Somebody get Kevin Durant a pair of sunglasses and a tuxedo to wear on the red carpet. That way he’ll feel right at home as an honorary member of Team Hollywood for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game.
It’s two Lakers, two Clippers and the two-time scoring champion from Oklahoma City who’ll make up the starting lineup for the Western Conference on Feb. 26 in Orlando.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City – Crashing the All-L.A. party, he is to the West what LeBron James is to the East: the standard-bearer and a no-brainer pick (26.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.1 apg). Kobe Bryant may still be the reigning royalty in the lineup, but this fresh prince is getting ready for an MVP trophy and maybe a crown.
Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers – The Mayor of Lob City (21.6 ppg, 11.2 rpg) is back to do more than just dunk over a Kia. The argument can be made that this is Kevin Love’s spot. But go ahead, ask Kendrick Perkins who he voted for, just as soon as everybody stops calling him Timofey Mozgov.
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers– The West’s leading vote-getter continues to amaze at 33. He leads the league in scoring (30 ppg). He tries to answer every challenge. He single-handedly keeps the Lakers relevant. All this with a torn wrist tendon that would sideline most players. LeBron and K.D. have passed him by? You tell him.
Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers – Griffin made the Clippers fun to watch, but it’s the passing and all-around skills of CP3 (19.2 ppg, 9.1 apg, 2.5 spg) that makes them contenders in the West. He’s the perfect set-up man and a clutch scorer who has no rival in today’s game when it comes to his handle.
Andrew Bynum, L.A. Lakers – In his seventh season, the 24-year-old is staying healthy and reaching his potential, averaging 16.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game with 11 double-doubles. Some might say the glamour of playing in Hollywood got Bynum many of his votes and starting berth. But the truth is that he’s earned it.