That's right, on Feb. 15-17, 2013, Houston will be the center of the basketball universe. The best and brightest the league has to offer will be in and around the Toyota Center enjoying all of the festivities with the 62nd NBA All-Star Game capping things off on Sunday night.
So on that note, now is as good a time as any to see how many hometown Houston Rockets will be receiving extra ovations when the East and West squads tip things off.
James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons are the four Rockets on the NBA All-Star Ballot. Let's take a look at their odds of actually suiting up for the Western Conference.
Now I'm not a gambling man. Never have been, never will be. So these odds are, as they say, "for entertainment purposes only."
According to the first ballot results, two Rockets are sitting pretty. Here are a few more details from that NBA.com article:
2013 NBA ALL-STAR BALLOTING PRESENTED BY SPRINT WESTERN CONFERENCE
Frontcourt: Kevin Durant (OKC) 605,965; Dwight Howard (LAL) 434,168; Blake Griffin (LAC) 307,855; Tim Duncan (SA) 189,577; Pau Gasol (LAL) 139,868; Kevin Love (Min) 112,922; Omer Asik (Hou) 88,178; Rudy Gay (Mem) 85,279; Serge Ibaka (OKC) 68,285; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 66,290; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 63,056; Marc Gasol (Mem) 61,716; Zach Randolph (Mem) 59,916; Metta World Peace (LAL) 59,167; Anthony Davis (NO) 53,779.
Backcourt: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 639,419; Chris Paul (LAC) 353,603; Jeremy Lin (Hou) 298,319; James Harden (Hou) 196,108; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 143,437; Steve Nash (LAL) 118,073; Tony Parker (SA) 69,983; Ricky Rubio (Min) 54,744; Manu Ginobili (SA) 47,800; O.J. Mayo (Dal) 36,495.
Jeremy Lin 9:2
Jeremy Lin is virtually a lock to make the Western Conference squad. Kobe Bryant is running away with it, as Kobe has been prone to do. But Lin is in third place and only trails Chris Paul by about 55,000 votes.
Lin's play hasn't been at an all-star level this season. No one expected Linsanity to continue like it did during his torrid run with the New York Knicks.
But 11.6 points, 6.0 assists and a .419 field-goal percentage have left a lot to be desired.
These numbers won't deter the fans though. Voting doesn't end until Jan. 14, 2013. Lin's All-Star votes will only continue to climb.
James Harden 5:1
The Beard is a shoe-in to be an All-Star. The odds-on favorite if you will.
Although he's more than 100,00 votes behind Jeremy Lin at this point, Harden's body of work this season is much more substantial. He will be representing the home folks in the Toyota Center on All-Star Sunday.
No one can forget the insane start he got off to in his Houston debut. He literally hit the ground running. He's come back to earth since then, but his 25.4 points per game are good for fourth in the NBA just behind Kevin Durant and just ahead of LeBron James.
All-star-level stuff indeed.
Chandler Parsons 33:1
Chandler Parsons' improvement has been dramatic for sure. He's made strides in every stat this season. His 15.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.7 apg and 1.3 spg are significant improvements over his solid rookie season, which saw him put up 9.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.1 apg and 1.2 spg.
That said, he's going to have to continue to improve and show he can do it consistently on a year-in and year-out basis.
The changes to the ballot have only made things tougher for frontcourt players. Zach Randolph and LaMarcus Aldridge have been playing well longer than Parsons has and only have one All-Star Game appearance under their belt.
Give Chandler some time. As long as he keeps doing what he's doing, he'll be out there holding his own with the game's greatest fairly soon.
Omer Asik 66:1
Omer Asik's situation is similar to Chandler Parsons'. This is his first year producing, and he's trying to make his way through the logjam of big men in the Western Conference. Parsons even has an advantage over Asik because he had at least seen action in more meaningful situations than Asik had.
This really is Asik's first time in the spotlight. He's making the most of it though. However, even if Tim Duncan sat out this All-Star Game to rest (we know Gregg Popovich would be cool with that) there's still a lot of other bigs ahead of Asik.
He topped 88,000 votes the very first time his name appeared on the voting results. I'm not sure he even saw that coming. It's definitely something he can be proud of as he works toward being an All-Star in the future.
All stats are accurate as of 12/21/12.