Every season, 12 players make the All-Star team in each conference. Without injury, certain players are likely locks for the Western Conference including Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis.
However, the remaining spots are up for debate depending on how each team plays together next year. Here are all of the potential snubs in the Western Conference.
An asterisk indicates a player on a new team since the last All-Star period.
Chris Paul (Rockets)*
While Harden played as more of a point guard for Houston last year, he basically always required the ball to succeed. Paul had a similar time of possession running point for the Clippers. It’s unclear how they will split time under coach Mike D’Antoni. CP3 missed the All-Star Game for the first time since 2007 last season. Another snub coming?
Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves)*
Butler, who was traded to Minnesota during the 2017 NBA draft, was a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Star team last season. This year, it’s uncertain if he will even make the squad for the Western Conference. He won the league’s Most Improved Player in 2015, he has made three straight years. Next season, he should continue the streak but has a much harder road for his new team.
Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves)
While Towns is likely the NBA’s young player with the most potential, it may take him another season to make his first All-Star team. His play has shown superstar caliber flashes and he averaged 25.1 ppg with 12.3 rpg last season. But if Butler is a Western Conference selection, it could be hard to get two players for Minnesota on the team.
Paul George (Thunder)*
He has made an All-Star team every healthy season he has played since 2013. The former Pacers superstar may see a decrease in his usage rate playing alongside Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. Though he is one of the most talented players in the NBA, sharing the ball with Westbrook has never been an easy task.
Draymond Green (Warriors)
Green was the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year and led the Warriors in assists last season. However, it seems significantly unlikely Golden State can return four players to the All-Star team next season. Curry and Durant are considered almost definites, but Green and Thompson could get snubbed.
Klay Thompson (Warriors)
Even though he is one of the most talented players in the league, he has the same problem Green faces next season. Will the Warriors actually be able to send that many players to the All-Star team for a conference that just added three Eastern Conference All-Stars? Green has a better chance than Thompson next year.
Marc Gasol (Grizzlies)
Last season, Gasol made the All-Star team in the Western Conference behind a career-high 19.5 ppg and a career-high 4.6 apg. But he faces a challenge as Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan have likely taken on a bigger role with the Clippers moving on from the organization. Similarly, Rudy Gobert will have a bigger chance to succeed in Utah with Gordon Hayward no longer on the Jazz.
Blake Griffin (Clippers)
More likely than not, Griffin will become the “face of the franchise” (if he was not already) in Los Angeles for the Clippers with Chris Paul now on the Rockets. However, his injury at the end of last season may force him to miss time at the beginning of the year. Any disadvantage can hurt in the hunt to make the Western Conference All-Star team.
DeAndre Jordan (Clippers)
For the first time in his career, Jordan made an All-Star team last year. It’s unclear, however, if he will be able to make back-to-back selections as the Clippers will take a big hit without Paul in Los Angeles. Plus, he could have more serious competition on the frontcourt from his teammate if Griffin is able to play a healthy season.
Damian Lillard (Trailblazers)
It was already hard for Lillard, who has had nothing but success for Portland, make the All-Star in the Western Conference. He could make a case to start for the Eastern Conference but unfortunately, the star point guard has a league of ridiculously dominant players who can beat him out for a spot.
DeMarcus Cousins (Pelicans)*
Even though Cousins is one of the NBA’s best true centers, he is still not the best big man on his own team. With votes divided between frontcourt and backcourt, he’ll probably lose out to teammate Davis as the New Orleans representation for the Western Conference.
Paul Millsap (Nuggets)*
Even though he has made four consecutive All-Star appearances in the Eastern Conference, the 32-year-old forward has perhaps the lowest odds from any of the aforementioned players to represent the West. While he is a consistently impressive player, he will slide into Denver splitting rebounds with big man teammate Nikola Jokic.
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