10 NBA Players Who Could Become First-Time All-Stars in 2014

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NBA Players Who Could Become First-Time All-Stars

First-Time All Stars
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

For young NBA players, it is difficult to break into the top tier of talent in the league. It is even more difficult to overtake the star power of some of the veterans in the league that have been at the top of the game for over a decade. Veterans like Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker continue to play at a high level, even if their numbers have dropped off.

Those four players are future Hall of Famers and fan favorites across the league. That is why they usually are at the top of the voting during the balloting and annually are in the All-Star game.

While those crop of players continue to decline, their is a group of emerging talent ready to take their spots. There is also a few veterans who are having career years and may be in a position to make the only All-Star game of their career. Players like Anthony Mason, Sam Cassell, Chris Kaman and Jameer Nelson know what it is like to have the best year of their career and be rewarded with their only visit to the All-Star game.

Other players like Lamar Odom, Toni Kukoc, Rod Strickland and Mike Bibby know what it is like to be a model of consistency, but never appear in the game. For young players, it seems like if you don't establish yourself as an All-Star early on, you may never get to the game. For these 10 players, this may be the year where they break through and become NBA All-Stars.

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10. DeMar DeRozan

DeRozan
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

DeMar DeRozan is second amongst all qualifying shooting guards in points per game trailing only James Harden. His 21.2 points per game are a career-high, but he is only shooting 42 percent from the field.

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9. Arron Afflalo

Afflalo
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Arron Afflalo trails only DeMar DeRozan in points per game for qualifying shooting guards in the East. He has improved his points per game every season during his seven year career and is up to 21.0 points per game this season. He is shooting 47.2 percent from the field, but numbers are inflated because he plays for such a bad team. He is one of those veterans that has always been overlooked, but is having a career year.

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8. Ty Lawson

Lawson
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

It has never been a question as to the talent of Ty Lawson. The only question is who do you leave off in the Western Conference? With Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard, it is difficult to find a spot for Lawson. Both Paul and Westbrook are injured and Parker is having a down year by his standards. This may leave the door open for Lawson and his 17.8 points and 8.4 assists per game to sneak into the All-Star Game.

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7. Chandler Parsons

Parsons
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets are reluctant to take on any big contracts because they know they will have to pat Chandler Parson's next season. He is averaging 17.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game as the third option in Houston. He is the perfect compliment to James Harden and Dwight Howard because he doesn't force shots and allows them to be the go-to guys on offense. He is also shooting nearly 52 percent from the field and 38 percent from three.

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6. Nikola Pekovic

Pekovic
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

There are very few true centers left in the NBA. Nikola Pekovic may be the best low post scorer out of all of them and if not for Kevin Love, he could lead the league in rebounds. He is averaging 17.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game while shooting 52.1 percent from the field. The only center that is scoring more than him is DeMarcus Cousins, but Pekovic has a superstar on his team, while Cousins is the best player on his.

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5. John Wall

Wall
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

If you are a young point guard in the Eastern Conference, this is your year to get into the All-Star Game. With Rajon Rondo not playing a game so far, Derrick Rose out for the year again and Deron Williams in and out of the lineup, the main stays will not be in the game. Kyrie Irving is the favorite to get one of the spots, but John Wall is just as deserving. The former No. 1 overall pick is averaging 19.7 points and 8.7 assist per game and has the Washington Wizards sitting at the No. 5 playoff spot in the East.

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4. Andre Drummond

Drummond
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The potential is starting to show results for Andre Drummond. He is averaging 12.8 points and 12.7 rebounds, along with 1.6 blocks and 1.4 steals per game for the Detroit Pistons. He leads the Eastern Conference in field goal percentage at 60.5 and has outplayed Roy Hibbert and Joakim Noah all season long. With Al Horford out for the year, he deserves to not only be in the All Star Game, but potentially start at center.

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3. Damian Lillard

Lillard
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Portland has been the most surprising team in the NBA this year and the reason why is because of the play of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard. Lillard has been the second best point guard in the NBA all season long and is averaging 21.6 points and 5.7 assists per game. The assist numbers may keep him out of the game, since that is the statistic most people look at for point guards, but his play all year should get him in.

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2. DeMarcus Cousins

Cousins
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

DeMarcus Cousins is the best center in the NBA and it may not be close. He is averaging 23.5 points per game, which is nearly six more than any other center. He is also averaging nearly 12 rebounds per game and is one of the best passers at the position with three assists per game. He has proven to be more mature this year and is the leader of the Sacramento Kings. They are now building around him by acquiring Derrick Williams and Rudy Gay, which shows how much he has improved over the last few years.

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1. Stephen Curry

Curry
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

After being the biggest snub in the All Star Game last year, Stephen Curry has erased any doubts that he belongs in that top tier of point guards. He is the best pure shooter in the league and leads all point guards by averaging 23.1 points per game. He is second in the NBA in assists per game at 9.4, trailing only the injured Chris Paul. The Golden State Warriors are up to sixth in the West and have struggled without him on the court. He will not only be an All-Star this year, but is a top five candidate for MVP.

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