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