NBA All Star Game

NBA All-Star Game 2014 Rosters: Breaking Down Every Selection

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Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 24, 2014

Stop the presses—LeBron James made the All-Star Game.

Alright, so some All-Star selections were obvious, such as King James himself, Kevin Durant and even Paul George of the NBA-best Indiana Pacers, but there were plenty of intriguing decisions on the line when the teams were officially announced.

The fans vote in the starters every year, and as always, there are some questionable picks. Of course, this game is solely for entertainment purposes (it would be crazy to have it determine home-court advantage in the NBA Finals, right?), so who’s to argue with the fans voting in the players they want to see most?

The game will take place on Sunday, Feb. 16 at New Orleans Arena, and the two head coaches will be Frank Vogel of the Pacers for the Eastern Conference and whichever coach has the best record in the Western Conference through games played on Feb. 2. 

So let’s jump right into a discussion about every All-Star starter selection.

 

East Starters 

Kyrie Irving, Guard, Cleveland Cavaliers

Dwyane Wade, Guard, Miami Heat

LeBron James, Forward, Miami Heat

Paul George, Forward, Indiana Pacers

Carmelo Anthony, Forward, New York Knicks

 

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 22:  Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers looks to pass guarded by Marcus Morris #15 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of the NBA game at US Airways Center on January 22, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Pac
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

First things first—if this were an actual team in the NBA, it would have serious issues stopping a true center down low. Of course, it would also probably finish with 80 wins, but come playoff time, an opponent with a bruiser of a big man might give it fits. 

The inclusion of Wade in the starting lineup jumps out immediately. Grantland’s Zach Lowe breaks down why he doesn’t think Wade should be a starter:

Wade is the best guard in the Eastern Conference, but he has missed 25 percent of the Heat’s season—for very smart reasons. But that’s enough to knock him out of my starting lineup.

Yes, Wade is averaging 18.9 points a game to go along with 4.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists and an impressive 21.9 PER, but he has simply missed too much time to be deserving of a starting spot.

No argument can be made against Wade’s teammate being named a starter. James, the defending MVP of the league, is posting an absurd 28.9 PER and once again stuffing the stat sheet with 26.2 points, 6.7 rebounds and 6.5 assists in tandem with a ridiculous 58-percent shooting clip from the field. 

Glass-half-full Cleveland Cavaliers fans who believe that James will come back to where it all began next year will get a chance to see Irving start alongside James. Irving has largely fought off the injuries that typically plague him this season and earned a spot on the All-Star squad. The shoot-first point guard has struggled with turnovers at times, but his 20.0 PER is solid.

The two remaining forwards have enjoyed polar-opposite seasons in terms of winning and losing. George’s Pacers have the NBA’s best record thanks in part to his all-around talent (23.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals). He scores from anywhere on the floor, plays formidable man-to-man defense against anyone and has to be seriously considered in MVP discussions at this point.

There is no doubt George belongs in the starting lineup.

As for Anthony, his New York Knicks are in a tailspin despite his impressive statistical output. He is scoring 26.1 points and grabbing 9.0 rebounds a game (he rarely gets credit for his rebounding), but it is hard to look past the respective records when debating over Anthony and Roy Hibbert for the final starting spot.

 

West Starters

Stephen Curry, Guard, Golden State Warriors

Kobe Bryant, Guard, Los Angeles Lakers

Kevin Durant, Forward, Oklahoma City Thunder

Blake Griffin, Forward, Los Angeles Clippers 

Kevin Love, Forward, Minnesota Timberwolves

 

Dwight Howard will not be starting for the Western Conference.

For a while, it looked like Howard and Griffin would be the two big men in the starting lineup. Howard receives a lot of criticism, but he has posted 18.3 points, 12.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks a game with a 21.9 PER. Griffin has shown some improvement in his offensive arsenal and is averaging a double-double (22.6 points and 10.0 rebounds) along with a 22.5 PER.

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 15:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers watches from the bench during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on January 15, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees th
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

However, the argument can be made that LaMarcus Aldridge is deserving of one of those frontcourt spots.

The Portland Trail Blazers have been the surprise team of the first half primarily because of Aldridge’s 24.2 points and 11.6 rebounds a night. Love has been even better and was rewarded with a starting nod thanks to 25.0 points, 13.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and a LeBron-like 27.2 PER.

The only argument against Love is the fact that Minnesota has struggled in the win column.

No argument can be made about Durant’s inclusion in the starting five. He has been must-watch television since Russell Westbrook was lost to injury and is averaging 31.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists behind an incredible 30.7 PER. If he continues this torrid pace, he will win the MVP award over James.

As for Bryant, injuries have defined his season. Sure, Bryant is one of the best shooting guards to ever play the game, but he doesn’t belong anywhere near the All-Star Game in 2014.

Even Bryant himself doesn't think he deserves the spot, as ESPN's Dave McMenamin alerted us to:

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 20: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shoots a layup against the Indiana Pacers on January 20, 2014 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Chris Paul may be the best point guard on the planet, but he has missed significant enough time that a reserve spot may have been more appropriate. That opened up a spot in the backcourt for Curry, who is much more than just a shooter. He is averaging better than nine assists and almost two steals a game to complement a very respectable 22.3 PER. 

He also adds plenty of entertainment value to the exhibition, which is really what it is all about.

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