Major Candidates to Be First-Time NBA All-Stars at the Quarter-Season Mark

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Major Candidates to Be First-Time NBA All-Stars at the Quarter-Season Mark
Scott Halleran/Getty Images
The Rockets' pair in James Harden and Jeremy Lin are prime candidates for a first All-Star selection.

Few matters in the NBA generate more debate than All-Star selections. Many fans lament the popularity contest that the game has always represented, while the traditional position criteria has limited the chances for many legitimate All-Star contenders.

However, with the introduction of a new ballot system, the All-Star game in 2013 will more closely represent the modern NBA and its shift to smaller lineups and increasingly versatile rosters.

Yet, will that change see a handful of first-timers gain selection into the annual league showcase? Are there any players out there, yet to land an All-Star appearance, who deserve selection this season? After all the perennial All-Stars are selected, will there be any remaining spots on each team?

In the East, the following players are as close to certainties as you can get:

LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Chris Bosh.

The same can be said for these guys out in the West:

Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love.

That leaves just four spots open on each team, and there are a number of players with All-Star appearances already to their name (Zach Randolph and LaMarcus Aldridge just to name two) who are also strong candidates to feature in Houston.

That may leave just a few spots for potential first-timers. So who will they be?

Here are the major candidates for a debut berth in February's All-Star game.

*All stats accurate as of December 11.

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