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2014 NBA All-Star Game: 24 Likely Players

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Predicting All-Star Teams

Mark D. Smith – USA TODAY Sports

The NBA All-Star Game is still a few weeks away and now that the third return of the ballot has been announced, it seems like a perfect time to predict which players will participate in The association’s classic game held at the midway part of the season.

Each Conference gets to take 12 players into the game and even though the starters for each team are decided by the fans in the annual voting, the reserves are selected by the coaches, so there is still place to have the best teams in the game even if they aren’t picked initially.

It’s worth noticing that the C position is removed from the balloting and since there are two guards and three forwards to choose from, there might be a case where a team doesn’t even have a big man in the starting lineup.

With the Western Conference being stacked on players and quality teams and the Eastern Conference having some of the best players in the league, the game is poised to be very competitive like every year. The stars of the game will gather this year in New Orleans and even though the West could be hampered by several injuries – players like Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul are all injured – there are still quality players on both teams that should give the fans a nice spectacle.

The All-Star weekend features several events, like the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, the Sprite Slam Dunk Challenge and the Taco Bell Skills Challenge – among others – but no one is bigger than the game itself. The premier players in the league will participate in the contest and now it’s time to check which 24 players are the ones most likely to feature for both the West and the East in the All-Star Game on Feb. 16 at the New Orleans Arena.

Juan Pablo Aravena is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @jparavenarant or add him to your network on Google

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West Backcourt - Stephen Curry

Kyle Terada – USA TODAY Sports

The star PG of the Golden State Warriors was the biggest snub last season, but this year he’s on pace to start, as he is the second-highest voted guard in the Western Conference only ahead of Kobe Bryant. He will start and he's expected to put up big numbers during the game

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West Backcourt - James Harden

Troy Taormina - USA TODAY Sports

James Harden isn’t on pace to start based on the voting, but since Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant are likely to miss the game due to injuries, the NBA can choose who can start in their place. Jeremy Lin is the fourth-ranked guard, but he’s not expected to start and since James Harden is currently one of the best SG in the game as of now, expect him to start the contest.

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West Forward - Kevin Durant

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder star leads the Western Conference in votes and he’s a lock to participate in the upcoming All-Star contest. He's the most dominant scorer in the league and he will be one to watch during the game.

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West Forward - Blake Griffin

Richard Mackson – USA TODAY Sports

The high-flying forward from the Los Angeles Clippers is one of the leaders in terms of voting and that’s not expected to change anytime soon, even though Kevin Love is making a strong push for his money. Nonetheless, Blake Griffin is expected to maintain his lead and be one of the big men for the West in New Orleans.

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West Forward - Dwight Howard

Troy Taormina – USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets’ center seems to be back to being the player he was with the Orlando Magic and he is the best center of the West hands down. He is also in the top three in the voting, so he should also start if there are no surprises.

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West Bench - LaMarcus Aldridge

Howard Smith – USA TODAY Sports

LaMarcus Aldridge has been one of the best PF this season and he has been a key component of the surprising Portland Trail Blazers so far. He’s the best player on one of the best teams in the league and that should be enough to guarantee him a spot on the bench.

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West Bench - Damian Lillard

Kelley L. Cox – USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to see Damian Lillard making the All-Star if there weren’t so many injuries – Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Eric Bledsoe are all sidelined and won’t make it into the game – but it can’t be denied that he has played like a star so far. He seems to be a much improved player from his stellar rookie season and he is taking strides towards stardom quickly.

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West Bench - Tony Parker

Jeff Hanisch – USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs as a team are always underrated so it’s no surprise that Tony Parker can also be overlooked among the best guards of the league.

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West Bench - Klay Thompson

Kelley L. Cox – USA TODAY Sports

Klay Thompson seems to be getting better and better after each season and this season will be the one where he will finally take part in the All-Star Game. One of the best shooters in the NBA, he has expanded his game and he’s now one of the better scorers in the Western Conference. He has earned his spot on the bench as well.

