Kevin Love biggest surprise among All-Star starters

After the second returns, it seemed like the NBA's All-Star starters were pretty much set.

In the East they certainly were with Dwyane Wade, Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony all but set. The West had intrigue with Chris Paul's injury opening the door for Stephen Curry to get into the starting lineup on votes. Surely though there would be no other surprises.

Dwight Howard's up-and-down three year odyssey could very well have cost him his seventh straight All-Star starting appearance. Kevin Love proved to be the biggest surprise of the All-Star starters.

Love unseated Howard, joining Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Kobe Bryant in the West starting lineup.

Love topped Howard by less than 8,000 votes and the result came as a huge surprise, but it was well deserved.

Love is averaging 25.0 points per game and 13.0 rebounds this year after suffering through various injuries last year. Howard looks healthier but has struggled adjusting to playing with James Harden. His numbers are not nearly as impressive as they once were. He is averaging 18.3 points and 12.6 rebounds per game. The narrative of his season and his likeability with the fans certainly did not help him hold off "Cousin Wes."

The two would certainly be deserving of the starting nod if Durant were not playing at an otherworldly level and Blake Griffin were not so popular with fans. Someone had to be left out.

Love's presence on a .500 team just outside the Playoffs and his lack of Playoff exposure made it seem like Howard would be the shoo-in.

I guess not as Love made his push and earned his first ever starting nod.

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily