by Lang Whitaker

The other night, Wifey asked me if I have a vote in the All-Star voting. At first I said No, because she meant did I get a vote in the same way I get to vote on the NBA’s end of season awards. But then I realized that yes, I do have a vote in the awards — we all get to vote!

So, since my ballot counts just as much as yours, I figured I’d publish how I’d vote, 1 through 12, for the All-Star Game this season. We did the East yesterday and here’s the West today…

STARTING FIVE
C: Yao Ming, HOU — Yo, Yao! I think people have paid less attention to him this year than ever before, but he’s been durable and consistent, he’s putting up double-doubles, plus he made the T-Mobile commercials fresh again.

F: Tim Duncan, SAS — His 20 and 10 are as steady as clockwork. Even though San Antonio has been without Tony P and Manu G for most of the first half, Timmy D just keeps on keeping on.

F: Dirk Nowitzki, DAL — Khalid just read this and rolled his eyes. And I understand Dirk’s detractor’s arguments — he’s soft, he can’t win the big one, etc. But look, the dude averages almost 26 points per game and can do things no seven-footer in NBA history has ever been able to do.

G: Kobe Bryant, LAL — Duh.

G: Chris Paul, NOH — The best PG in the game.

BENCH:
G: Brandon Roy, POR — As good and as polished as Roy is, it’s going to be tough for him to crack the West’s starting line-up for a minute. His game reminds me a lot of Joe Johnson’s, right down to the lack of respect from the casual NBA fans.

G: Jason Terry — Perhaps an unconventional choice, but he’s averaging a career-high 21.2 points per game and has staked his claim as sixth man of the year.

G: Chauncey Billups, DEN — Melo’s still the crunch-time scorer in Denver, but it was Billups coming over that made Denver a contender.

F: Amare Stoudemire, PHX — Does anyone remember just a few years ago when everyone thought Amare was dunzo? Well, he’s back, flushing on dudes and he’s been Phoenix’s most consistent player through their first 30 games. Also, he’s a pretty good blogger, too.

F: Al Jefferson, MIN — Yeah, the L-Wolves are terrible, but Big Al is third in the West in scoring (22.1 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (10.2). Even Kevin McHale can’t mess up his game. (Well…let’s give him time on that.)

F: Pau Gasol, LAL — His 17.6 ppg are down from the points he posted in Memphis, but his rebounding digits are up and he’s helped the Lake Show regain their prime time position. As Kobe said at halftime on Christmas Day, “How did we get to the Finals last year? We got Pau Gasol.”

C: Shaq, PHX — Yes, he’s slowed down and the world may no longer be entirely his. But the All-Star Game is in Phoenix and The Diesel’s still averaging 16 and 8, which ain’t chicken feed.

Who didn’t make it? Much like with Detroit in the East, I didn’t place a member of the Jazz on the All-Star team. Deron Williams is averaging his fewest ppg since his rookie year, and their leading scorer, Boozer, has only played 12 games this season. And Paul Milsap has been great, but not as good as any of the guys I put on the team. If I could make Jerry Sloan the coach of the All-Star team, I’d definitely do that. I also thought about Kevin Durant, but I know, he’s on maybe the worst team in the NBA. But he’s also a helluva player and the reigning rookie of the year. Steve Nash’s offense no longer makes up for his lack of defense. Andris Biedrins gets a look, but G-State’s turrible record holds him back. Melo’s my man but I can’t squeeze him in, either.