2014 NBA All-Star Rosters set – 7 First-Time Players make Cut

lamarcus-aldridge-all-star-gameThe 2014 NBA All-Star reserves were recently announced, which means that we now have complete teams to discuss. In all, seven players received their first ever All-Star selection, with Stephen Curry both getting his first nod and a starting role thanks to the fan vote.

Other first-time players who’ll be joining Curry on the Western Conference team include LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis. The latter will be taking Kobe Bryant’s place on the team since he’s injured and can’t play. Lillard is not only playing in his first All-Star game, but also competing in four other contests over the weekend. As for Aldridge, he’s not only a first-time All-Star, but also a legitimate MVP candidate this year.

Moving to the Eastern Conference, first-time selections include DeMar DeRozan, Paul Millsap and John Wall. Now in his fifth year, DeRozan really seems to have stepped his game up while averaging 22 PPG and leading Toronto to the top of the Atlantic Division. Millsap, who’s spent most of his career in the West, seems to be enjoying his change of scenery in Atlanta. And Wall has now reached the potential that everybody predicted for him coming out of Kentucky.

Now that we’ve covered the first-timers in the 2014 NBA All-Star game, let’s take a quick look at the complete rosters, with stats included.

* = Starter
+ = Injured player

Eastern Conference All-Stars

* F Carmelo Anthony, New York – 27.3 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 3.0 APG
* F Paul George, Indiana – 22.7 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.4 APG
* F LeBron James, Miami – 26.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 6.6 APG
* G Kyrie Irving, Cleveland – 21.4 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 6.4 APG
* G Dwayne Wade, Miami – 18.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.7 APG
F/C Chris Bosh, Miami – 16.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.1 APG
G DeMar DeRozan, Toronto – 22.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.8 APG
C Roy Hibbert, Indiana – 12.2 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.1 APG
G Joe Johnson, Nets – 15.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.7 APG
F Paul Millsap, Atlanta – 17.7 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.9 APG
C Joakim Noah, Chicago – 11.5 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 4.2 APG
G John Wall, Washington – 20.0 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 8.5 APG

Western Conference

* F Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City – 31.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 5.3 APG
* F Blake Griffin, LA Clippers – 23.7 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.5 APG
* F Kevin Love, Minnesota – 25.6 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 4.0 APG
*+ G Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers – 13.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 6.3 APG
* Stephen Curry, Golden State – 24.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 9.1 APG
F/C LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland – 24.1 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 2.8 APG
F/C Anthony Davis, New Orleans – 20.7 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.4 APG
G James Harden, Houston – 23.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.4 APG
C Dwight Howard, Houston – 18.6 PPG, 12.4 RPG, 1.7 APG
G Damian Lillard, Portland – 20.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 5.8 APG
F Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas – 21.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.8 APG
G Tony Parker, San Antonio – 18.1 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 6.3 APG
G Chris Paul, LA Clippers – 19.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 11.2 APG

Kevin Durant: The Obvious MVP Choice in 2014

kevin-durant-mvpThere are several players who have made legitimate cases for the Most Valuable Player award this season.

There is of course reigning MVP and two-time defending NBA champion LeBron James, who’s averaging 26.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 6.5 APG. There’s LaMarcus Aldridge, who’s helped Portland climb to the West’s third seed amid averaging 24.3 PPG and 11.6 RPG. Then there is Blake Griffin, who has carried the Clippers in the absence of Chris Paul with 23.3 PPG and 9.7 RPG. And we can’t leave Paul George out of this discussion either since he’s got the Pacers atop the East on the strength of his 22.7 PPG and 6.4 RPG. But as good as these guys have been, none of them come even close to Kevin Durant this season.

An easy place place to start here is the numbers. Durant is averaging 31.1 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 5.3 APG and 1.5 SPG. What’s particularly impressive about Durant’s scoring average is how efficient he’s been, shooting 41.3% from the three-point line and 51.2% overall.

kevin-durantLooking past the numbers, you can also point to what Durant has helped his team do. Currently, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the league’s best overall record at 39-11. Sure, this is only a game better than Indiana, but the way Oklahoma is playing, there’s little reason to believe that they won’t stay in their lofty position. Assuming this does indeed happen, there’s little reason to give anybody else the 2014 NBA MVP award.

Of course, you can never count out a champion. And this is exactly the case that LeBron is still trying to make. His Heat maintain a very respectable 34-13 record, which is 4.5 games behind the Thunder. But the rebuttal to this is that Durant’s averaging more points, rebounds, steals and blocks than James – plus his team’s record is better.

Now does this mean Oklahoma City will go on to win the NBA title? The Pacers, Heat and Spurs will definitely have something to say about this. But if everything stays on the same course, Durant can at least be sure of winning his first career MVP award.