Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki was speaking to a throng of reporters Saturday before a practice for the NBA All-Star game. To his left, in his own media scrum, was Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge.
To Nowitzki's right, Minnesota's Kevin Love held court. To Love's right was the Clippers' Blake Griffin.
Nowitzki, selected to his 11th All-Star Game, could see the trend clearly – a new wave of power forwards is emerging in the Western Conference, where the position has been dominated for years by perennial All-Stars led by San Antonio's Tim Duncan. Duncan had made 13 All-Star appearances, including 12 in a row before the streak was broken this year.
"Timmy Duncan's not here for the first time in 20 years, probably," Nowitzki said. "So it's a new generation, and it's fun to watch."
For years, the West All-Star roster had spots practically reserved for three power forwards – Duncan, Nowitzki and Kevin Garnett, who made 10 All-Star Games while playing for Minnesota. After Garnett was traded out of the conference to Boston in 2007, other power forwards filled the void, including Amare Stoudemire (five All-Star appearance with the Suns), the Lakers' Pau Gasol (four) and Utah's Carlos Boozer (two).
In several recent seasons, the power forward crop in the West was so strong, coaches fudged the ballot while voting for reserves, listing power forwards as centers to get more of them in.
Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge form a new wave of All-Star power forwards in West
Oregonian | Feb 26