The Western Conference's NBA All-Star roster is full of legends of the old guard like Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and the ancient one himself, Tim Duncan. But if there were ever a year in which the new school made its legit takeover claim on the West, this might be it. Kids like Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love -- all of them 22 years old or younger -- are on the West All-Stars too, and don't figure to leave anytime soon.
Here's a full look at the West's NBA All-Stars.
Kobe Bryant, Lakers. Kobe has been named to the All-Star Game every year since 1998. Usually, he plays well -- he has three All-Star MVP trophies, one of them shared with Shaquille O'Neal. Will he bask in the opportunity to lob passes to an incredible young flyer like Blake Griffin? Or will he take 20 jumpers and preen for the crowd? Clue: the last time he played, in 2009, he had four assists and 23 field goal attempts.
Chris Paul, Hornets. CP3 will just bask in having teammates who can shoot straight. David West, Paul's one solid offensive teammate, won't be in L.A., so CP3 will have to be content to dish off to scrubs like Kobe, Durant, and Griffin. And then he gets to go back to Willie Green and Jason Smith on Tuesday. Woo!
Tim Duncan, Spurs. Duncan will start at center -- a label he resists -- in place of injured Yao Ming. Given that Gregg Popovich is coaching the West team, Duncan will likely play about 15 minutes. He only plays 29 for the Spurs as it is.
Kevin Durant, Thunder. Durant has rather quietly retaken his position as Saint Kevin, antidote for King James, after a slow start. KD remains the league's best young scorer, a true throwback to stars like George Gervin (without the snow) and Julius Erving (without the 'fro).
Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets. 'Melo will be the unquestioned star of the weekend, thanks to reported meetings with the Nets and Knicks and amaranthine trade rumors. Remember Jason Kidd in 2008? Triple that.
Pau Gasol, Lakers.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks. Gasol and Nowitzki, like Duncan and Kevin Garnett, are boring but required All-Star big men. Unlike someone like Amar'e Stoudemire, who can fly like a guard (or could, at least), these bros will just hit some short jumpers and maybe a goofy sky-hook. Hopefully Pop lets them rest for the stretch run and gives the guards free reign.
Deron Williams, Jazz. D-Will may very well be in Anthony's position next year, so enjoy the purity of Williams' play while we can.
Kevin Love, Timberwolves. Speaking of throwback players, the new Moses Malone figures to join that "boring but deserving All-Star" club with his debut performance. The difference is that Love is never afraid to hot dog. Expect a couple Unseldian outlet passes, and maybe a Kobe-like 25-footer.
Russell Westbrook, Thunder. The world's most explosive point guard will, Pop-willing, have a cover-your-face-in-disbelief moment or two. No one will soon forget his 40-point Rookie Challenge night.
Manu Ginobili, Spurs. If it's possible to flop in an All-Star Game, Manu will find a way. If not, he'll be content nailing jumpers and looking for ways to make his defenders look real silly.
Blake Griffin, Clippers. And finally, the star of the weekend (hopefully). If all breaks according to plan, Griffin will be coming off an MVP in the Rookie Challenge, a unanimous victory in the dunk contest and an Los Angeles Times Sunday edition headline referencing earthquakes. The All-Star Game will just be icing.