As we gear up for All-Star Weekend in Houston, it's time to start analyzing who will make the biggest impact in the Toyota Center.
It's not just about the game itself, though, as the three-point and slam dunk contests provide players the opportunity to showcase talents they don't always get to display during regular-season games.
So, who will have the best showings this weekend?
Let's take a look.
Erik Spoelstra has yet to name his starting point guard for the East following the injury to Rajon Rondo, but conventional wisdom says Kyrie Irving will be your starter.
And rightly so.
Irving has become a top-five point guard this season, averaging 23.9 PPG this season, highlighted by 10 30-plus point efforts, including two games of 40 or more.
As the floor general for the East, Irving will have complete control of the offense and an opportunity to make his mark in Houston.
Irving is shooting it better than 42 percent from beyond the arc and should be considered a favorite to take home the hardware in the shootout.
Kobe Bryant already sports four All-Star Game MVP awards and should be a favorite to take home a fifth this year.
Bryant is third in the league in scoring, averaging 27.4 PPG, and has even put his passing skills on display this season, as evidenced by his stretch of double-digit assists in late January.
In his 17th NBA season, Bryant has shown no signs of wear-and-tear or breaking down, playing in all 52 games for the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
As a successful grizzled veteran of NBA All-Star games, Kobe is bound for MVP rights if the West pulls off the win.
Boasting a roster that includes Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, I'd say the odds of Kobe winning the MVP in Houston are pretty favorable.
Bryant has experience playing with these guys on Olympic teams or in past All-Star games and is poised for another successful outing in the Toyota Center this weekend.
James White won't be participating in the All-Star Game, but he'll surely be taking part in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.
If you don't know who "Flight White" is, I suggest you drop everything and Google this man's dunks right now.
White is known as one of the best dunkers in the competition this season, and in my mind, is the favorite to win.
With the popularity and stock of the slam dunk contest waning in recent years, White can definitely make the biggest impact and inject some life into the contest.
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