Once again, scoring will be in abundance and defense at a premium in the NBA All-Star Game.
On Thursday night, the NBA unveiled the 10 players whom the fans voted to start the 2014 edition, per Bleacher Report:
The western conference All-Star starters! pic.twitter.com/6TZGdB8WxV— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 24, 2014
The eastern conference All-Star starters! pic.twitter.com/AioSFzIu69— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 24, 2014
There aren't too many glaring omissions, but there's no way Kobe Bryant is an All-Star starter. Of course, it's not the first, nor will it be the last time that an undeserving player has earned the honor based solely on his popularity with the fans.
Otherwise, the fans got it pretty much dead on, and there are plenty of players capable of lighting up the box score.
Speaking of box score, here's a look at the points, rebounds and assists that each of the 10 starters may put up in New Orleans.
G: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Dwyane Wade has been resting a lot this season in order to remain refreshed for the playoffs, so it's unlikely that he'll be attacking the All-Star Game with a lot of effort.
Wade's averaged 18.1 points in his nine All-Star Game appearances. If you're guessing the over/under, take the under. There are plenty of other younger players among the East starters who won't shy away from a good shot.
Projection: 15 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists
G: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Don't forget about those performances Kyrie Irving had in the Rising Stars Challenges. In 2012, he scored 34 points and was a perfect 8-for-8 from three-point range. A year later, he had 32 points. All-Star Games are built for him.
Plus, with the problems the Cleveland Cavaliers are having this year, this is the last chance Irving will get to have any more fun on the court for the rest of the year.
Projection: 21 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds
F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
Who would've thought LeBron James would be named an All-Star starter?
Although LeBron isn't sitting out games like Wade is, you can tell that he's saving his best for the postseason. He should get his in the All-Star Game, but don't expect anything too crazy.
With as well as James is shooting the ball, he should make the most of his shooting opportunities. He just won't take a high volume of shots, instead ceding to some of the younger players.
Projection: 20 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists
F: Paul George, Indiana Pacers
Does Paul George have anything special saved for the All-Star Game? He may have used his best stuff with that 360-degree windmill dunk against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Indiana Pacers star should thrive in an All-Star atmosphere. His East teammates will likely be all too happy to set George up with some great alley-oops and hand the ball off on the fast break.
The number of good shooters on the East means that George may not have a lot of three-point opportunities, which could hinder his stat line.
Projection: 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists
F: Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
Without a big man among the East starting five, the opportunity is there for Carmelo Anthony to pick up the double-double. He's done it twice before, and in each of his six All-Star appearances, he's never had fewer than seven boards.
And we all know about Carmelo's willingness to shoot from anywhere on the floor.
Aside from the 2010 All-Star Game, though, Anthony hasn't gone crazy in terms of his shot attempts. He's averaging 15.5 a game, which isn't all that bad.
Projection: 22 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists
G: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
The voters made this one pretty easy.
There's almost no chance Kobe Bryant is going to play in the All-Star Game and risk getting injured again. Yahoo! Sports Marc J. Spears reported that in the event Bryant does appear, it will only be for a short time:
Kobe maintains young guys deserve to play in AllStar over him, prefers not to play and says if he does it will be a short cameo.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) January 24, 2014
Everything points to Kobe not playing in the All-Star Game, and in the event he does, he won't be on the court long enough to register anything in the box score.
Projection: 0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists
G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry is a major wild card.
Between his shooting skills and the lack of defense in the All-Star Game, he could easily go for 30-plus. It's also his first All-Star Game appearance and the first time a Golden State Warriors player has started since Latrell Sprewell in 1995, per ESPN Stats and Info, so he could look to prove a point and carry the flag for Golden State:
Stephen Curry: will be 1st Warriors player to start an All-Star Game since Latrell Sprewell in 1995.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 24, 2014
Depending on how seriously Curry takes this game, he could put on a major show.
Projection: 27 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists
F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
At the moment, no player is playing better than Kevin Durant. He's been on a ridiculous run of games. Without Russell Westbrook in the fold, Durant has been forced to do more, which means he's seen a rise in his numbers:
The star forward revealed in a Sports Illustrated article that he's sick of playing second fiddle to LeBron James in the NBA MVP race and tired of seeing the Oklahoma City Thunder come up short in the playoffs.
Durant could take that attitude into the All-Star Game and look to prove a point. In his last three appearances, he's gone for over 30 points, and there's no reason to expect otherwise this year.
Projection: 33 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists
F: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
Blake Griffin must love All-Star Games. All he has to do is park under the basket and collect alley-oops all day.
Not a bad gig if you can get it.
In last year's game, Griffin finished with 19 points, three rebounds and three assists. He was also an impressive 9-of-11 from the field.
His numbers should be about the same this year, the only major change being that he'll likely see an uptick in rebounds.
Projection: 20 Points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists
F: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
It would be great if Kevin Love played every minute of the All-Star Game, but all he did was sit under the defensive glass, grab rebounds and and unleash outlet passes. You could watch that happen all day.
With the West lacking a center, Love is the closest thing to a big man on this starting lineup. That should help his rebounding numbers and open the door for the double-double.
Projection: 15 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists