With just over two weeks to go until NBA All-Star Weekend, the Eastern Conference and Western Conference rosters are finally set. The reserves were announced on Wednesday to go along with the starting lineup, which was announced last week.
Starters: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmello Anthony, Yao Ming
Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Manu Ginobili, Deron Williams, Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan, Pau Gasol
Starters: Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Amare Stoudemire, Dwight Howard
Reserves: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, Al Horford, Joe Johnson
Whereas seemingly every star player from the East made the squad, the West was a completely different story. At least five players were left off the Western Conference roster that would have easily made the Eastern team.
Considering there are only six teams in the East with records above .500, it is not surprising that there were fewer stars. The West, on the other hand, has 10 teams with a better record than the current No. 7 seed in the east, the Philadelphia 76ers.
None of this is really news because the Western Conference has been stronger than the East for over a decade now. From 2000-2005, the West had 31 teams that won at least 50 games, as well as five teams that won 60 or more. Meanwhile, the East had just 13 teams with 50 wins and just one with at least 60. In fact, during the 2002-2003 season, the Nets won an Eastern Conference-high 50 games, while the West had three teams win 59 games or more.
Although the West is still much deeper than the East, the East has steadily improved over the last four years and now at least has the Celtics, Magic, Heat, Hawks and Bulls playing at consistently high levels.
Here we will rank the top five players from the West that were left out of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game.