West All-Stars: Tough choices at guard, forward

Originally Published: January 25, 2007
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
Welcome to the annual conundrum.

When it comes to choosing NBA All-Star teams, we've had the same pattern for about a decade now -- coaches in the West scratching their heads over whom to leave out, while those in the East have more trouble trying to find 12 men worthy of inclusion.

The disparity between the conferences becomes obvious at times like these, even if it's less so in the game itself. And it's especially glaring at the forward spot, where annually there are eight to 10 Western Conference players playing at an All-Star level but a maximum of six spots to reward them.

That said, I'm here to help. Today, I'm picking a 12-man roster for each conference to send to Vegas.

Before we get started let me explain my criteria. A player's accomplishments this season are the biggest factor, obviously, but not the only one. I'll take a player with a consistent track record of excellence over one who appears to be playing over his head, other things being equal. And I'm inclined to cut injured players some slack, provided their injuries are not part of a larger pattern.

Finally, bear in mind the NBA's rules: We have to choose a minimum of four guards, four forwards and two centers, with the last two spots available for any position.

So let's tackle the more difficult West.

The envelopes please:

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