The NBA All-Star Game is all about star power. It's a chance for fans to witness LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Blake Griffin, among many other fan favorites, all on the court at the same time to light up the scoreboard.
However, it's also a chance for the next wave of superstars to take center stage.
The tendency is often for those younger players to steal the spotlight because the experience is still fresh for them and they want to prove that they belong alongside the likes of James and Durant.
With that in mind, let's check out three rising stars likely to make their presence felt in a major way during this year's All-Star Game. While they are all making their first or second appearance, there should be plenty more on the horizon for all three.
The legendary Wilt Chamberlain holds the record for most points in an All-Star Game with 42. Don't be surprised if Curry makes a run at that figure at some point in his career because the style of play is perfect for a pure scorer like the Golden State Warriors guard.
It could even happen this year.
By his shooting standards, he went through a lull in November and December. He shot below 45 percent from the floor and 40 percent from beyond the arc. He started to heat back up in January, though, and has been back to his usual self this month leading up to the All-Star break.
That includes a 34-point outburst against the Chicago Bulls. As illustrated by NBA Stats, he was red-hot from all over the floor:
As a starter, he should log a lot of minutes and get a chance next to the league's premier distributor in Chris Paul. Watch out if he's able to find his shooting stroke early in the first quarter because the potential is always there for him to post a huge point total.
Irving's overall numbers are down slightly from last season, but when you consider the lack of talent around him on the Cleveland Cavaliers, what he's accomplishing remains extremely impressive.
Getting a chance to play with a group of stars at the All-Star Game should allow him to shine.
Aside from making the trip to New Orleans, the other reason he's been a hot topic of conversation lately is speculation about his future. Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports that the point guard downplayed all the talk by saying he expects to remain in Cleveland for a long time:
It's not about me and it's not about this controversy—"Do I privately want out when my contract is up?" I'm still in my rookie contract and I'm happy to be here. And I'm pretty sure I'm going to be here for a long time.
Only time will tell if that ends up being true. In the meantime, Irving should enjoy dishing passes to the dynamic scoring trio of James, Anthony and Paul George. It should make for a terrific stat line across the board for the 21-year-old Duke product.
Even though the fans made it clear they wanted to see Kobe Bryant in the All-Star Game despite playing only six games this season, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar was forced to back out due to a knee injury. This opened the door for Davis to make his All-Star debut.
The second-year New Orleans Pelicans forward, who ranks fifth in the NBA in player efficiency rating, probably deserved a spot as a starter or reserve to begin with.
Nevertheless, he made the team in the end and that's all that really matters.
It's unclear how much playing time he'll get on a West squad with plenty of power forward depth. Assuming he gets a good amount of court time, his athleticism should be on full display down low on both ends of the court—especially when few other players are giving 100 percent on the defensive side.
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