The Houston Rockets roster is talented from top to bottom, but only a few players will have the privilege of participating in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.
The All-Star Game will take place on Feb. 16, 2014, so there is still plenty of time for the players to boost their season numbers and get into the game. For some, it won't matter how well they produce.
A typical All-Star is a staple of consistency on the court, but he is also a popular face for the sport. Kobe Bryant—who may very well be out until the All-Star break, reports Sam Amick of USA Today—might technically still be named to the game because of his immense popularity.
It's all about how the voters cast their ballots.
Houston has a few players that will take part in the action, but it's important to have realistic expectations for the rest of the pack.
The "Definitely Nots"
It's pretty much a given that these guys won't make it to the All-Star Game. Reserves who play limited minutes and small roles are not the players that the fans want to see on one of the game's most popular nights.
Omer Asik, Ronnie Brewer, Aaron Brooks, Isaiah Canaan, Omri Casspi, Robert Covington, Francisco Garcia, Donatas Motiejunas and Greg Smith have almost zero chance of making it into the game. In fact, the percentages are as close to zero as you can get without actually being zero.
For perspective, let's take a quick look at Casspi's numbers. He's putting up the best marks of the bunch in 21.4 minutes per game.
In that time, he's averaging 8.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.9 steals per game. He's even shooting 37.8 percent (a career-high) from three.
Those numbers are strong by Casspi's standards, but they are nowhere near worthy enough of an All-Star nod.
The "Probably Nots"
Patrick Beverley and Terrence Jones are a category ahead of the "definitely nots," as they play significant minutes and have had a direct impact on the team's start to the 2013-14 campaign.
That being said, they haven't been nearly flashy enough to make a serious bid for the game.
Beverley is averaging 32.3 minutes, 9.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game this season, and he has played a high volume of minutes with Jeremy Lin sporadically missing time with injuries. He provides far more upside defensively and has a motor that never seems to stop.
Jones has enjoyed a breakout start to his season. In 24.3 minutes per night, Jones is averaging 9.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. His length and athleticism have made him a perfect fit in Houston's offense.
Each player only has about a five percent chance of making the All-Star Game. Each plays a large role for Houston, but their numbers aren't flashy enough to grab the fans' attention. When you aren't a household name like Bryant, then you better put up ridiculous marks to earn some recognition.
Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons are putting up great numbers, but it remains to be seen if either will get voted in.
Lin hasn't been entirely healthy this season, but his numbers when in good health are career marks. He's dropping 14.3 points and dishing out 4.2 assists in 28.8 minutes per game, but the most impressive thing is that he's shooting 49.7 percent from the floor.
As a semi-volume scorer at point guard, Lin's conversion rate this season is impressive.
Lin has an advantage because he'll get a majority of the votes from overseas, and his immense popularity will likely earn him more votes than he deserves based on his play. With that being the case, I think the chances Lin gets in are 50 percent.
Parsons is also putting up career numbers, but as has been the case for his entire career, he's been doing it quietly. In 37.0 minutes per night, Parsons is dropping 17.1 points, grabbing 5.0 rebounds and dishing out 3.9 assists.
His numbers are better than Lin's, but the popularity factor hurts his chances just a little. I'd say there's a 40 percent chance Parsons gets in, but his numbers would suggest a much higher mark.
Harden and Howard are 100 percent locks to be in the All-Star Game. They are two of the biggest names in the sport, and their numbers are right up there with the game's brightest stars.
Harden is averaging 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. His shooting percentage is up a bit from last season, but his shot from three hasn't been nearly as effective as it has been in the past. He's still turning the ball over at an alarming rate (4.0 times per game), but that's just a direct result of trying to do too much with the ball in his hands.
Houston's top scorer is a lock for the game because of his numbers, popularity and ability to make highlight plays. Harden truly is one of the most exciting players in the sport to watch, and the fans will want to see him put on a show against the game's top talents.
He even has a chance to start with guys like Monta Ellis, Klay Thompson and Gordon Hayward lacking the type of star power that he possesses.
Howard is equally as much of a lock as Harden. In his first season with the Rockets, Howard is averaging 17.7 points, 13.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.
His propensity for highlight-reel dunks make him a lock for the game, but the excitement he can bring to the hardwood on defense adds an entirely different element to his case. Few players in today's NBA can captivate fans with their defense, and Howard's ability to rise up and block shots put him in that select company.
Harden and Howard are two of the best players in the NBA. With their performances thus far, they are 100 percent locks to make the game.
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