NBA All-Star Game 2014 Starters: TV Schedule and Predictions for Announcement

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NBA All-Star Game 2014 Starters: TV Schedule and Predictions for Announcement
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Being elected as a starter in the NBA All-Star Game is an honor only a small percentage of players ever receive. The fan vote has led to some interesting choices over the years but, for the most part, right decisions are made and any snubs usually get in as reserves.

The game itself is nothing more than an offensive showcase. It's hard to remember the last time there was sustained effort on the defensive end. Instead, it's a chance for highlight-reel dunks and uncontested jumpers. Last season, the final score was 143-138 in favor of the West.

Which conference will have the stronger squad?

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With that in mind, let's take a look at all of the important viewing information for where to watch the announcement of the starters. It's followed by a look at the likely fan selections and the best possible options for the starting spots.

Show: NBA Tip-Off

When: Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. ET

Watch: TNT

Eastern Conference

Eastern Conference All-Star Starters
Position Predicted Fans' Picks Best Options
F LeBron James (MIA) LeBron James (MIA)
F Paul George (IND) Paul George (IND)
F Carmelo Anthony (NYK) Carmelo Anthony (NYK)
G Kyrie Irving (CLE) Kyrie Irving (CLE)
G Dwyane Wade (MIA) John Wall (WSH)

2014 NBA All-Star Game

The predictions for both conferences are based on the voting update released by the league on Jan. 9. Every player in the starting lineups at that time had at least a 17,000 vote lead, which would have been tough to overcome in just over a week.

In the East, it appears the fans are likely to do a very strong job.

One thing that probably stands out is the fact three small forwards make up the frontcourt without a true post player in the mix. It will be very difficult to keep LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony or Paul George off the team considering their strong play throughout the season.

Perhaps a case could be made that Andre Drummond or Al Jefferson could replace George, who's cooled off a bit in January, to give the East a true big man. It's not really necessary, though. As mentioned, matching up defensively isn't exactly a top priority.

If Drummond does make the team, he said he'll give back to those who helped get him there:

In the backcourt, there should be no argument about Kyrie Irving. The third-year point guard is having another terrific season for the Cleveland Cavaliers despite a weak supporting cast and deserves to play alongside the league's best.

The other guard spot is up for debate. The fans appear poised to select the popular Dwyane Wade. It's not a bad selection by any means, but what John Wall is doing to help the Washington Wizards hang around .500 deserves to get rewarded.

Western Conference

Western Conference All-Star Starters
Position Predicted Fans' Picks Best Options
F Kevin Durant (OKC) Kevin Durant (OKC)
F Dwight Howard (HOU) Kevin Love (MIN)
F Blake Griffin (LAC) Anthony Davis (NO)
G Kobe Bryant (LAL) Chris Paul (LAC)
G Stephen Curry (GS) Stephen Curry (GS)

2014 NBA All-Star Game

There are a few more discrepancies out West.

Two players who certainly belong in the starting lineup are Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. Durant should be viewed as the MVP favorite heading into the second half of the season, and Curry has been lights out leading the Golden State Warriors.

The second guard spot is likely going to Kobe Bryant, which doesn't come as a surprise. Even though he's only played in six games this season, he remains one of the most popular players in the league and fans want him in the All-Star Game.

That said, Chris Paul is the better option based on this season's play. The playmaking point guard would create an extremely dynamic backcourt with Curry. The pair represent the two highest totals in the league for assists per game.

As for the frontcourt, there's truly no shortage of options to join Durant. Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin would both be worthy choices, if the fan voting stays on its previous track.

In terms of the best options, it's hard to ignore Anthony Davis. The second-year rising star for the New Orleans Pelicans has been a dominant force in the paint. He's posting stat lines that nobody else has done at such a young age, as John Buccigross of ESPN notes:

The other forward who deserves an All-Star start is Kevin Love. The double-double machine continues to post huge numbers for the Minnesota Timberwolves and would seemingly be a perfect fit for the free-flowing style of the All-Star Game.

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