Marc Stein of ESPN.com lists his picks for 2013 All-Star reserves and does not include Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, opting instead for Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, Golden State Warriors forward David Lee and San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan as his three frontcourt reserves with Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph and Spurs guard Tony Parker as his wild cards.
His final decision came down to selecting Randolph over Aldridge.
The competition to join Duncan, meanwhile, is as fierce as ever, even with injuries canceling the candidacies of three go-to nominees: Pau Gasol, Kevin Love and Dirk Nowitzki. Even without those three, you've still got Marc Gasol, Lee, Zach Randolph, Serge Ibaka and LaMarcus Aldridge all in the discussion. But we (and the coaches) can only pick two more.
Lee legitimately has the best numbers of any power forward in the West, averaging nearly 20 points, 11 rebounds and four assists for a team in Golden State that has wildly exceeded expectations not only in the standings but also on the defensive end, flourishing on D and on the boards even with lead rim protector Andrew Bogut playing in only four games so far.
And Gasol narrowly edges out Randolph here for opening No. 3, given how much he contributes at both ends as the down-low anchor for the West's best defense. I know, I know: Why bring D into an All-Star debate? The reality: Coaches (and media know-it-alls like myself) like to reward play-the-right-way guys whenever we can. So I'm expecting Gasol to eke past Z-Bo if it comes down to an either/or vote for the two Griz big men.
Randolph versus LaMarcus Aldridge for the other remaining [wild card] vacancy.
Aldridge finished 11th in the fan voting process among Western Conference frontcourt players. The coaches will make their reserve selections on Thursday.
-- Ben Golliver | email@example.com | Twitter