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Love, Curry, Kobe All-Star starters

It will be a contest for the young -- and, in a couple of cases, the old -- when the 2014 All-Star Game tips off in New Orleans on Feb. 16. Or it could be, if everyone is healthy by then. The starters have been unveiled, with four first-time starters -- the Western Conference's Stephen Curry and Kevin Love and the Eastern Conference's Paul George and Kyrie Irving -- joining regulars such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and, yes, Kobe Bryant. (Blake Griffin was the other.) Wade and, especially, Bryant earned votes despite fighting through injuries this season. Who didn't deserve the call? Who did but must wait until next Thursday, when the reserves are announced? Cast your votes below!

  • Which would win a game of five-on-five (with all healthy)?

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  • Which All-Star starter was the weakest choice?

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  • Who was the biggest All-Star starter snub?

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  • Who should start the All-Star Game in Kobe Bryant's absence?

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  • Which first-time starter will have the best NBA career?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 34,545)

  • In general, what grade would you give the fans in selecting the 2014 All-Star Game starters?

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LeBron James' uncertain future?

All LeBron James wanted to do was to wish Dwyane Wade a happy birthday, but because everything LeBron does is subject to scrutiny normally reserved for graduate dissertations, we're talking about whether he'll stick around next year. LeBron's message to Wade was pretty standard for a birthday card, save for the last sentence, where LeBron said, "No matter what happens in the future we stuck together like brothers for life." That reference to the future has many wondering whether LeBron is setting the stage for an exit from Miami this offseason, perhaps to return to Cleveland or try his luck in Los Angeles. Or, he could be merely referencing the folly of trying to predict the future. We'd believe either explanation, to be totally honest.

Which team will LeBron James be playing for next season?

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  • What do you make of LeBron James' reference to "no matter what happens in the future" in his birthday message to Dwyane Wade?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 10,425)

  • Which team would be the best fit for LeBron James if he became a free agent after this season?

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  • If you were a Cavaliers fan, would you want LeBron James to come back to Cleveland?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 9,878)

  • Would you fault LeBron James if he signed with a team other than the Heat after the 2014 season?

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      22%
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      78%

    Discuss (Total votes: 9,809)

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Should Heat fans be worried?

Don't get us wrong: Indiana Pacers versus Miami Heat still seems an inevitable Eastern Conference finals matchup. Still, the latter -- you know, the team that has won two straight NBA championships -- doesn't look so hot these days. After back-to-back losses to the Knicks and Nets, Miami was outscored 43-18 in the first quarter Wednesday at the Washington Wizards en route to a 114-97 defeat. And you can't blame injuries; the Big Three played, with Chris Bosh (26 points) leading the way, followed by LeBron James (25). But Dwyane Wade (eight points on 11 shots, no free throw attempts) and Ray Allen (scoreless) both struggled, and Greg Oden's return (six points in eight minutes) seemed the most potentially positive development on the night. Is it time to panic in South Florida?

  • How worried should Heat fans be about Miami's three-game losing streak?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 152,597)

  • Should LeBron James (averaging 16.1 attempts per game) shoot more?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 59,799)

  • Is LeBron James coasting through the regular season?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 24,243)

  • How big an impact will Greg Oden make for the Heat?

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  • Which team will win Friday's game at Philadelphia?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 12,711)

  • How will the Heat fare in the playoffs?

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    Discuss (Total votes: 44,854)

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The Houston Rockets won the Dwight Howard rally this offseason. Now, according to Bradford Doolittle's WARP-based calculations, the James Harden-led team also wins the title of best backcourt in the NBA. These rankings aren't without controversy, though; the Stephen Curry/Klay Thompson Golden State Warriors didn't crack the top 10. Do you agree with the analytics? Click on the images below to set your rankings!

Best NBA backcourts

Clippers

Clippers

Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford

Heat

Heat

Dwyane Wade, Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen

Lakers

Lakers

Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Jodie Meeks

Mavericks

Mavericks

Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis, Devin Harris

Nets

Nets

Deron Williams, Jason Terry, Joe Johnson

Nuggets

Nuggets

Ty Lawson, Nate Robinson, Evan Fournier

Pacers

Pacers

Paul George, George Hill, C.J. Watson

Rockets

Rockets

James Harden, Patrick Beverly, Jeremy Lin

Spurs

Spurs

Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green

Thunder

Thunder

Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Reggie Jackson

Timberwolves

Timberwolves

Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Jose Juan Barea

Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Mo Williams

Warriors

Warriors

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Toney Douglas

Wizards

Wizards

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Glen Rice Jr.

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A shooting guard's primary role is to score points -- a skill Kobe Bryant and James Harden have mastered as two of the NBA's top five scorers last season. They are also proficient from behind the arc, as Danny Green and Kevin Martin have proven to be. Who is the league's best two guard? NBA insider Bradford Doolittle had his say and so did the NBA 5-on-5 crew, but now it's time for SportsNation to weigh in. Set your rankings below!

Rank 'Em: Power forwards | Point guards | Centers | NBA teams' under-25 talent

NBA Shooting Guards

Tony Allen

Tony Allen

Grizzlies
2012-13: 8.9 PPG, 1.2 APG, 4.6 RPG

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

Lakers
2012-13: 27.3 PPG, 6.0 APG, 5.6 RPG

Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal

Wizards
2012-13: 13.9 PPG, 2.4 APG, 3.8 RPG

Vince Carter

Vince Carter

Mavericks
2012-13: 13.4 PPG, 2.4 APG, 4.1 RPG

DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan

Raptors
2012-13: 18.1 PPG, 2.5 APG, 3.9 RPG

Monta Ellis

Monta Ellis

Mavericks
2012-13: 19.2 PPG, 6.0 APG, 3.9 RPG

Tyreke Evans

Tyreke Evans

Pelicans
2012-13: 15.2 PPG, 3.5 APG, 4.4 RPG

Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili

Spurs
2012-13: 11.8 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.4 RPG

Eric Gordon

Eric Gordon

Pelicans
2012-13: 17.0 PPG, 3.3 APG, 1.8 RPG

Danny Green

Danny Green

Spurs
2012-13: 10.5 PPG, 1.8 APG, 3.1 RPG

James Harden

James Harden

Rockets
2012-13: 25.9 PPG, 5.8 APG, 4.9 RPG

Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson

Nets
2012-13: 16.3 PPG, 3.5 APG, 3.0 RPG

Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin

Timberwolves
2012-13: 14.0 PPG, 1.4 APG, 2.3 RPG

Wesley Matthews

Wesley Matthews

Trail Blazers
2012-13: 14.8 PPG, 2.5 APG, 2.8 RPG

O.J. Mayo

O.J. Mayo

Bucks
2012-13: 15.3 PPG, 4.4 APG, 3.5 RPG

J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith

Knicks
2012-13: 18.1 PPG, 2.7 APG, 5.3 RPG

Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson

Warriors
2012-13: 16.6 PPG, 2.2 APG, 3.7 RPG

Marcus Thornton

Marcus Thornton

Kings
2012-13: 12.7 PPG, 1.3 APG, 2.5 RPG

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade

Heat
2012-13: 21.5 PPG, 5.1 APG, 5.0 RPG

Louis Williams

Louis Williams

Hawks
2012-13: 14.1 PPG, 3.6 APG, 2.1 RPG

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