forward spot is up for grabs, between either Blake Griffin, Kevin Love or Dirk Nowitzki (Personally, I think it should be Love).
But the starters are always quite obvious. Let’s look at the reserves:
Russell Westbrook has one of the backup guard slots sewn up. Whichever two of Nowitzki, Love and Griffin don’t start will take the two forward spots. I believe Marc Gasol will get the backup center spot.
Then, it gets tricky. There are always two utility spots on the All-Star team for which coaches can select any position.
To begin with, I think Tony Parker takes the other backup guard spot. A team that went 48-7 over a 55 game stretch has to have at least one All-Star. That leaves the two utility spots, for which I think there are four contenders: Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Ricky Rubio and LaMarcus Aldridge.
So here’s how I think it pans out: Rubio and Gasol get chosen. Nash, I believe, will be rested quite a bit in the regular season. Not to say he won’t be effective, but I can’t see him averaging more than 30 minutes per game, and say 10 points and 8-9 assists. As of late, older players like Tim Duncan have been dropping out of All-Star contention, so I think Rubio edges Nash, considering he’ll probably be leading one of the most entertaining squads in recent memory in the Timberwolves.
As for Gasol vs. Aldridge, it simply comes down to winning bias. Kevin Durant was lighting it up in the 2009 season, averaging over 26 points per game, but his Thunder were terrible and he received no consideration from the coaches. I don’t think the Blazers will be quite that bad, but I think the prospect of choosing the guy who plays for, say, a 42-9 squad over the guy who plays for a 26-23 squad will swing the voters.
Plus, how cool would it be to see Parker, Rubio, Nowitzki, Gasol and Gasol on the court at the same time? If the East run with Williams, Wade, James, Anthony and Chandler, it’ll be the closest thing to a USA vs. Rest of the World matchup we’ll ever get to see.