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West Bench - Anthony Davis

Casey Sapio – USA TODAY Sports

The future is bright for the New Orleans Pelicans and a big part of that statement is because they have Anthony Davis on their roster. The second-year player has progressed quickly than expected this season and he can already be considered one of the best inside players in the NBA based on his defense and insane offensive potential.

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West Bench - Andre Iguodala

Kyle Terada – USA TODAY Sports

The veteran forward has earned a reputation as a two-way star and his great season with the Golden State Warriors will be enough to give him the nod as a reserve.

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West Bench - Dirk Nowitzki

Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

The German star used to be a lock to be a starter only a few years ago but even though he has lost a step or two with age, he is still one of the most reliable scorers in the game. He’s the star of the Dallas Mavericks this year and he has done enough to participate in yet another All-Star game.

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East Backcourt - Kyrie Irving

David Richard – USA TODAY Sports

‘Uncle Drew’ has continuously improved season after season and he’s one of the top-two guards voted by the fans so he gets the nod to start. Based on quality alone, however, he would easily start anyway as he’s one of the top PGs in the whole league.

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East Backcourt - Dwayne Wade

Rob Foldy – USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat veteran is the other top-voted guard and he has enough merits as he is still one of the premier SGs in the game. He forms a deadly tandem with LeBron James and his presence should ensure plenty of crazy scores and passes between the Heat duo.

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East Forward - Paul George

Mark L. Baer – USA TODAY Sports

Paul George went from being a solid player with a lot of upside to a superstar in only one year and he has seen all this rewarded with one of the highest voting totals, something that will allow him to start.

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East Forward - Carmelo Anthony

Jim O’Connor – USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks’ star might be going through a tough season with the team but Carmelo Anthony has still shown his usual scoring ability leading the team through the struggles. He is one of the most popular players in the NBA and the fans rewarded with one of the highest voting totals in the East.

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East Forward - LeBron James

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

King James is the one leading all players according to the fans and unless he suffers an injury, he will take part in the game and could probably be the starting center in the game. He is the best player in the NBA by a mile and his presence ensures a good amount of high-flying dunks and spectacular plays.

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East Bench - Greg Monroe

Rick Ostentoski – USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons’ center is one of the most technically-gifted big man in the NBA and he has a spot well-earned in the contest. He keeps improving year after year and he can easily be considered a top-five center in the league.

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East Bench - Chris Bosh

Steve Dykes – USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat big man was the starting center in last year’s contest and he will take part in the game once again this season. He is one of the most-recognized players around the NBA and he has enough quality to be an all-star on a yearly basis.

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East Bench - Roy Hibbert

David Richard – USA TODAY Sports

Roy Hibbert is the fourth-voted forward according to the fans and he has been the best center in the Eastern Conference. These two reasons are enough to guarantee him a spot in the bench for the contest.

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East Bench - Joakim Noah

David Richard – USA TODAY Sports

Joakim Noah has been the lone bright spot in a dismal Chicago Bulls’ season and he is still one of the best interior players in the Eastern Conference. Although Brook Lopez and Al Horford could be considered better players, both will be sidelined through injuries and that could open a spot for Noah in the final roster.

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East Bench - John Wall

Derick E. Hingle – USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards’ floor-general has been the best player for the team this season and his distinguished season could land him a spot in the All-Star game. He certainly has the talent to feature in the contest and it seems like this year he’s finally showing an ability to reach the high ceiling most expected him to have.

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East Bench - Deron Williams

Howard Smith – USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets’ guard is one of the best players in the NBA based on talent alone and despite the fact that the Nets haven’t been as good as advertised, Deron Williams can easily get a spot in the bench for the upcoming All-Star game. He’s clearly a great PG and he fully deserves to participate in the game.

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East Bench - Jeff Teague

Anthony Grupusso – USA TODAY Sports

There are several players that could feature in this contest ahead of Jeff Teague – most notably Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo – that are sidelined with injuries but that doesn’t mean that Teague doesn’t deserve to participate in the game. He has playing like a star for the Atlanta Hawks and he has stepped it up even more since Al Horford went down with an injury.