NBA Predictions: Four Under-the-Radar Players Who Will Receive All-Star Berths

Griffin Kurzius@@GriffDaddyKCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2013

Dec 21, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday (11) pushes the ball up court during the third quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at the Wells Fargo Center. The Sixers defeated the Hawks 99-80. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In the star-studded NBA, it is easy to forget about the less flashy players. The All-Stars who do not appear on SportsCenter Top Plays on the daily, like Blake Griffin, or do not play for a major market team, like Carmelo Anthony, often fall through the cracks.

The press constantly discusses the Dwightmare because there is always new information to debate and analyze, and the topic galvanizes fans. Players who simply stay out of the limelight and take care of business are often passed over. Even Kevin Durant is sometimes overlooked.

There are several players who are quietly having breakout, All-Star-caliber seasons without any of the media frenzy.

Here's four under-the-radar players who will be heading to Houston next month for the 2013 All-Star Game.


Paul George, Indiana Pacers small forward

The 22-year-old has been touted as a raw, freakish athletic specimen who has sky-high potential. Finally, in his third season, George has begun to harness his skill set. Even though the Pacers lost their captain and leading scorer Danny Granger for several months, the team has not missed a beat due to the emergence of George. The team is leading the Central Division and is third place in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, the Fresno State-product is averaging a team high 16.9 ppg, 7.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.7 steals, remarkable versatility from the small forward position. He also plays lockdown defense from both the wing and the paint, developing into a sexy pick for All-NBA Defensive Team.  


Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers point guard

Like George, a devastating injury to a bona fide All-Star Andrew Bynum has enabled Holiday's game to come to fruition. The fourth-year player has single-handedly kept the 76ers in contention for a playoff berth—currently in ninth place in the East—with a team-leading 19 ppg and 8.8 assists.

The blazing-fast point guard has a knack for getting into the lane and creating for his teammates. The 22-year-old has improved immensely with his on-ball defense and impacts passing lanes, averaging 1.4 steals per game.


Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets center

After missing all but four games last season, Lopez has returned strong for the Nets. He has nifty foot work and great touch around the basket, leading all centers in scoring at 18.6 ppg. Often overshadowed by Deron Williams and Joe Johnson, Lopez is the team's glue guy. Brooklyn is 21-11 with the Lopez in the lineup and 2-5 without him.


Often maligned in the past for his poor defense, the 24-year-old has bulked up and developed into an above-average defender in the paint, leading the Nets to the fifth-best scoring defense in the NBA at 94.7 ppg. He also protects the rim with his long reach, averaging 2.1 blocks per game. The seven-footer should be a stalwart in the All-Star Game for years to come.


David Lee, Golden State power forward

No team has been a bigger surprise this season than the 23-14 Warriors. While Stephen Curry might be the team's iconic player, Lee has been the team's most valuable player. The double-double machine averages 19.7 ppg and 10.9 rebounds and effectively spreads the floor, creating lanes for speedsters Curry and Klay Thompson to penetrate.

According to, Lee's efficiency rating of 24.5 is good for fifth in the league. Though not a shot blocker at 6'9", Lee has proven to be a formidable man-to-man defender in the post. Also, the 29-year-old is renowned in the league for his 100 percent effort every single play. The 2010 All-Star will make the trek to Houston after a stellar start.