Handicapping Los Angeles Lakers Players’ Odds of Making the 2014 All-Star Game

The Los Angeles Lakers have three players on the 2014 NBA All-Star ballot: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Steve Nash.

Fan voting for All-Star starters won’t conclude until Jan. 20, but we already have a pretty clear picture that shows which Lakers player will get voted in. Kobe Bryant, fair or unfair, is essentially a lock to be named a starting guard in the 2014 NBA All-Star game.

NBA.com released the first ballot returns on Dec. 12. The early results showed that Bryant was not only leading in the Western Conference backcourt with 501,215 votes, but that lofty number also placed him second in the conference behind only Kevin Durant and third in the entire NBA behind KD and LeBron James.

The Black Mamba missed the first 19 regular-season games of 2013-14 while recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered in April. In the six games he’s appeared in since his return, the Lakers have a 2-4 record and Bryant is averaging 13.8 points, 6.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 5.7 turnovers per game.

He’s shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 18.8 percent from three-point range. His player efficiency rating of 11.7 ranks him 223rd in the NBA, behind guys like Darius Morris, Vitor Faverani and teammate Wesley Johnson.

Those certainly are not All-Star-caliber numbers when compared with guys like Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, James Harden and Damian Lillard, who are all competing for a spot in the All-Star Game’s starting backcourt.

Unfortunately, the fan vote often becomes a popularity contest or a lifetime achievement award instead of rewarding the best players during a given campaign.

For instance, Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin received the fourth-most votes in the Western Conference backcourt according to the early returns. He's started just eight games for the Rockets and is averaging fewer assists and rebounds compared to last season and the season before. Article Source: Bleacher Report - Los Angeles Lakers