In the 2012 All Star Game in Orlando, Florida, reigning scoring champion Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunderwill be the only player from the Western starters who is not from an LA team. The other starters include Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers, and Chris Paul and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers. The 23-year-old Durant is selected to his third straight all star appearance and second straight as a starter since being drafted in 2007. Owners of Oklahoma City Thunder tickets is a big part why Durant got 1,345,566 votes which placed him second in the entire West behind Bryant and fifth overall.
Durant is clearly a deserving one of all the votes he garnered from his fans. Through 21 games, the former Rookie of the Year is averaging 26.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. His scoring averages place him third in the entire league behind Bryant and LeBron James. Durant’s rebounding and assist numbers are both career-highs. He is also having his best shooting percentage in his entire career at 51 percent. What is also more amazing about Durant’s performance this season is that he has led his Thunder to the best record not just in the West but in the entire league. Oklahoma City is 17-4 overall with 8-1 at home and 9-3 on the road.
With the record of the Thunder which tops the league, there is definitely another room for one more all star from Oklahoma City as a reserve. Russell Westbrook is clearly having another solid season despite his poor start and his low assist average, and is a lock to join Durant in the squad. An all star last season, Westbrook has taken all the criticisms when something goes wrong in Oklahoma Citybut he trumped all of those with his play. Through 21 games, the 23-year-old Westbrook is averaging 21.9 points, 5.7 assists, and 4.8 rebounds in 46 percent shooting (career-best). Aside from his stats, Westbrook does it all for his team. According to experts, Westbrook’s “brazen cockiness puts the rumble into the Thunder’s game.”
Westbrook placed fifth among Western guards garnering 262,186 votes. Kendrick Perkins, on the other hand, placed sixth among Western centers after getting 99,811 votes.
In selecting for the reserves of both squads, the 30 NBA coaches would vote for seven players from their respective conferences to fill in the all star squads. It includes two guards, two forwards, one center, and two players regardless of their position. The reserves would be announced on February 9, 17 days before the actual all star game.
If Oklahoma City continues their hot streak and has the best record in the West through February 15, Durant and Westbrook would be joined on the sidelines by their coach, Scott Brooks, in the Western squad. It would be the first time for Brooks, a former Coach of the Year, to coach an all star squad since he first became a coach in 2008.
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