The 63rd edition of the NBA All-Star game will take place on Sunday, Feb. 16 in New Orleans (8 p.m. ET, TNT), but the action will get started on Thursday when the starters for the East and West All-Star teams are revealed on TNT at 7 p.m. ET.
For now, we have a good idea of who the starters are going to be for each conference, but the bottom of All-Star rosters are always up for debate. On Thursday, Jan. 30, the reserves for both teams will be announced and the discussion over 2014 NBA All-Star snubs will begin.
But let's take a head start and predict quality guards and forwards from each conference who will likely be left on the sidelines come All-Star weekend in the Big Easy.
G Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
When you look at the makeup of the All-Star rosters, there is a maximum of six roster spots that can be used on guards: two starters, two backups, and two wild cards that can be used on any player. In all likelihood though, the teams will feature five guards and seven forwards, with one wild card being used on a guard.
With a conference as stacked as the West, Dragic will be hard-pressed to crack the top six, assuming the injured Kobe Bryant is voted to the team as a starter based on his status as an all-time great. Joining Kobe as the leading guard vote-getters in the West in the latest voting returns is Stephen Curry, who is deservedly poised to be a starter in his first career All-Star game.
Now that Chris Paul has declared his intentions to play, via Arash Markazi of ESPN.com, he and James Harden are essentially locks to grab two other spots. So that likely leaves two more places open and Dragic faces an uphill battle in winning a popularity contest against the likes of Damian Lillard and Tony Parker.
That doesn't take away from the solid season Dragic has had in the desert, though. Together with backcourt mate Eric Bledsoe, Dragic has powered a streaky Phoenix squad into playoff contender. Dragic is averaging 19.4 points on 49.4 percent shooting with 5.9 assists and 1.3 made 3-pointers a game. His contributions have been magnified ever since Bledsoe underwent knee surgery earlier this month.
G Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
On the East, the trio of Dwyane Wade, Kyrie Irving and John Wall have their All-Star bids sewn up. From there, the talent level really drops off in a testament to the disparity between the two conferences this year.
Michael Carter-Williams might win Rookie of the Year when it's all said and done, but he might have a tough time cracking the East roster this season. In 31 starts this season, MCW is posting averages of 17.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game, impressive all-around numbers from the first-year player.
The Rookie Of The Year may come down to the last game of the season. It's a tight race between Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 23, 2014
But he's also shooting just 40.9 percent and averaging 3.4 turnovers per game, an indicator of the inefficiency he's also had. Carter-Williams doesn't hold as much clout as other options like Kyle Lowry, Brandon Jennings, Lance Stephenson or even Arron Affalo, who is having a career year for the Orlando Magic.
F David Lee, Golden State Warriors
David Lee might be averaging 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, but his season still doesn't stack up with the best forwards in the West. Assuming Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard are voted as the conference's starters, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and Anthony Davis are primed to snatch up the three backup positions.
That likely leaves one wild card left up for grabs and other players like DeMarcus Cousins are more deserving while Dirk Nowitzki simply has more star power and is a comparable player in terms of ability this season.
Lee has been one of the league's most productive players in the paint this season, but there's just too much depth to warrant putting him on the squad.
F Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats
Al Jefferson is very much in the same boat as Lee. Jefferson is posting impressive averages of 18.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game as Charlotte's rock down low, but doesn't quite have the same acclaim as other players vying for final spots on the East roster.
Forward-wise, the East has a jaw-dropping starting trio of LeBron James, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony penciled in by the fans, while Roy Hibbert and Chris Bosh are also logical options for backups. Jefferson has a made a late push to throw his name into the hat, but he's still often overlooked as an option.
Al Jefferson in January: 20.6 Ppg, 52.4% FG, 75% FT, 10.8 Rpg, 2.9 Apg, 0.9 Spg, 0.9 Bpg. Finally delivering #BIG on his preseason hype.— NBA Fantasy (@NBAFantasy) January 21, 2014