NBA

2014 NBA All-Star Game: 10 Biggest Snubs from Starters

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2014 NBA All-Star Game: 10 Biggest Snubs from Starters

2014 NBA All-Star Game: 10 Biggest Snubs from Starters
Sam Forencich - Getty Images

The 2014 NBA All-Star Game now sits just three weeks away and, now that the starters have been announced, all that keeps us from the game is time and the announcement of the reserves. The reserves for each conference, a unit picked by the coaches for each team (Frank Vogel for the East and Terry Stotts for the West), will be announced in the upcoming week.

Looking at the 10 starters for each conference that we do know, though, there are certainly some bones to pick and formalities to get out of the way. There’s about a 95 percent chance that Kobe Bryant will have to be replaced as a starter in the West’s backcourt and there’s also the possibility that Dwyane Wade could need to be replaced as well depending on how his knee is holding up.

Because of the at least one replacement that will be made, someone who had a solid case to be voted as a starter in the first place will likely have the chance to get that starting nod. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone who had a case to be a starter will get that opportunity. In short, there are always going to be snubs.

With all of the young talent around the league and the performances that a multitude of players have put forth this season, there seems to be more legitimate candidates for a starting spot in the All-Star Game than normal. More players have done enough this season to warrant that kind of recognition. Most of them will likely still end up on the team as reserves, but in terms of the starters for the All-Star Game, here are the 10 biggest snubs.

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10. Lance Stephenson - Indiana Pacers

10. Lance Stephenson - Indiana Pacers
Brian Spurlock - USA Today Sports Images

Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson may have the weakest case on this list to be a starter, despite a terrific campaign on YouTube, but he’s still been fantastic for the Pacers in his contributions. Stephenson has consistently filled the box score, averaging 14 points, 6.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 0.7 steals in 35.5 minutes per game while maintaining terrific 49.1 percent shooting. More than any of that, though, Born Ready is pure entertainment. Based on all of that, Stephenson did have a case—even if it’s somewhat lacking—to be a starter.

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9. Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers

9. Damian Lillard - Portland Trail Blazers
Craig Mitchelldyer - USA Today Sports Images

In his second season with the Portland Trail Blazers, point guard Damian Lillard has continued the success that he enjoyed in his Rookie of the Year campaign last year. In 43 games, he’s averaging 21 points, 5.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds. He’s shooting just 42.2 percent from the floor, but is hitting 42.4 percent of his attempts from three. More than that, he’s been a catalyst for the Blazers surprising and prolific start to the season.

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8. James Harden - Houston Rockets

8. James Harden - Houston Rockets
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James Harden hasn’t been quite as great as he was in his first season with the Houston Rockets, he’s still been a highly productive player. Shooting 44.4 percent from the floor, Harden has averaged 23.9 points, 5.6 assists and 4.9 boards per game. While his three-point percentage has dipped to 32.6 percent, he’s still been a big part in helping this team succeed with the addition of Dwight Howard (we’ll get there, don’t worry).

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7. DeMarcus Cousins - Sacramento Kings

7. DeMarcus Cousins - Sacramento Kings
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While the biggest knock on DeMarcus Cousins is the fact that the Sacramento Kings haven’t been successful at all this season. Individually, though, Cousins has been fantastic and has had the best year of his career as he’s averaging 22.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, three assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.8 steals in 32 minutes per game while shooting 48.8 percent from the floor. He’s shown effort and leadership more than we’ve ever seen from him and he’s been the main cause of most of their success this year. I’d bet he’ll have more chances to become an All-Star starter, but there was a case this season.

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6. Chris Paul - Los Angeles Clippers

6. Chris Paul - Los Angeles Clippers
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Obviously Chris Paul’s shoulder injury hurt his candidacy as a starter for the All-Star game, but his body of work prior the injury seems like more than enough to still make a strong case. In 34 games, Paul has averaged 19.6 points, 11.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game while shooting 46.4 percent from the floor and 35.6 percent from three. I can understand why you wouldn’t vote him in, but he’s done more than enough when he’s been on the floor.

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5. Anthony Davis - New Orleans Pelicans

5. Anthony Davis - New Orleans Pelicans
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In his second season in the league, Anthony Davis has realized his potential as a star in this league quicker than anyone could have expected. Even being out with a broken hand for a bit hasn’t slowed Davis down. In 35 games, the big man has averaged 20 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals, three blocks and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 51.8 percent from the floor. Davis has a bright future and it’d be a shock if he’s not made a reserve, but he could have been a reserve.

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4. Dwight Howard - Houston Rockets

4. Dwight Howard - Houston Rockets
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Since coming to the Rockets, Dwight Howard has shown new life. Averaging 18.1 points, 12.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.8 blocks and 0.9 steals per game on 58.2 percent shooting. He’s still not been the dominant force in the game like he was a few years ago, but he’s been good enough to warrant consideration as an All-Star starter.

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3. John Wall – Washington Wizards

3. John Wall – Washington Wizards
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John Wall evoked the most ire of anyone when it comes to fans, with many saying that he belonged more than Kyrie Irving in the starting lineup for the East. Their stats are similar this season, with Wall averaging 20.1 points, 8.6 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game. He’s shooting just 42.6 percent from the floor, but he’s been the most consistent force for the Washington Wizards. I’m sure he’ll get selected as a reserve, but you can definitely argue he belonged more than Irving.

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2. Roy Hibbert - Indiana Pacers

2. Roy Hibbert - Indiana Pacers
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With no centers among the 10 starters for the All-Star Game, Roy Hibbert of the Pacers has the best case to be a starter as a center. In 42 games, Hibbert has averaged 12 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 30.5 minutes per game. Hibbert has been the dominant force in the post for the best team in the league and one of their leaders. It’s hard to see him not get the nod as a starter, but it’s also hard to pick who he’d make it in over.

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1. LaMarcus Aldridge - Portland Trail Blazers

1. LaMarcus Aldridge - Portland Trail Blazers
Craig Mitchelldyer - USA Today Sports Images

LaMarcus Aldridge probably should have been a starter. While I believe that Kevin Love and Blake Griffin deserved their All-Star starter nod, Aldridge has been just as good or better on a better team than either of those two guys. For the year, Aldridge is putting up 24.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists, one block and 0.9 steals per game while shooting 47.7 percent from the field. He’s been the leader for this Blazers team and that probably should have been rewarded.