The 2014 NBA All-Star Game is a little over a couple of weeks away, and after the reserves were announced on Thursday night, fans now have the full picture of who will be traveling to New Orleans.
Here are the starting fives for both the Eastern and Western Conferences, per Bleacher Report NBA:
The eastern conference All-Star starters! pic.twitter.com/AioSFzIu69— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 24, 2014
The western conference All-Star starters! pic.twitter.com/6TZGdB8WxV— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 24, 2014
These 14 players are the All-Star reserves, per B/R:
All-Star reserves for both the Eastern and Western Conference. pic.twitter.com/uXuIv06wQM— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 31, 2014
Since it's an All-Star Game, there won't be any scrubs on the court. All of the players are immensely talented.
That doesn't mean that each player will be providing the same kind of bang for the buck. Exhibitions like these are great showcases for players like Roy Hibbert, Joakim Noah and Dwight Howard. Instead, it's the smaller, more agile stars who provide the bulk of the highlights.
You know, players like these:
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Kyrie Irving, like the Cleveland Cavaliers as a whole, has been a major disappointment this season. Yet, in what is a weak pool of candidates in the Eastern Conference, he was good enough to be named a starter in the All-Star Game.
Although his All-Star credentials are debatable, there's little doubt that, when he steps on the court, he could put on a show in New Orleans.
Irving is the kind of player built for games like this, between his dribbling and ability to cut to the basket.
Don't forget about those two performances in the Rising Stars Challenges in which he nearly broke Brandon Knight's ankles and knocked down three-pointer after three-pointer.
This is one of the few times this year that Irving will have fun on a basketball court, so he should make the most of it.
Paul George, Indiana Pacers
The only bad thing here is that Paul George may have played his hand with that ridiculous 360 windmill dunk. Does he have anything left that could possibly top that in the All-Star Game?
Even if he doesn't, George should put on a show for the fans. He's a great dunker and a good enough three-point shooter that if he gets into a groove he could light up the box score.
In last year's All-Star Game, the Indiana Pacers star had 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Those are good numbers, but he should easily better them this year. He's become one of the league's best players, so he'll get a little more deference on the court from his teammates.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
(See Irving, Kyrie)
Earlier in the season, Irving and Damian Lillard were vying to determine who was the best young point guard in the league. Given the Cavs' struggles and the rise of the Portland Trail Blazers, it's hard not to give Lillard the edge.
The 23-year-old remained humble on Twitter after it was announced he was a reserve for the West:
Wow... Thankful— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) January 31, 2014
Of course, Lillard is anything but humble on the court, averaging 20.7 points and 5.6 assists a game. He wants the ball with the game on the line and isn't afraid to fire from long range.
Like Irving, Lillard should dazzle fans with his ball-handling skills, and he has the chance to go off should he get hot from behind the arc.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
It doesn't matter what the situation or circumstances are, I could watch Kevin Durant on a basketball court all day long.
There may still be a debate as to who is the better player between him and LeBron James, but nobody can argue which of the two is playing better at the moment.
Durant's gone 12 games in a row with 30-plus points, which includes his 54-point showing against the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 17, per NBC Sports Network:
SB Nation came up with a nice visual to describe his recent run of games:
Wow, Kevin Durant's January statsheet gets more impressive with every game: pic.twitter.com/SeVVEMYHAn— SB Nation (@sbnation) January 30, 2014
Over his four All-Star Game appearances, Durant has averaged 28.7 points a game, and in three of the four games, he's eclipsed 30 points.
So when Feb. 16 rolls around, just sit back and enjoy one of the best players in the world at the peak of his powers.