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Rob’s Western Conference All-Stars

Bad Men, Bad Takes Season 1

The first fans ballot returns for the 2022 NBA All-Stars were recently released and while there hasn’t been any players, coaches and media votes taken into account, fans across the world are getting a very clear picture of where the votes are being sent.

Below, I outline my Eastern Conference All-Star starters, as well as who I would place on the bench to fill out rosters, for next month’s showpiece event in Cleveland (you can see my Eastern Conference All-Stars here).

As always, you can let me know if you agree or disagree with my selections on twitter, @BMBTPodcast or via email!


G – Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors

G – Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns

F – LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

F – Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

F – Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

The Western Conference’s starting representatives for this year’s All-Star game are pretty straight forward in my mind, namely because the majority of them have appeared on my MVP Guest List at some stage so far this season.

Starting in the back-court, the first lock is the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry. He jumped out of the blocks to start the year and helped propel them to the best record in the West, while dazzling fans and opponents alike with phenomenal shooting and an ability to involve peripheral pieces with great effect. He’s broken Ray’s record this season and is still the hardest player for any team to game-plan for across the league (more on Kevin Durant in a moment) and is a certainty to start in Cleveland.

Curry continues to lead the Warriors superbly. Credit: NBC Sports

Sharing the back-court with Curry is point-god, Chris Paul. I’ve written numerous times in my MVP Guest List articles about his reliability this season amongst injury and Health and Safety protocol concerns, but combined with his age, the fact Paul hasn’t missed a single game is remarkable. He’s also where the Suns start and stop – using his nous and game-craft to control tempo, find his spots, put his teammates in good positions and, at times, single handedly take over games like he did years ago. The statistics are there as always for Paul, and while he may play less minutes than other starters in the game, he will be there when the ball is tipped.

Similar to the guard positions, the forward slots are also populated with players who have excelled all season. I’ve given Jazz big man Rudy Gobert the nod at the ‘traditional’ centre position, given his importance to the teams rim defence and ability to block shots, and also having a limited scoring game which relies exclusively on pick-n-roll sets and offensive rebounding. He’ll be a deserving defensive anchor, even if the game is renowned for being an offensive show-case.

Alongside Gobert, I’ve placed the player who I think is the MVP at this stage of the season, Denver’s Nikola Jokic. His ability to do everything on the court from shoot, rebound, play-make, defend and do all of those things at such an insanely high-level makes this a no-brainer. His ability to hit threes continues to create match-up nightmares for oppositions and in the All-Star game, his unique skill-set should continue to dazzle fans and players alike. He’s been something of a lone hand for the Nuggets all season given their injury list and he is arguably the most deserving starter from the West.

Jokic’s unique skill-set continues to dazzle fans and help a depleted Nuggets squad win games. Credit: DraftKings Nation

To round out the forward from the Western Conference, I’ve gone with the Laker LeBron James. While James got off to a slow start to the season and the Lakers have faltered at times, since returning from an early season injury, he’s been on a tear and helped the team stay within striking distance in the standings despite Anthony Davis missing a large chunk of time through an injury of his own. Despite slowing down and it becoming more and more apparent LeBron is in fact human, he is still the best player on the floor in any game where he chooses to play at 100%.


G – Ja Morant – Memphis Grizzlies

G – Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz

G – Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns

F – DeAndre Ayton – Phoenix Suns

F – Draymond Green – Golden State Warriors

F – Paul George – Los Angeles Clippers

UT – Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

To start with the reserve spots, I’m immediately adding Grizzlies guard Ja Morant. He’s been phenomenal and while his hot start tailed off in mid/late November, he’s returned from injury in the last month and helped the team catapult themselves into home-court calculations. The out-right holder of the fourth seed, the Grizzlies continue to slay more fancied opponents, and while Morant’s highlights get most of the attention, they distract fans from realising he’s a player who is genuinely full of more than just style. I’ve constantly flipped between Morant and Paul as my second starter alongside Curry, but given the Suns superior record, I’ve given it to Paul – however I wouldn’t argue if anyone had Ja in a starting spot.

Morant continues to play at a freakish level and lead the Grizzlies to wins. Credit: Grizzly Bear Blues

My other two reserve guards are Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Phoenix’s Devin Booker. Mitchell, by virtue of playing for the Jazz, is regularly overlooked by many but is again leading the Jazz on the offensive end. Mitchell leads the team in scoring with 26ppg, and shares the ball when appropriate, averaging 5apg. He may well be a shooting guard by position and virtue of Conley being their point, but Donovan initiates so much of what Utah do on a nightly basis and when the game is on the line, you know who the team are deferring to.

To a similar extent, much of the praise for Mitchell could also be put on Booker. While Chris Paul initiates the offense for the heavy majority of minutes he is on the floor, Booker is their primary scoring option and a guy who is capable of handling the ball down the stretch when needed. He has missed seven games this campaign (all from a hamstring issue in early December), but that is the only blemish on his card so far this season. When on the floor, he’s essentially a 20, 5 and 5 guy who shoots over 40% from three and an extremely valuable part of what Phoenix are doing as they continue to jostle for the best record in the Western Conference.

Moving on to the reserve forward spots, the first member I’ve given the nod to is Draymond Green. As per his MO, Green’s numbers are not gawdy, nor are they ever going to jump off the page and make you take notice, but his impact on the floor is far greater that statistics. He’s the defensive leader in Golden State in addition to being an emotional leader and a barometer for the franchise. Some people will want this position to go to teammates Andrew Wiggins, but despite Wiggins superior stats, I believe Draymond’s impact gives the Warriors a greater chance of winning games than Wiggins’ does.

The final two reserve forward spots will see DeAndre Ayton and Paul George join the squad. To Phoenix first, where Ayton represents the third member of the Suns to be an All-Star. While Ayton’s stock may have lessened slightly recently due to the emergence of other bigs on Phoenix’s roster, he remains their best big, a viable scoring option at nearly 17ppg and a guy who rebounds and defends at an elite level. While not having the impact on opposition offences Gobert is in Utah, Ayton makes players think twice about driving to the rim and helps anchor Phoenix defence, which ranks second in the entire league.

Clippers forward Paul George will be my most controversial All-Star inclusion. Credit: Jose Luis Villegas

As for Paul George, I feel he may be the most controversial inclusion into my team. Full disclosure, I am an LA Clippers fan and while some would think that would make him a shoe in, it’s actually the opposite. I actively try and find alternatives to George for this spot, however I don’t believe there is another player who has played at an All-Star level like George has. The biggest knock on George’s All-Star candidacy this season is simple lack of availability due to injury, however with Covid-19 wreaking havoc on the league, games played is probably as un-important in the selection of players as it has ever been. George has been everything for LA when on the court this season and the way the team has slumped since he injured his elbow is proof of just how high a level he has been playing at when available. He makes the squad for me.

And finally, we land with the last reserve spot. Contenders for this included the aforementioned Andrew Wiggins, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and Karl-Anthony Towns, but Luka Doncic gets the green light. I’ll admit that I had been sleeping on the Mavericks and Doncic in particular following a slow start to the season, but since then, he and the team have elevated their games and they are now comfortably in the Playoff-picture in the fifth seed. Doncic has missed 13 games, but like I said for George, that factor is close to a non-issue as players the league over miss time due to Covid-19. His impact on the Mavs is undeniably more than that of Wiggins on Golden State, Lillard on the Blazers or KAT on the Timberwolves, so he gets the nod based on that alone, and rounds out my Western Conference All-Star selections.

So, what do you think? Did I get it right? Did I mess it up? Let me know on twitter (@BMBTPodcast) or send us an email at!

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