NBA All-Star Game 2013: Surprising Stars Who Will Decide This Year's Matchup

Mike HoagCorrespondent IIFebruary 16, 2013

Feb 15, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Team Shaq guard Kyrie Irving (2) of the Cleveland Cavaliers brings the ball up the court against Team Chuck during the first half of the rising stars challenge during the 2013 NBA All-Star weekend at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone knows LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant are able to go off at any time and light up the scoreboard at the 2013 NBA All-Star Game.

Most Valuable Player awards have typically been handed out to the top stars in the game, as they are given the spotlight. But who are the other guys who will have the biggest impact in Houston as the game’s best go head-to-head for bragging rights? 

Every once in a while a reserve comes in and shakes things up to help his team earn its conference home-court advantage in the NBA Finals.

Everyone remembers Glen Rice’s 26-point off-the-bench outburst in the 1997 game, leading the East to a 130-120 victory, right?

Or how about Mitch Richmond’s 23 points that helped guide the West to a 139-112 blowout of the East in 1995?

Let’s take a look at a couple of promising stars who could go off in Houston.


Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

The heir apparent to LeBron James in Cleveland hasn’t disappointed after the team selected the former Duke point guard No. 1 overall in the 2011 NBA draft.

Irving mixes a rare scoring threat with a knack for finding open teammates and making those around him better. He’s the perfect “sleeper” to come in off of the bench and make a splash because of his ball skills and pin-point perimeter accuracy at times.


Paul George, Indiana Pacers

Danny Granger has missed the entire 2012-13 season, but you wouldn’t realize that when looking at this season’s Indiana Pacers. The 32–21 Pacers are in third place in the Eastern Conference standings. They are also the only team other than the Miami Heat averaging over 100 points per game in the conference.

George has been a big part of that success. He’s a do-it-all small forward that can get in the paint and grab rebounds, create scoring opportunities for teammates and also step outside the three-point line and rain triples on opponents. The 6 foot 8 inch swingman is averaging 17.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and four assists per game.


James Harden, Houston Rockets

The former Sixth Man of the Year has found a niche for himself at the head of the Houston Rockets' offense. Harden has excelled while no longer playing second, or third, fiddle to anyone.

Harden has blown up, actually, averaging an NBA fifth-best 26.1 points per game at the All-Star break.

The home-town star will also be playing in front of his fans. With his ability, that energy from their support and his familiarity with coming off of the bench he is definitely No. 1 in line to surprise.