Dec. 14 --
Vegas baby! Balloting for NBA All-Star 2007 is under way and to keep you abreast of who you might want to send to Vegas in February, NBA.com will break down all six positions -- West guards, forwards and centers, and East guards, forwards and centers -- over the coming weeks.
Today's Ballot Breakdown covers the Western Conference forwards, ranked statistically (by the sum total of their scoring, rebounding and assist averages). This is easily the most impressive group on the ballot, so think carefully as you vote daily to select the starters for the 2007 All-Star Game on Feb. 18. (Note: All statistics are through games played on Dec. 13.)
Carmelo Anthony, Denver
Averages: 31.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.1 APG
Breakdown: Is this the year? Melo ranks second in the league in scoring, averaging a career-high 31.0 points per game. He's also shooting a career-high .498 from the field and is putting up career highs in assists (4.1) and steals (1.60), leading the Nuggets to an impressive 12-8 start. He barely missed out last season, but Melo's trip to Vegas is all but booked.
Carlos Boozer, Utah
Averages: 22.6 PPG, 12.3 RPG, 3.2 APG
Breakdown: This time a year ago, Boozer was in the middle of a prolonged absence with an injured hamstring. Now, he's receiving MVP consideration as he ranks second in the NBA in rebounds and double-doubles (16) and seventh in field goal percentage (.569), while the Jazz have the best record in the NBA.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
Averages: 24.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 3.2 APG
Breakdown: As the Mavs try to finish what they started, Dirk has picked up where he left off. Dallas is near the top of the Western Conference standings and Nowitzki leads the team in scoring, rebounding and free throw percentage. He's got 14 double-doubles and of course, he's the most unique player in this league.
Kevin Garnett, Minnesota
Averages: 21.5 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 3.8 APG
Breakdown: You know the West forwards are deep when KG ranks fourth on this list. The Big Ticket leads the league with his 18 double-doubles in 20 games and he leads the T-Wolves, back in the playoff hunt at 10-10, in points, rebounds, steals and blocks.
Zach Randolph, Portland
Averages: 25.3 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 1.4 APG
Breakdown: You know the West forwards are deep when Z-Bo ranks fifth on this list. Averaging a double-double and scoring a career-high 25.3 points per game, Randolph is having the finest season of his career. Also note that he's second in the NBA in free throw attempts, and shooting them at an impressive .838 clip.
Tim Duncan, San Antonio
Averages: 21.4 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 3.6 APG
Breakdown: You know the West forwards are deep when Timmy ranks sixth on this list. The Big Fundamental has clearly recovered from the foot problems of last season, leading the Southwest Division leading Spurs in points, rebounds, blocks and trips to the line. His 14 double-doubles rank sixth in the league.
Shawn Marion, Phoenix
Averages: 20.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.0 APG
Breakdown: You know the West forwards are deep when Matrix ranks seventh on this list. If we threw in blocks (1.7), steals (2.1) and threes (1.3), Marion would move up a couple of spots. And he's shooting .521 from the field too.
Rashard Lewis, Seattle
Averages: 22.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.2 APG
Breakdown: You know the West forwards are deep when ... OK. You get the picture. Lewis is having the best scoring and shooting (.497) season of his career, while he has only topped his 6.8 boards per game twice in his previous eight seasons.
Lamar Odom, L.A. Lakers
Averages: 17.5 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 4.9 APG
Breakdown: Before spraining the MCL in his right knee on Tuesday (he could miss a month), Odom was having the finest season of his career, leading, along with Kobe Bryant, the Lakers to a strong 15-7 start.
Elton Brand, L.A. Clippers
Averages: 18.6 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 2.2 APG
Breakdown: Boy, the West forwards are deep!
The Next Five
Ron Artest, Sacramento
16.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 3.1 APG
Josh Howard, Dallas
Averages: 17.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.0 APG
Mike Miller, Memphis
Averages: 13.9 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.0 APG
Peja Stojakovic, NO/Oklahoma City
Averages: 17.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 0.8 APG
Corey Maggette, L.A. Clippers
Averages: 14.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.4 APG
The Top Write-In Candidate
Hakim Warrick, Memphis
Averages: 15.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.2 APG
Breakdown: Warrick has stepped up in Pau Gasol's absence, pretty much tripling the numbers of his rookie year.
Other Forwards on the Ballot
, Sacramento; Shane Battier
, Houston; Bruce Bowen
, San Antonio; Boris Diaw
, Phoenix; Pau Gasol
, Memphis; Andrei Kirilenko
, Utah; Kenyon Martin
, Denver; Troy Murphy
, Golden State; David West
, NO/Oklahoma City