Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Surprised? Remember, these are the coaches voting. No organization and players garner more respect than the San Antonio Spurs, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker do. They are the gold standard.
The argument is pretty clear for Parker. The West will likely need another guard given the injuries to Bryant and Paul, so at least one of the wild-card choices will come down to Parker and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
While Lillard will certainly win some votes for Portland's play this year and all his game-winners, the per-game stats are close enough for coaches to justify siding with the veteran. Lillard has been the more effective scorer, but Parker has been the better distributor. It's very, very close, and that's before putting Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic into the fray. When in doubt, though, go with the more established star. That's Parker.
That leaves Duncan to duke it out with the likes of Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and all the guards. That's pretty tough, but something tells me the coaches will treat this a bit like a lifetime achievement award and give the last spot to Duncan over the younger players who have multiple seasons left in their careers.
Statistically, Duncan isn't too far off from what he's been in the last five seasons, but that pales in comparison to the raw numbers Cousins is throwing up every night.
Still, it's not like Duncan is robbing someone of their rightful spot—he's one of the best two-way players in the league, even at 37 years old. It doesn't hurt that he plays for a winning team as well, which is something Cousins and Davis can't say.
The biggest threat to Duncan's spot may still be Davis, though, since the All-Star Game will be in New Orleans. I don't know how much the coaches (or whoever is actually doing the voting for them) care about the hometown fans having one of their players in the big game, but it could be a factor.