Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are locks to be All-Star starters for the second year in a row.
Four Clippers are represented on the 2013 All-Star ballot. Among the frontcourt choices you'll find Blake Griffin and Grant Hill listed, while Chris Paul and Chauncey Billups are both options at guard.
I'm not really going out on a limb when I tell you, wise bettor, that two of these players are virtual locks to play in the big showcase in Houston and the other two are virtual locks to be comfortably watching the show in whatever venue they choose.
Let's start with who's absolutely NOT getting an All-Star nod.
It seems silly now that Billups and Hill are even on the ballot to begin with, given how many of their teammates seem more worthy of the distinction at this juncture. It's not their fault—it's just that neither of them have been able to get on the court really.
Hill has yet to suit up for the Clips, out indefinitely with a knee issue. Billups has done a bit better, but has only managed to appear in three games himself. Unless you're Yao Ming and you've got all of China stuffing the ballot for you, you actually have to play to be an All-Star.
Fan voting won't make any miracles happen for these guys. When the first ballot returns were released by the NBA last week, Hill was not listed among the top 15 vote-getters among frontcourt players, and Billups did not make the list of 10 most voted for guards.
No Vegas sports book would even have odds for Hill and Billups becoming All-Stars this season. Hypothetically speaking, though, I don't see how they can be any higher than 10,000/1. If that.
Meanwhile, Paul and Griffin are both shoo-ins for the honor. Both of them were voted in as starters last season, and both are currently on track to start again this season.
Griffin was third among Western Conference frontcourt players (as of last week's count) with over 300,000 votes. That means he's the last frontcourt player being voted in by the fans, but considering that the next guy on the list—Tim Duncan, who's really turned back the clock so far this year—has fewer than 200,000 tallies I'd say Griffin's starting slot is safe.
Even if he's somehow not voted in, Griffin would be a mortal lock to be selected by the coaches. Griffin has posted the ninth highest PER in the Western Conference so far. Of the players ahead of him, three are off the All-Star radar (JaVale McGee, Anthony Davis and teammate Eric Bledsoe) and four of the other five are currently projected as starters by popular vote (assuming Duncan is the one who passes Griffin).
With all that going for him, you shouldn't even get even odds on Griffin being an All-Star. I'm going with 1/2 odds for Blake.
That brings us to Paul, who we can confidently state is guaranteed an All-Star nod yet again this year.
At last count, CP3 was second in in All-Star voting among Western Conference guards with over 350,000 votes. He's about 55,000 votes ahead of the next player, Jeremy Lin. Lin is a darkhorse candidate to be voted in if the Chinese masses throw their considerable weight behind him. That would be a shame since Linsanity seems to have come to an end.
I'm not sure if David Stern should or would allow that to occur, but even if it did, Paul's All-Star status would still be secure.
Although his raw numbers are down a bit this year, he's been as efficient as ever playing a career low minutes per game. He has the highest PER of any NBA point guard and ranks third in PER among all players in the Western Conference. He's the consensus best point guard in the league and is leading one of the five best teams in the NBA up to this point.
All that is to say there's no way Paul isn't an All-Star in 2013. Again, even odds would be too good. Let's set them at 2/7. Perhaps a fitting number for someone who is 27 years and 227 days old (on Wednesday).