The 2013 NBA All-Star game has its starting lineups set, but the most intriguing part of the selection process has yet to be revealed.
Because the league allows for its 30 head coaches to choose 14 reserves to participate in the contest (seven from each conference), there’s often a ton of debate and excitement leading up to the announcement.
Let’s take a look at where you can watch this must-see broadcast, make some predictions on which players will fill out the reserves, and much more.
When: Thursday, January 24 at 7 p.m. ET
Announcers: Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith
The announcement will take place during a one-hour NBA Tip-Off special prior to a double-header featuring the New York Knicks at Boston Celtics (8 p.m. ET) and Los Angeles Clippers at Phoenix Suns (10:30 p.m. ET).
There is definitely going to be some controversy and plenty of snubs with only 14 spots available. With so many deserving candidates of a trip to Houston in mid-February, it’s going to be tough for coaches to reach a decision on who to vote for.
Here’s a peak at which players we have penned in to fill out the roster for each conference. We’d love to see who you believe will make it in the comment section below.
Backcourt: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Backcourt: Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers
Frontcourt: Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks
Frontcourt: Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
Frontcourt: Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets
Wild card: Paul George, Indiana Pacers
Wild card: Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
Unfortunately, league rules mandate that each conference elect two backcourt backups, three frontcourt reserves and two wild card players of any position.
That has become a problem for the East, which already has two questionable starters in the backcourt (Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade) and barely any worthwhile options for the backup gigs.
We believe superstar sophomore Kyrie Irving will snag one, and it will come down to either Jrue Holiday or Deron Williams for the other spot. Neither of these guards is on a great team, but Holiday’s 2012-13 performance is worthy of a nod, while Williams has more accolades over his career.
For the frontcourt, Chandler and Noah are shoo-ins, while Lopez gets the edge over Chris Bosh, Josh Smith and Al Horford.
Pierce will earn a wild-card spot for his contributions to a decent Celtics squad that is still afloat despite a rash of offseason change and advanced age, while George is the best Pacer on a team that is thriving without Danny Granger.
Backcourt: James Harden, Houston Rockets
Backcourt: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Frontcourt: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
Frontcourt: David Lee, Golden State Warriors
Frontcourt: Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
Wild card: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
Wild card: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
The West’s backcourt is a stone cold lock—a welcome change from the East’s nightmare—while the frontcourt and wild-card spots are much more of a headache for coaches to sort through.
Tim Duncan will undoubtedly get a nod for his career achievements and elevated play despite his age (36), while David Lee is the only player averaging a near 20-10 this season (19.6 points and 10.8 rebounds) for the resurgent Warriors.
Gasol will be selected over teammate Zach Randolph for his gritty defense, tough rebounding skills and efficient scoring plus having a better reputation, but Serge Ibaka also deserves some consideration here.
LaMarcus Aldridge undoubtedly needs to be here, as he’s arguably the best power forward in a conference chock-full of talent at the position. Rounding out the last wild card should be Stephen Curry, who is staying relatively healthy, shooting the lights out and racking up wins for the W’s.
This isn’t perfect—as Tony Parker, Damian Lillard, Kenneth Faried and Al Jefferson are all snubbed—but when it comes to picking best of the best, some people are going to get left behind.