Dec 11, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (2) shoots over Los Angeles Lakers power forward Antawn Jamison (4) in the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Western Conference: Predicting the All-Star game reserves

With only one day remaining until the All-Star reserves are announced on TNT, here are KJG’s predictions for who the reserves should be.

The league rules dictate that each conference has to select two backcourt, three frontcourt and two wildcard players (any position) to fill out the reserve roles. Here come the predictions:

BACKCOURT

Jan 21, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden (13) during the first half against the Charlotte Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden (Houston Rockets) 25.9 ppg, 5.4 apg, 4.5 rpg

While the Oklahoma City Thunder unwillingly parted ways with Harden, the league celebrated. By moving to Houston, Harden was guaranteed a starting role and an opportunity to truly blossom as the main go-to guy of a team. Despite shooting a poor 28% from the field in his last 5 games, Harden is 5th in the league in scoring and is a lock in this year’s All-Star game.

Jan 22, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) looks to drive against the Los Angeles Clippers during the game at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) 23 ppg, 8.2 apg, 5.3 rpg

Westbrook will team up with his former teammate to form the reserve backcourt in the West. The biggest improvement in Westbrook’s game this season is his assists. Last year he averaged 5.5 assists per game, but this year he has done a better job creating for others, while still scoring at the same pace as last year.

FRONTCOURT

Jan 21, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (21) is defended by Philadelphia 76ers center Lavoy Allen (50) during the second quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs) 17.5 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.7 blkpg

At 36 years of age, Tim Duncan still has a thing or two to teach the up-and-coming generation of frontcourt players. Duncan’s numbers are better across the board compared to last year and perhaps the most impressive stat is his free throw shooting. Duncan has been phenomenal at the line this year, converting on 82.6% of his attempts, which is significantly better than his 69.1% career average. Duncan might be considered to be boring, but he is a clear-cut All-Star this year.

January 11, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee (10) looks on during the third quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Trail Blazers 103-97. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

David Lee (Golden State Warriors) 19.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.7 apg

The Golden State Warriors have been a pleasant surprise this season. Even without Andrew Bogut in the lineup, the Warriors are 25-15, good for 5th spot in the West. In Bogut’s absence David Lee has been a dominant double-double machine. His numbers might not be quite as good as they were in 2010, when Lee made his All-Star debut, but they are pretty close, and Lee deserves credit for Warriors surprisingly good season.

Jan 18, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) drives against Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) at the FedEx Forum. Memphis defeated Sacramento 85-69. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies) 13.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.8 blkpg

Marc Gasol gets the nod ahead of his teammate Zach Randolph thanks to his complete all-around game. Gasol is very solid across the board, and aside of the above stats he ranks 2nd in the league in assists among centers. He broke through as an All-Star last year and has made a strong case for himself this year.

WILDCARDS

January 13, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) with the ball during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won 116-105. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors) 20.7 ppg, 6.6 apg, 4.1 rpg

It’s great to see Curry healthy and not bothered by his persistent ankle problems. He is having a great year and is quickly developing into one of the best guards in the West. He has showed an ability to run the Warriors offense as the primary ball-handler, but has also been great playing off the ball. Curry is an excellent shooter and can create his own shot by either taking defenders off the dribble, or using off-ball screens to get himself open.

Jan 21, 2013; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) looks to pass around Washington Wizards center Nene (42) at the Rose Garden. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers) 20.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.3 blkpg

Aldridge made his All-Star debut last year and should be making a return this year. With Damian Lillard by his side, Aldridge has helped the Blazers remain somewhat relevant in a very competitive Western conference, as the team is currently 1 game outside of a playoff spot.

 

Honorable Mentions: Tony Parker, Serge Ibaka, Jamal Crawford, Zach Randolph

Disagree with the predictions? Give us your take in the comment section below.

@VytisLasaitis

Tags: Golden State Warriors Houston Rockets Memphis Grizzlies Oklahoma City Thunder Portland Trail Blazers San Antonio Spurs

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