NBA All-Star Game 2014: Roster, Reserves and MVP Predictions

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NBA All-Star Game 2014: Roster, Reserves and MVP Predictions
Brock Williams-Smith/Getty Images

The 2014 NBA All-Star Game rosters are officially set. 

Last week, the fan-voted starting lineups were revealed. But the combination of transcendent play from the game's top stars along with certain players being far more visible to the casual fan tends to make those selections fairly predictable on an annual basis.  

But the selection of the 14 reserves, who are voted on by the league's head coaches, brings with it recognition for players who sometimes fall too far under the radar. That, and lots of debate.

The reserves were announced Thursday night, Jan. 30, so let's take a closer look at the complete rosters. 

 

Western Conference

Western Conference All-Stars
Starters Player 2013-14 Stats
BC Stephen Curry 24.1 PPG, 9.2 APG, 4.5 RPG, 22.87 PER, .534 TS%
BC Kobe Bryant 13.8 PPG, 6.3 APG, 4.3 RPG, 11.3 PER .505 TS%
FC Kevin Durant 31.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 5.2 APG, 31.17 PER, .645 TS%
FC Blake Griffin 22.9 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 22.97 PER, .585 TS%
FC Kevin Love 25.0 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 4.1 APG, 26.89 PER, .583 TS%
Reserves Player 2013-14 Stats
BC Chris Paul 19.6 PPG, 11.2 APG, 4.6 RPG, 27.47 PER, .578 TS%
BC Damian Lillard 20.6 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.5 RPG, 18.87 PER, .571 TS%
BC Tony Parker 18.1 PPG, 6.2 APG, 2.4 RPG, 20.12 PER, .571 TS%
BC James Harden 23.7 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.9 RPG, 21.12 PER, .593 TS%
FC LaMarcus Aldridge 24.3 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, 23.30 PER, .518 TS%
FC Dirk Nowitzki 21.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 23.9 PER, .589 TS%
FC Dwight Howard 18.1 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 21.12 PER, .581 TS%

TNT Broadcast

Quick proposal to entirely change the All-Star game format sometime in the next week and implement it in New Orleans: the Western Conference builds two separate teams, who then battle it out in a semifinal to determine who plays the East on Sunday. 

There are just too many deserving players to limit the roster to 12. 

Although it's hard to go wrong with most of the head coaches' selections, it still meant that players such as Tim Duncan, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Goran Dragic were left out.

Although Boogie and Dragic have both been tremendous, Davis' exclusion might be most difficult to swallow. He's averaging 20.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and a league-high 3.3 blocks on the season, and his athleticism and agility at the frontcourt position would be perfect for a wide-open All-Star game. 

Fortunately for New Orleans fans hoping to see the hometown kid in the game, the New York Post's Tim Bontemps sees Davis as the potential replacement for an injured Kobe Bryant:

The rest of the West is just silly good. 

Chris Paul has been the best point guard in the NBA when healthy, Dirk Nowitzki is so very quietly close to a 50-40-90 campaign, and LaMarcus Aldridge is an MVP candidate in the midst of the best offensive season of his career.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg with Tony Parker, James Harden, Damian Lillard and Dwight Howard rounding out the squad. 

NBA.com's Zach Lowe summed it up best:

 

Eastern Conference

Eastern Conference All-Stars
Starters Player 2013-14 Stats
BC Dwyane Wade 18.7 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.7 RPG, 21.4 PER, .578 TS%
BC Kyrie Irving 21.5 PPG, 6.2 APG, 3.0 RPG, 20.28 PER, .524 TS%
FC LeBron James 26.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 6.4 APG, 28.8 PER, .661 TS%
FC Paul George 23.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.5 APG, 22.10 PER, .580 TS%
FC Carmelo Anthony 27.1 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 3.1 APG, 24.96 PER, .553 TS%
Reserves Player 2013-14 Stats
BC John Wall 19.8 PPG, 8.5 APG, 4.4 RPG, 19.91 PER, .521 TS%
BC DeMar DeRozan 21.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.6 APG, 17.99 PER, .517 TS%
BC Joe Johnson 15.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.8 APG, 14.9 PER, .553 TS%
FC Chris Bosh 16.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 20.55 PER, .612 TS%
FC Roy Hibbert 11.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.5 BPG, 16.52 PER, .521 TS%
FC Joakim Noah 11.7 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 19.09 PER, .518 TS%
FC Paul Millsap 17.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 20.39 PER, .550 TS%

TNT Broadcast

Of course, while the West had to leave out a handful of worthy candidates, the pickings weren't nearly as fruitful over in the East, a conference that features just five squads over .500. 

That doesn't mean there aren't some compelling—and deservingstars on the East bench, though. 

A couple of first-time choices, John Wall and Paul Millsap, headline the group. 

Wall is averaging career highs in points (19.8), assists (8.5) and steals (1.9), and Millsap is producing across the board (17.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.2 blocks per contest) while helping the Atlanta Hawks stay afloat despite injuries to Al Horford and Jeff Teague.

Chris Bosh and Joakim Noah are also in the midst of solid seasons, while DeMar DeRozan is pouring in nearly 22.0 points per contest. 

But then things get a little ugly with Joe Johnson making the squad over Kyle Lowry, which, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, was the closest vote in the East:

That doesn't really make it a better decision, though, as Lowe simply puts it:

Johnson has been solid for the suddenly surging Nets, averaging 15.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists, but there were better choices out there. Most notably Lowry, who out-paces him in each of those categories (16.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 7.6 assists) as well as steals (1.6 per game to 0.6) and PER (20.4 to 14.9).

Lowry has easily been one of the league's best point guards for the 24-21 Raptors, and it's a travesty he's not on the squad. 

 

MVP Prediction

First, let's start with a fact. Since the turn of the century, a player coming off the bench has won All-Star game MVP just twice: Shaquille O'Neal in 2004 when the fans voted Yao Ming in ahead of him, and, once again, Shaquille O'Neal in 2009 when the fans voted Yao Ming in ahead of him. In '09, Shaq shared the award with Kobe Bryant. 

So, it's pretty safe to say it will be a starter, and considering the discrepancy in talent, it's safe to say the winner will be from the West—although the more talented team doesn't always win exhibition games like this. 

Who is your MVP pick?

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It wouldn't be a stretch to see someone like Chris Paul—who was a lock as a starter before suffering an injury—come off the bench and win the award, but for now, we'll assume his minutes will at least be somewhat limited if he plays. 

Not going with Kevin Durant, who is playing on an other-planetary level right now and has made a habit of dropping 30 on a consistent basis in All-Star games, seems a little blasphemous, but I've got my eye on the sharpest shooter in the league.

Stephen Curry

In a fast-paced game that will feature little attention on defense, Curry—who will be intent on putting on a show in his first All-Star game—will thrive. He'll have the open court to display his passing ability and the breathing room—as if he needs any—to jack up as many 30-foot threes as he wants. 

This is going to depend on how many minutes Paul will receive, but a 20-10 or even 30-10 game from Curry doesn't seem out of the question. 

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