The All-Star balloting is already open (seems a bit early doesn’t it?) and 120 players from the 30 teams were nominated. Of course very few will be selected for the headlining game of All-Star Weekend in February. According to the new rule instituted in the last couple years, there are no positions, except frontcourt and backcourt.
The three Suns players nominated were Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Markieff Morris.
The Suns players have to overcome the fact that the Western Conference is loaded with talent and the way the Suns play (ie. balanced) is detrimental to an All-Star selection. Right now the only way a Phoenix player makes it, will be as a reserve, picked by the head coach of the team with the best record in that conference at the time of the All-Star game.
The Western Conference backcourt last year consisted of: starters Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant and reserves James Harden, Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook.
It’s going to be very difficult for Dragic or Bledsoe to unseat any of them. Despite Kobe’s injury, he always gets the most votes and will in all likelihood have been playing for a few months, so he has his slot locked up.
Chris Paul is averaging a double-double and over 12 assists per game on a good team. He’s not going anywhere. James Harden has broken out in Houston, but if his injury lasts too long, he may not get in. Tony Parker will probably get in especially if his coach Gregg Popovich is the person selecting the West reserves. Russell Westbrook is amazing also, don’t think he’s going anywhere.
The only way either Dragic or Bledsoe make it into the All-Star game is if the Suns are one of the top teams in the West by February (doubtful, but possible) or if one or more of these players get injured. Another potential situation would be if the coach wanted more guards and sacrificed a frontcourt slot for a backcourt slot, then Dragic or Bledsoe could get in.
In last year’s Western Conference the frontcourt spots were populated by: starters Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard and reserves, David Lee, Zach Randolph, LaMarcus Aldridge and Tim Duncan.
Durant, Griffin and Howard are automatically in just because of how good they are and their popularity. Aldridge will also probably get in because his team is doing so well and he’s a big part of the reason why. However, Lee, Randolph and Duncan probably won’t make it. They’re all doing OK, but not well enough to warrant an All-Star berth.
Unfortunately for Morris, other Western Conference frontcourt players are emerging, Kevin Love is playing well like usual, but he’s healthy this year. Anthony Davis, Serge Ibaka or DeMarcus Cousins could also grab spots with their great play.
Especially, since Bledsoe and Dragic are better than Morris, but are locked out due to depth of elite Western Conference guards, Morris might have the best chance to make the All-Star game out of Phoenix, but he’s going to have to play better and more consistently if he wants to make it.