A changing of the guards out West?

John Rohde: Western Conference All-Star squad will have plenty of talented guards.
John Rohde Modified: January 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm •  Published: January 8, 2011
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Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is worthy of being an All-Star, but he's got company.

In order for Western Conference coaches to vote Westbrook on as a reserve for the NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center on Feb. 20, they could end up not voting for three of the following: Manu Ginobili, Steve Nash, Tony Parker or Jason Kidd.

After the starters are announced Jan. 27, head coaches will vote on seven reserves from their respective conference. Coaches must choose one center, two forwards, two guards and two players at any other position. Coaches cannot vote for their own player, but are allowed to slide a player to a different position if that player sometimes plays there.

Here's the tricky part: With projected starter Yao Ming out due to injury, NBA commissioner David Stern must select a replacement player to complete the 12-man roster. Once the roster is complete, the All-Star coach (best record in each conference as of Feb. 6) gets to name the replacement starter.

Breaking down the West roster, fans will end up selecting Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul at the guards, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony at the forwards and, unfortunately, Yao at center.

As for the coaches' seven reserves, Deron Williams and Ginobili appear to be locks at guard, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love lead the way at forward, while Tim Duncan and Pau Gasol are forwards who both can slide to center.

That leaves one remaining reserve spot for the coaches' choice, plus Stern's replacement pick.

Two measly openings for these qualified candidates: Westbrook, Nash, Parker, Kidd, LaMarcus Aldridge, Luis Scola, Zach Randolph, Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Tyson Chandler and former Oklahoma great and Clippers rookie Blake Griffin.

Narrowing the list at guard, this figures to come down to Nash, Westbrook and Parker.

Nash: Unseating the incumbent is difficult, especially when his statistics rival those he assembled during his MVP seasons of 2005-06.

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