2014’s National Basketball Association All-Star Weekend will take place in New Orleans from Feb. 14-16. While the NBA coaches’ votes for benches for the Eastern and Western Conferences have not been determined yet, the fans have chosen this year’s starters. Though the lineups include plenty of predictable returners, there are also several newcomers and a few arguably undeserving picks.
Starting in the backcourt for the East is Cleveland point-guard Kyrie Irving and Miami shooting guard Dwyane Wade. While Irving’s stats have improved considerably since last season, his low averages that began this season have many fans and basketball experts believing that the Wizard’s John Wall had deserved the spot more. Additionally, Wade’s noticeable decrease in points per game and absence in 30 percent of this season’s games have caused critics to challenge the value of his stock as an NBA superstar. The Eastern Conference frontcourt, however, is filled by unanimously deserving favorites including Miami’s Lebron James, New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Indiana’s Paul George, the latter of which is the NBA’s breakout star this year after a stellar performance in last season’s playoffs and an even better start to this season.
The Western Conference held even more surprise choices as only superstars Kevin Durrant of the Thunder and Stephen Curry of the Warriors were predictable, Curry because of Clippers point-guard Chris Paul’s injury which led to Curry’s passing him in fan voting. Minnesota’s Kevin Love replaced Dwight Howard in this year’s lineup, which, even though Kevin Love is having a monstrous 25-13-4 season, is a bit of a shock considering Howard’s huge following. Clippers power forward Blake Griffin also managed to edge out powerhouse forward Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge for a spot in the frontcourt. Although the last player with a starting spot is a bit expected due to his enormous international and Los Angeles fan base, Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant certainly has not earned All-Star starter status due to his participation in a mere eight games this season. As a consolation, Houston’s James Harden will most likely fill in for Bryant because Bryant certainly will not be recovered from his injury by mid-February.
While the West has won the last three All-Star games and has Durrant, who is currently leading the league in MVP voting, the East seems to be at least as competitive as the West this year. As debate on this topic continues, fans are eagerly waiting to hear the announcement of the remaining All-Stars on Jan. 30.