James Harden has done wonders for the Thunder, but he's not an All-Star just yet

He won't be joining Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the All-Star Game this year. When the reserves were announced Thursday evening, the shooting guard was not among the Western Conference backups. That's as it should have been.
by Jenni Carlson Published: February 9, 2012

Kevin Durant was in already.

Russell Westbrook is in now.

But James Harden?

He won't be joining his Thunder teammates in the All-Star Game this year. When the reserves were announced Thursday evening, the shooting guard was not among the Western Conference backups.

That's as it should have been.

Listen, you won't find a bigger fan of The Beard than yours truly. This guy's game is outstanding. He can shoot from outside. He can get to the hole. He can create for his teammates. He can defend you a little bit, too.

But he's not an All-Star yet.

Not when you see the other players who were left off the Western Conference squad.

Joining the previously named starters — Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Andrew Bynum and KD — are Minnesota's Kevin Love, Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, San Antonio's Tony Parker, Phoenix's Steve Nash, Memphis' Marc Gasol and Russ.

No way Nowitzki is playing at an All-Star level this season. Problems with his right knee forced him to sit out more than a week, but even though he's returned, his game hasn't. He's had three games of 10 or less points, including a 2-of-15 shooting performance against Oklahoma City.

Dirk's a Hall of Famer but not an All-Star this season.

The same goes for Steve Nash.

While his stats are solid — 15.1 points and 10.0 assists — he's playing for a woeful Suns team. Thunder fans saw just how awful on New Year's Eve when Oklahoma City led Phoenix by as many as 25 points. The Suns never led in the game.

But even if Dirk and Nash would've been left off the team, there are players who deserved to get in ahead of Harden.

Rudy Gay is having a stellar season, keeping the Grizzlies afloat even though they're without the injured Zach Randolph.

Kyle Lowry is powering a resurgence in Houston, propelling the Rockets to one of the best records in the West.

And Denver, well, I'm not sure who you'd pick, but someone who wears the Nuggets uniform deserves to be an All-Star. Ty Lawson or Nene most likely. Denver lost three of its best players to lockout-motivated contracts overseas that became impossible to break — and still, the Nuggets entered Thursday night's games tied with Houston and Dallas for the fourth-best record in the West.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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