2014 NBA All-Star Game Reserves Predictions

Dylan Pulver

The 2013-2014 NBA season is more than halfway through. The Pacers have rocked the rest of the East, the Blazers have surprised everyone and the Knicks’ abilities continue to magically disappear during games. The feared-and-revered trade deadline is less than a month away, but we have one more important string of events before that time comes: All-Star Weekend 2014. Will Kevin Hart continue his Celebrity Game antics? Will we ever get to see a grizzly white guy win the Three-Point Contest again? Will the fans finally get the Dunk Contest of their dreams? Tune into the various sports channels on the weekend of February 14 to find out. In the meanwhile, the starters for the actual All-Star Game were announced last Thursday. For the East, there’s Kyrie Irving (CLE), Dwayne Wade (MIA), LeBron James (MIA), Paul George (IND) and Carmelo Anthony (NYK). Representing the West, we have Stephen Curry (GSW), Kobe Bryant (LAL), who likely will sit out the game, Kevin Durant (OKC), Blake Griffin (LAC) and Kevin Love (MIN). Without further ado, here are my picks for the 2014 All-Star Game reserves:

Eastern Conference

Guards: John Wall (WAS) – Wall is the undisputed leader of the Washington Wizards. He leads the team in both points and assists by fair margins. This would be Wall’s first All-Star appearance.

DeMar DeRozan (TOR) – DeRozan has been scoring very well on a somewhat good Toronto Raptors squad. He also gets plenty of rebounds, assists and steals on average. This would be DeRozan’s first All-Star appearance.

Frontcourt: Roy Hibbert (IND) – Hibbert is the anchor of the best defensive team and best team overall in the NBA this season. He has one of the best defensive impact ratings in the league and has become famous for his “verticality.” This would be Hibbert’s second All-Star appearance.

Paul Millsap (ATL) – Millsap is putting up great numbers across the board for a solid Atlanta Hawks team that lost its expected leader in center Al Horford earlier in the season. This would be Millsap’s first All-Star appearance.

Chris Bosh (MIA) – Because of how many games Dwyane Wade has missed already, Bosh may deserve an All-Star nod more than Wade. Bosh has been playing like he always has with fair scoring and rebounding averages, but he has also come up in the clutch over the season, especially with a game-winning three-pointer against a very tough Blazers team. This would be Bosh’s ninth All-Star appearance.

Wildcards: Lance Stephenson (IND) – Who would have ever thought that Lance Stephenson should be an All-Star; I guess the man was “born ready.” Stephenson leads the entire NBA in triple-doubles in this season, averages more rebounds than any other guard by, and dishes and scores as well. Without Stephenson’s extra effort this season, who knows if the Pacers would have the best record in the NBA? This would be Stephenson’s first All-Star appearance.

Kyle Lowry (TOR) – Two Raptors All-Stars? I cannot believe it either. Lowry had a stretch of very good games after the Rudy Gay trade that helped the Raptors get over the disappointment hump, and has done a little of everything since. He scores and rebounds quite a bit in addition to exceeding his expectations as a point guard. What more could you ask for? This would be Lowry’s first All-Star appearance.

Close Calls: Al Jefferson (CHA), Arron Afflalo (ORL), Evan Turner (PHI), Joakim Noah (CHI)

Western Conference

Guards: Chris Paul (LAC) – Paul has been injured for a little while, but he should be healthy by the time the game rolls around and without a doubt deserving of a spot. His averages are high in points, assists and steals; he isn’t bad in rebounds either. Even though the Clippers have played pretty well without Paul, they are even better when he takes the court. This would be Paul’s seventh All-Star appearance.

James Harden (HOU) – Harden may not be having as great of a season as he was during 2012-2013, but he still is one of the league leaders in points at 23.7 per game, and great at rebounding and assisting for a shooting guard. This would be Harden’s second All-Star appearance.

     Frontcourt: LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) – This season, Aldridge has been scoring and rebounding like a monster, and has become the MVP of his surprisingly successful Blazers team. This is the year Aldridge has become the most deserving of a spot on the team. This would be Aldridge’s third All-Star appearance.

Dwight Howard (HOU) – After a down season with the Lakers, Howard has been able to thrive in his new setting of Houston. He is averaging a huge double-double with almost two blocks a game as well. This would be Howard’s eighth All-Star appearance.

DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) – Like Aldridge, Cousins has been having a monster season in points and rebounds, and he has also been getting 1-2 steals and blocks per game. Although the Kings are not playing that well overall, Cousins’ outburst of a campaign cannot be ignored. This would be Cousins’ first All-Star appearance.

Wildcards: Tony Parker (SAS) – It is always somewhat hard to pick between Parker and Tim Duncan to represent the high-seeded Spurs at the All-Star Game, but Parker has been the main leader on the court for the once again successful system. Also, there are too many more deserving big men in the West. Parker is still scoring and dishing a lot and still brings “oohs” and “ahhs” out of the fans with his crafty moves. This would be Parker’s sixth All-Star appearance.

Damian Lillard (POR) – Like last season, Lillard has been doing a little of everything for the Blazers, albeit while shooting very well from three-point range and playing three less minutes per game than last season. This would be Lillard’s first All-Star appearance.

Injury Replacement for Kobe Bryant: Anthony Davis (NOR) – It is always nice to have a representative from the home team in the actual All-Star Game, and Davis has done much to deserve a spot on this year’s West team. Davis has made the leap from his spectacular rookie campaign, averaging 20 points per game, 10.5 rebounds per game, and a league-leading 3.1 blocks per game. Like Cousins, the Pelicans have not been playing too well, but that can be blamed on injury more than any lack of effort. This would be Davis’ first All-Star appearance.

Close Calls: Dirk Nowitzki (DAL), Goran Dragic (PHO), Tim Duncan (SAS), David Lee (GSW)

Contact Dylan Pulver at [email protected]