- Kevin Pelton
Given the way the Western Conference has dominated the East this season, the only battle more competitive than making the playoffs in the West will be for the coveted 12 spots on the conference's All-Star team. Fifteen of the NBA's top 20 players in my wins above replacement (WARP) rating call the Western Conference home, making cutting down to 12 players difficult enough before accounting for the spot guaranteed to Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who is the runaway leader in fan voting for the West backcourt despite the time he's missed to injury. (His latest, a fracture of the tibial plateau, is expected to cost him six weeks and could force him to miss the All-Star Game.)
As it turns out, Bryant isn't the only likely starter who doesn't make my team, chosen based on a combination of performance to date and expected production the rest of the season. Let's take a look.
Kevin Pelton discusses who he thinks are the leading candidates for the Western Conference All-Star team.