The voting results of the first round of the NBA's popularity contest -- err, the All-Star Game fan vote -- drop on Thursday, so if you haven't given 10 shout-outs to your favorite player on Instagram, better get on that. Every hashtag counts.
Given how horrible the Eastern Conference has been this season -- its interconference record of 32-77 (.293) remains the lowest since the NBA/ABA merger -- some have half-seriously argued that there shouldn't be an Eastern Conference squad at all. There's some truth to the enormous talent gap. So far, just seven East players rank in the top 20 on the estimated wins added (EWA) leaderboard.
Alas, there will be an East squad after all. The single most popular question I received in my weekly chat on Monday was some version of "Is [insert East Player here] an All-Star this season?" Perhaps an All-Star appearance provides some solace for fan bases "cheering" on teams in the tank.
So who has earned an East spot so far?
Judging from their 2013-14 production up to this point, here are my picks for the starters, reserves and some names to watch as the All-Star Game approaches. These aren't lifetime achievement awards, so there's little regard for career performance.
I'm abiding by the league's rules to pick three frontcourt players along with two backcourt players. I'll also follow the rules by filling out the rest of the roster with seven players of my choice, regardless of position. Remember, fans select the starters and the rest of the reserves are named by the Eastern Conference coaches.
On with the names ...