Taking a few liberties with the immortal words of the late Pete Seeger, who died this week:
To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven
A time to become an All-Star, a time to fade away
When Tim Duncan played in his first NBA All-Star Game back in 1998, John Wall and Damian Lillard were 7 years old. DeMar DeRozan was eight. Paul Millsap was 13.
Now, as the Spurs veteran was left off the All-Star team for only the third time in his career, the quartet of newcomers will be making their All-Star debuts a in New Orleans. If it’s the end of the All-Star line for the 37-year-old Duncan, his 14 appearances will leave him in fifth place behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19), Kobe Bryant (16), Shaquille O’Neal (15) and Kevin Garnett (15).
A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
Chris Bosh once again joined teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the East team, making the defending NBA champion Heat the only team with three players on the All-Star rosters. A poll of the league’s head coaches added seven reserves, announced Thursday night on TNT, to each team.
Roy Hibbert of the league-leading Pacers joined teammate Paul George. DeRozan, Millsap and Wall were added along with Joe Johnson of the Nets and Joakim Noah of the Bulls.
In the Western Conference, the Clippers, Trail Blazers and Rockets had multiple All-Stars selected. With Blake Griffin voted in as a starter by the fans, the coaches added the Clippers’ Chris Paul for one tandem. Lillard joins Portland teammate LaMarcus Aldridge to make another. And Houston’s one-two punch of Dwight Howard and James Harden made it as reserves. Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks and Tony Parker of the Spurs complete the West roster.
The 63rd NBA All-Star Game will be televised on TNT from New Orleans Arena on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014. The All-Star Game, also broadcast live on ESPN Radio, will reach fans in 215 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.
DeMar DeRozan (Ron Turenne/NBAE)
Chris Bosh, Heat — As the condition of Wade’s knees makes the “three-peat” chances seem wobbly, the unheralded and under-appreciated Bosh is recognized by the coaches for sacrificing individual glory for wins. | Highlights
DeMar DeRozan, Raptors — The 24-year-old has made steady progress over five pro seasons to transform himself from flamboyant dunker to all-around player and a real team leader as the Raptors become a legitimate playoff contender in the East. | Highlights
Roy Hibbert, Pacers — In a gimmick-less world without the plain silly frontcourt-backcourt voting, there’d be a place for a traditional low-post center in the starting lineup. Hibbert, the beast of the East and Pacers’ anchor, would be it. | Highlights
Joe Johnson, Nets — As teammate Kevin Garnett says, “Joe Jesus” might not be there when you call on him, but he’s there when you need him. The seven-time All-Star has hit big, big shots as part of the Nets’ turnaround since New Year’s Day. | Highlights
Paul Millsap, Hawks — After all those years toiling in the obscurity of Utah, Millsap has proven to be the best free-agent purchase of the summer of 2013 and has kept the surprising Hawks in the thick of the playoff race after the loss of Al Horford. | Highlights
Joakim Noah, Bulls — His relentless, frantic, never-quit-on-a-loose-ball attitude and effect on his Bulls’ teammates can hardly be defined by numbers. But they’re not shabby either — 11.7 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 blocks per game. | Highlights
John Wall, Wizards — His team is up and down, in and out, always seems ready to disappoint. But he’s been the best point guard in the Eastern Conference this season and the best reason to watch the Wizards play. | Highlights
The lowdown — Based on his play over the last month, it would seem that Kyle Lowry has reason to cry injustice the loudest in an Eastern Conference that has not exactly been a Milky Way of stars. The guess is the coaches looked at the makeup of the overall roster and decided that it was hard to justify the Raptors getting a second star when the league leading Pacers could manage only two themselves. Which brings up another snub — Lance Stephenson. The former hot-and-cold wing man has done a great deal to make himself a more consistent player on a nightly basis. It’s quite possible that in late May or early June his omission could look extra foolish if he makes the difference in taking down the Heat. You have to figure that a simple look at the standings, where the Pistons are playing just .400 ball, worked against Andre Drummond. And no, Anderson Varejao and Luol Deng of the hapless Cavs, once the fans voted Kyrie Irving in as a starter, you didn’t stand a chance, either.
LaMarcus Aldridge, Trail Blazers — Making a third straight All-Star team wasn’t enough. Now Aldridge has pushed himself into the MVP conversation with an even higher level of play and lifted the Blazers into contention for No. 1 seed in the West. | Highlights
James Harden, Rockets — His numbers are slightly down with the addition of Howard into the mix, but The Beard is still virtually unstoppable going to the basket and as good a late-game closer as there is in the game. | Highlights
Dwight Howard, Rockets — Another victim of the “no center” designation, he’s healthy, happy and oh-so-glad he’s no longer in L.A. Despite critiques by Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal, Howard is the NBA’s top big man. | Highlights
Dik Nowitzki (David Liam Kyle/NBAE)
Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers — How do you pack talent and confidence — cockiness? — so big into such a little package? The 2013 Rookie of the Year will play in his first All-Star Game. Don’t think for a moment he’ll be shy. | Highlights
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks — After knee problems last season ended his 11-year run, the 35-year-old has returned to his old form and to make it an even dozen All-Star appearances. He looks like he could motor on like a vintage Mercedes forever. | Highlights
Tony Parker, Spurs — Teammates around him keep dropping like flies — Tiago Splitter, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili — and the league’s most under-appreciated point guard shoulders the burden and keeps pushing the Spurs forward. | Highlights
Chris Paul, Clippers — CP3 says he might be recovered from a separated shoulder in time to play in the All-Star Game and defend his MVP award from last year in Houston, then give his Clippers momentum down the stretch into the playoffs. | Highlights
The lowdown: The last time the All-Star Game was played in New Orleans in 2008, the Hornets had a pair of players in the West lineup with Paul and David West. Of course, that team was on its way to 56 wins and the No. 2 seed. Six years later, New Orleans’ Pelicans are struggling. That’s likely the main reason that hometown star Anthony Davis wasn’t rewarded by the coaches. In an era when centers don’t get much respect, that probably cost DeMarcus Cousins a spot, too. You could also make a good case for Warriors forward David Lee and the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan. However, it says here that the biggest snub went to Goran Dragic, who has been the leader of the offense and the steadying force for the Suns, who are nothing less than the surprise of the league. But it’s tough to be a guard in the West. Just ask Mike Conley and Monta Ellis. And just think of how much tougher the backcourt competition would have been if Russell Westbrook were healthy.