FanShot

First-time All-Star candidates

1. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers Projection: 21.1 pts, 8.6 reb, 2.1 ast per 40 min; 20.76 PER Save for Blake Griffin, no power forward in the game is improving as rapidly as Aldridge. And when considering post moves and 18-foot jump shots, Aldridge is well ahead of Griffin. In fact, the only reason he didn't make the All-Star team last season was due to the glut of talented power forwards in the conference. (The league's leading rebounder, Kevin Love, was named last season as a replacement for Yao Ming.) His turnaround jumper and jump hook are among the best in the game and his length causes a great deal of difficulty for contemporaries Griffin and Love. Winning the head-to-head battle against those two would greatly improve his chances. Who he'd replace: Dirk Nowitzki Why he wouldn't make it: For the same reason he was the odd man out last year: There are simply more quality power forwards out West than there are available All-Star roster spots.

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