The 2013 All-Star Game in Houston will welcome six first-time All-Stars, including three—Kyrie Irving, Paul George and Jrue Holiday—under the age of 23. There most likely won't be another bumper crop of youngsters next season, thanks to relatively weak 2010 and '11 drafts. Indeed, the list of candidates to join the All-Star Game's under-23 club now starts and ends with 19-year-old Anthony Davis, the No. 1 pick in '12. So when the '14 All-Star selection process rolls around, expect the list of first-timers to be dominated by these more established names.
STEPHEN CURRY His gaudy 45.4 three-point shooting percentage draws the headlines, but Curry's mastery of pick-and-roll spacing and his improved decision-making have powered Golden State's surprising 26--17 start. Curry was one of the West's top snubs, along with Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, and he's a logical pick if an injury replacement is needed this year. 
BROOK LOPEZ There was mild outrage in the advanced-stats community when Lopez wasn't invited to Houston, because his Player Efficiency Rating ranks fourth in the league, trailing only LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. That type of company is clearly a stretch, but the Nets center has a case as the East's best big man, averaging 18.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks for a Brooklyn team that could land a top-four playoff seed. 
SERGE IBAKA Tagging Ibaka as merely the "best weakside shot blocker in the NBA" will no longer suffice, not when he's averaging 13.9 points and 8.3 rebounds, both career highs. The Thunder's long, athletic forward is an excellent finisher, shooting 71% in the restricted area, but a reliable midrange jumper, which now accounts for nearly half of his shot attempts, has been the key factor in his offensive development. 
February 4, 2013
NICOLAS BATUM The French forward has thrived in the open offense favored by new Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts: He's averaging a career-high 16.4 points and is on pace to dish out more assists this year than in his four previous seasons combined. 
BRANDON JENNINGS A speedster whose explosive scoring potential was revealed three years ago when he was a rookie, Jennings has become a peskier defender too. [5)