With nearly half the grains of this NBA season resting at the bottom portion of the glass, the league chose to announce the complete lineups for the 62nd annual NBA All-Star Game last night. All of the action is set to take place on February 17th at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, and though the weekend features plenty of great events like the three-point contest and the slam dunk competition, the marquee event remains the big game on Sunday. The ten starting players were selected by the fans, while the reserve roster was selected by the coaches of each respective conference, and, as always, a collection of the league’s finest talent has been assembled to battle it out live. With rosters like these set to hit the court, claiming 2013 NBA All-Star Game tickets would be a dream come true.
For the East team, defending league MVP Lebron James led the Eastern Conference with 1,583,646 votes and will start at small forward. This will mark James’ ninth invitation, and he’s as deserving as ever, as he is putting up a monster stat line of 26.5 ppg, 7.1 apg, and 8.1 rpg. James will be joined by his Miami Heat running mate, Dwyane Wade, who hauled in 1,052,310 votes and gets the start at shooting guard. The starting center will be Kevin Garnett, who hauled in 553,222 votes, and his fellow Boston Celtics teammate, Rajon Rondo, brought in 924,180 votes to win the starting point guard spot. Rounding out the East starters is Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, who garnered 1,460,950 votes from the fans and won the starting power forward spot.
From there, the Eastern Conference coaches had work to do in selecting the remaining two guards, three frontcourt players, and then two others at any position. Coaches weren't allowed to vote for players for their own team, and when the dust settled the Chicago Bulls landed both Joakim Noah and Luol Deng for their stellar play in helping the Bulls remain in the hunt sans Derrick Rose. The coaches also picked front courters Tyson Chandler of the Knicks, Chris Bosh of the Heat, and Paul George of the Indiana Pacers. The remaining guards selected were Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers. The East reserve picks featured a slew of first time players who nabbed spots from some notable perennials in the process, but more on that later.
In the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers' resurgent Kobe Bryant received the most overall votes, with 1,591,437, to claim the starting shooting guard spot. This will be Bryant’s 15th All-Star Game, and he currently sits at second in the league in scoring with 29.2 ppg. He’ll be joined by teammate Dwight Howard, who brought in 922,070 votes, starting at center. A pair of Los Angeles Clippers will be first on the court in Houston in the forms of point guard Chris Paul and power forward Blake Griffin, who amassed 929,155 and 863,832 votes, respectively. Finally, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant, who received 1,504,047 votes, will start at small forward. Durant is currently the league leader in scoring, putting up a monstrous 29.6 points per game, and is the reigning All-Star Game MVP.
The Western Conference coaches then played by the same rules to select their remaining squad, and they went on to select a reserve front court comprised of the San Antonio Spurs' Tim Duncan, David Lee of the Golden State Warriors, LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers, and Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies. The selected reserve guards were the host-city Houston Rockets’ own James Harden, Tony Parker of the Spurs, and Oklahoma City’s high-flying Russell Westbrook. What’s interesting about this year’s West team is that, as in the East, some perennial All-Stars did not make the cut; most notably, Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol. They're out mainly due to injuries, but for others, only one word suffices as explanation: "Snubbed."
Elite players from both conferences are tagged with the infamous "snubbed" label each year, and it never fails to get the birds clucking. But this year, a legitimate jagged edge is sticking out in the Brooklyn Nets’ Brook Lopez. The seven-footer stands at sixth overall in the NBA in PER, boasting a hefty 25.45, and he’s led the Nets to third place in the East. If it weren't for fan voting, one would expect him in over Garnett. Some will also argue that the Knicks’ J.R. Smith, the Bucks’ Brandon Jennings, and the Pistons’ Greg Monroe were robbed as well. Surprisingly, yet deservingly, East regulars like Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, and Joe Johnson didn’t make the cut either.
For the West, Stephen Curry is the most talked about snub, as he sits at 8th in the NBA in scoring with 20.9 per game, and the Warriors have shocked the league as they're currently rolling in 5th place in the West. Some other notable West snubs include Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies, Trail Blazers’ rookie Damian Lillard, and the Los Angeles Clippers’ star sixth man, Jamal Crawford. And though they didn’t make the team, injured Timberwolves’ forward Kevin Love (283,458) and Rockets’ guard Jeremy Lin (883,809) received plenty of votes.
In the end, the extraordinary amount of collective talent set to gather inside the Toyota Center is undeniable, so this edition of the classic is sure to live up to its historic past. In last season’s game Kevin Durant scored a blistering 36 points to help the Western Conference All-Stars prevail in a 152-149 shootout at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. But seeing as how this game is about pride as much as showmanship, there’s no doubt that the East team will come out with a vengeance to return the favor. Vivid Seats has a prime selection of 2013 NBA All-Star Game tickets on sale now, so make sure to get yours today to witness the electricity as one of best games of the year launches in Houston.