When you sit down to fill out your All-Star ballot this year (or you may not sit down, you can do it from your phone while standing) who are you going to select as the starting guards in the West?
Are you going to take Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant, like last year? Smart money is they win the fan vote again. (We will see how Kobe plays post Achilles surgery, but if you think fans are not voting him in I question your logic — you also probably think Ben Affleck was a great choice as the new Batman).
But now you’ve left the coaches (who fill out the roster) with an impossible job.
Who get the three spots as backups? Last year the coaches selected Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, and it’s hard to argue against any of those guys.
But then you are going to snub a number of deserving guys —the West is loaded with quality guards, some of whom will not make the cut and will have a legitimate complaint (something Jeff Caplan was talking about at NBA.com).
At the top of the list is Stephen Curry, who didn’t earn a trip to Houston for the ASG last year and after that “snub” (again, who are you leaving off?) he picked up his game and averaged 26 points a game (up from 21 before the ASG), 7.4 assists a game and shot 46 percent from three. Then he led the Warriors into the second round of the playoffs. He will make the cut this season.
Other guards in the West deserving consideration:
• Jrue Holiday was an All-Star last season for the Sixers and he’s now in the West for a Pelicans team that could surprise people.
• Ricky Rubio also is a fan favorite, plays with a flair and will lead another team that will surprise some fans if they can stay healthy (Minnesota is a playoff team out West if healthy).
• Damian Lillard will warrant votes. The Rookie of the Year averaged 19 points a game and should take a step forward (plus he won’t have to carry as much of he offensive load with Mo Williams and some added doeth all over the Trail Blazers roster.
• Ty Lawson is one of the fastest and better point guards in the league, averaging 16.7 points and 6.9 assists a game last season.
• Mike Conley has become a solid point guard, one of the better defensive points but a guy who still scored 14.6 points and averaged 6.1 assists a game, orchestrating a Memphis a Grizzlies attack that went all the way to the conference finals.
• Then there is the list of good guards not likely to even sniff making the team: Monta Ellis, Eric Bledsoe, Steve Nash and Klay Thompson. (I’m counting Andre Iguodala as a forward with Golden State.)
Some of those guys are going to have a monster first half of the season and put their names in contention. Then, when they don’t make the cut they will have a legitimate complaint. But there are just not enough spots for all the deserving guys.