NBA All Star Game 2013: First-Time Selections Who Will Shine at Event

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 16:  Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates after winning the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest part of 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend at the Toyota Center on February 16, 2013 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The NBA All-Star Game is a showcase of the most talented players in the league. While there are the usual stars on display, the younger generation will get a chance to shine on Sunday.

Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett will be participating in their 15th career All-Star games. The rest of the starters that were selected by fan vote are veterans in this contest as well.

On the other hand, there are seven first-time selections to this season's contest. Some of these players have been in the league for a number of years but will finally have a chance to show off their talents on the main stage.

Specifically, this group of players should have a big game.


Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

As one of the youngest men ever to play in the All-Star game, Kyrie Irving has a golden opportunity in front of him.

In his first year-and-a-half in the NBA, Irving has shown that he is one of the best point guards in the league. He won the Rookie of the Year award last season and is averaging 23.5 points per game this year.

Of course, not a lot of people spend their time watching Cleveland Cavaliers games. This means that he has to utilize these types of events to showcase his talent.

The guard has already been impressive this weekend. He finished with a team-high 32 points in a losing effort in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday and he won the three-point contest on Saturday.

On Sunday, he should be able to continue his impressive play against the league's best stars.


James Harden, Houston Rockets

During his three-year career with the Oklahoma City Thunder, James Harden was a talented sixth man, but he was never the focal point of an offense with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.

Since his trade to the Houston Rockets, however, he has raised his game to an incredible level. He is currently fifth in the NBA with 26.1 points per game and he has his team in position to reach the playoffs.

The last time Harden was on a major stage, he struggled in the NBA Finals. He will look to make up for this by showing what he can do in this event.

This type of defense-free atmosphere will be perfect for Harden to put up a lot of points for the Western Conference.


Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks

It is almost hard to believe that Tyson Chandler had never been selected to the All-Star game in his previous 11 years in the NBA.

Then again, the defensive specialist has never put up enough points for voters to notice.

People have certainly noticed this season, as Chandler is sixth in the league with an average of 11.1 rebounds per game for the red-hot New York Knicks. 

While this game is not the ideal atmosphere for Chandler to shine, he has been waiting long enough for this type of opportunity.

Expect the veteran to raise his level of play and try harder than most of the other people on the court.