Community Shootaround: Western All-Stars

Voting for the NBA’s All-Star starters has now closed, and the league will reveal on TNT on Thursday night the 10 players who have been named starters for this year’s game, with an announcement on the All-Star reserves to follow next Tuesday.

Before that happens, we want to get your take on which 24 players deserve to make this year’s All-Star Game, starting today in the Western Conference.

This year’s Western Conference All-Stars, who will be represented by Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN, have six clear frontrunners for the five starting spots.

Lakers star LeBron James, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, and Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard are the odds-on favorites to claim the three frontcourt openings, while Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic will vie for the two backcourt spots.

While it remains to be seen which five players will earn starting spots, it’s safe to say that all six will safely make the team. That leaves six other spots up for grabs.

The general consensus among Marc Stein of The New York Times, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, and Josh Robbins of The Athletic – all of whom made their picks this week – is that four of those spots will be claimed by Anthony Davis, Paul George, and the Jazz duo of Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, which would make sense, given those players’ importance to the top three clubs in the conference.

After that, there’s little consensus. Stein and Robbins have Jazz guard Mike Conley nabbing one of the last two spots, while Stein and O’Connor each penciled in Suns guard Chris Paul. O’Connor also has Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander making his team, while Robbins opted for Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan.

Suns guard Devin Booker, Pelicans forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, Rockets big man Christian Wood, and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant all merited consideration and/or honorable mention from Stein, O’Connor, and Robbins. Beyond that, it’s hard to find legitimate candidates whose cases haven’t been hurt by injuries or COVID-19, as is the case for Blazers guard CJ McCollum, among others.

Following the format of four guards, six frontcourt players, and two wild cards, my picks would be Curry, Doncic, LeBron, Jokic, and Kawhi in the starting lineup, with Lillard, Mitchell, Davis, George, Gobert, Paul, and DeRozan on the bench. If Davis remains sidelined through the All-Star break due to his calf injury, picking a frontcourt player to replace him would be tricky, but for now I’d lean toward Williamson.

What do you think? Which 12 Western Conference players would be on your All-Star squad for the 2020/21 season?

Head to the comment section below to weigh in!

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