Picking the reserves for the Western Conference All-Star team wasn't as challenging as my Eastern selections. The discrepancy between the Conference's top and bottom teams is too large to make a valid argument for a good player on a bad team.
With that said, Al Jefferson, Kevin Durant, and John Salmons won't be on my All-Star team. I understand they are not the reason their teams are losing, but their great individual statistics aren't leading their teams to many wins, either. The criteria I used with the selections of my Eastern All-Stars won't change. It's the best way to be fair and consistent.
Once again the picks will be, in no particular order, based on comparison by position, individual statistics, team record, performance, and contributions to the team's success. I will also stick with the format of picking two guards, two forwards, one center, and two wild cards.
My Western Conference reserves:
Point Guard: Chauncey Billups, Nuggets
Shooting Guard: Brandon Roy, Blazers
Small Forward: Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets
Power Forward: Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
Center: Shaquille O?Neal, Suns
Wild Card: Pau Gasol, Lakers
Wild Card: Deron Williams, Jazz
There are a few notable players that aren't on my All-Star team; allow me to explain my reasoning for leaving them off.
Steve Nash hasn't played at an All-Star level this season. His matador defense is on full display, and he no longer has the luxury of hiding behind the high-octane offense that made him a two-time MVP.
Leaving Tony Parker off my All-Star team was a tough choice. Not only has he played at an All-Star level, there is also an argument to be made for Parker as the league's MVP this season. With that said, I had to give the nod to Deron Williams. As great as Parker has played, he's had the luxury of playing with Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, two great players. Williams, in my opinion, has kept the Jazz in the playoff picture without the services of Carlos Boozer.
David West has played well, but he hasn't played well enough to earn an All-Star berth over any of the other forwards on my team. The Hornets were expected to challenge the Lakers for the Western Conference crown this season. So far, in my opinion, they have been disappointing. Maybe missing the All-Star game, which I'm sure will be seen as a snub, will motivate West and his teammates to raise their levels of play in the second-half of the season.
I believe the picks I've made will be in alignment with the coaches' selections. It wouldn't, however, be a big surprise if Parker and West make the real All-Star team while Williams and Carmelo Anthony are forced to watch from home.
It will be interesting to see how the coaches voted. Surprises, while unfortunate for the players who are snubbed, are one of the things that make NBA All-Star weekend the best in all of professional sports. I'm confident in the picks I've made; we'll see if the coaches agree on Thursday night.