NBA

NBA All-Star Roster 2014: Highlighting Best Potential 1-on-1 Matchups

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20: LeBron James #6 of the Eastern Conference All-Stars stands with Kevin Durant #35 of the Western Conference All-Stars during the 2011 NBA All-Star Game on February 20, 2011 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2011 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images
Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJanuary 31, 2014

One of the great aspects of the NBA All-Star Game is the opportunity it lends us to watch the game's greats wage in a few one-on-one battles. 

The All-Star Game always offers up some entertaining team play while also allowing for certain matchups to steal the spotlight on a few possessions.

Although there are plenty of isolation plays to be found in any regular-season NBA game, it's nothing like it is in this exhibition contest. There are bound to be possessions that are essentially just a one-on-one matchup. 

Have a look at the rosters for this game, and then I'll highlight the possible matchups I'm most looking forward to. 

 

When: Sunday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET

Watch: TNT 

Live Stream: TNT Overtime

 

Rosters 

Eastern Conference All-Stars
StartersPlayer2013-14 Stats
BCDwyane Wade18.4 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.7 RPG, 21.4 PER, .578 TS%
BCKyrie Irving21.6 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.1 RPG, 20.28 PER, .521 TS%
FCLeBron James26.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 6.4 APG, 28.8 PER, .661 TS%
FCPaul George23.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.5 APG, 22.10 PER, .575 TS%
FCCarmelo Anthony27.2 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 3.0 APG, 24.96 PER, .555 TS%
ReservesPlayer2013-14 Stats
BCJohn Wall19.8 PPG, 8.5 APG, 4.4 RPG, 19.91 PER, .521 TS%
BCDeMar DeRozan21.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.6 APG, 17.99 PER, .517 TS%
BCJoe Johnson15.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.8 RPG, 14.98 PER, .553 TS%
FCChris Bosh16.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 20.55 PER, .612 TS%
FCRoy Hibbert11.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.5 BPG, 16.52 PER, .524 TS%
FCJoakim Noah11.7 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 19.09 PER, .518 TS%
FCPaul Millsap17.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 20.39 PER, .550 TS%
Western Conference All-Stars
StartersPlayer2013-14 Stats
BCStephen Curry24.0 PPG, 9.1 APG, 4.5 RPG, 23.0 PER, .585 TS%
BCKobe Bryant13.8 PPG, 6.3 APG, 4.3 RPG, 11.3 PER .505 TS%
FCKevin Durant31.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 5.2 APG, 31.17 PER, .645 TS%
FCBlake Griffin23.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 3.4 APG, 22.97 PER, .584 TS%
FCKevin Love25.0 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 4.1 APG, 26.89 PER, .583 TS%
ReservesPlayer2013-14 Stats
BCChris Paul19.6 PPG, 11.2 APG, 4.6 RPG, 27.47 PER, .578 TS%
BCDamian Lillard20.6 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.5 RPG, 18.87 PER, .571 TS%
BCTony Parker18.1 PPG, 6.2 APG, 2.4 RPG, 20.12 PER, .571 TS%
BCJames Harden23.7 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.9 RPG, 21.12 PER, .593 TS%
FCLaMarcus Aldridge24.3 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, 23.30 PER, .518 TS%
FCDirk Nowitzki21.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 23.9 PER, .589 TS%
FCDwight Howard18.1 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 21.12 PER, .581 TS%

 

Highlighted Matchups

Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  LeBron James #6 of the Eastern Conference All-Stars shoots against Kevin Durant #35 of the Western Conference All-Stars during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game presented by Kia Motors as part of 2012 All-Star Weekend at the Amway Cen
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

The two best players in the NBA both do a wonderful job of involving their teammates.

So, although there have been some classic showdowns between these two in games that come with their full-time teams, the one-on-one matchup doesn't always materialize

It will materialize in this exhibition game.

Both Durant and James will spent a lot of time with the ball in their hands, and I imagine even the other players on the court won't mind fixing their gaze onto the two superstars for a showdown.

What I'm most curious to see is the intensity that James will bring. The Oklahoma City Thunder just trounced James' Miami Heat. Also, with Durant dumping in 30 or more points every night, KD is quickly becoming the popular choice for this year's MVP award. 

 

Paul George vs. Kevin Durant

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - DECEMBER 08:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball against Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers during an NBA game on December 8, 2013 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER:
Layne Murdoch Jr./Getty Images

The hype around the Durant-James rivalry is certainly understandable, but in the end, it may be this one that defines the season.

Paul George has led the Indiana Pacers to the East's best record with a spectacular brand of defense and offense.

The National Post's Eric Koreen named Durant the league's most valuable player for the first half of the season and George the most improved. This is a bit odd for George considering he won the award last year, but Koreen explains: 

George won this award last year, but he has gone from all-star to superstar this year—his scoring and efficiency have improved dramatically, while he remains one of the league’s elite perimeter defenders. Several other players have become valuable rotation pieces or starters out of nowhere, but nobody’s ascent is more important for this year’s title chase than George’s.

I believe George has the best shot of slowing down Durant in a one-on-one setting, and I want several possessions in the upcoming exhibition game to put that match on display. 

Also, I want to see George try to back up this statement:

 

Roy Hibbert vs. LaMarcus Aldridge

PORTLAND, OR - DECEMBER 2: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots against Roy Hibbert #55 of the Indiana Pacers on December 2, 2013 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that
Sam Forencich/Getty Images

Hey, look! There are big men in this game, too. That is not something you can tell by looking at the starters. 

For my money, these two reserves were the biggest starting-lineup snubs. 

Hibbert is the defensive heart of a Pacers defense that has the chance to be historically good. He is a monster around the rim and makes the job of perimeter defenders infinitely easier knowing he has their back. 

Then there is LaMarcus Aldridge. 

The Portland Trail Blazer is averaging 24.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and one block with a PER of 23.3 for the season. He has also led the Blazers to the third-best record in the Western Conference.

It's hard to say how much time Hibbert and Aldridge will spend matched up against each other. Aldridge would be a strong option for the West at center to try to pull Hibbert out from under the basket.

In the end, I look for both players to come out determined to prove they belonged with the starters. 

This will create for a fun battle on the boards and everywhere else on the court. 

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