With this season’s changes to a the previously dull All-Star games, the highest vote getter on the East (LeBron James) and the highest vote getter on the West (Stephen Curry) were the captains for both sides, and they drafted players to their teams.
While both LeBron and Steph both claimed that they wanted the draft to be televised in their recent interview, the NBA Players Association, which Chris Paul is the president and LeBron is vice president of, made the league use discretion and didn’t want the order of picks made available to the public. Here is the breakdown of both teams.
Starters: Stephen Curry, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid.
Reserves: Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, Karl Anthony-Towns and Al Horford.
Starters: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins
Reserves: Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Victor Oladipo, Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge
Stephen’s starting backcourt vs. LeBron’s backcourt
Both backcourts have an unreal amount of talent and all belong to one of the three best teams of the league. While both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are having incredible years, Team Stephen has a slight advantage over Team LeBron. However, Curry and Harden will have to pour in 3-pointers to hang with the much taller starting lineup Team LeBron possesses.
Stephen’s starting frontcourt vs. LeBron’s starting frontcourt
LeBron was lucky enough to grab both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins from the New Orleans Pelicans to provide a daunting frontcourt to face. However, with Cousins now injured, he will need to be replaced.
Davis is a key player to watch after last year’s 52-point outburst in the All-Star game, which won him All-Star MVP honors.
Steph grabbed the Greek Freak, Embiid and Derozan to counter LeBron’s arsenal, but the frontcourt of James and Davis still gives LeBron an advantage over Team Steph.
Stephen’s reserve backcourt vs. LeBron’s reserve backcourt
LeBron grabbed Russell Westbrook, by far the best player amongst reserves and a tireless scorer, especially in the All-Star Game. Westbrook, who won the All-Star game MVP award in 2016 and 2015, will keep his usual in-game intensity despite no effect on the standings.
Curry drafted controversial All-Star Damian Lillard and he is a favorite dark horse candidate to win MVP of the game.
Nonetheless, Team LeBron has the advantage amongst reserve guards on paper.
Stephen’s reserve frontcourt vs. LeBron’s reserve frontcourt
This year features lots of talented young bigs and talented older veterans who are representing both sides. Fan favorite Kristaps Porzingis was selected by LeBron and could be a player who dominates in the All-Star game given the usual level of defense played.
Curry’s bench includes teammate Draymond Green and Karl Anthony-Towns, who may play vital roles if the game gets serious in the end. Both sides are fairly equal, and could be a deciding factor in the game.
The general consensus amongst fans, players and media is that Kevin Durant was the first pick after Curry made it public that if LeBron didn’t select him first, he would pick him. Curry’s comments also suggest that his second pick was likely Antetokounmpo.
LeBron drafted Kyrie Irving, even though the former teammates aren’t hostile towards one another, having James and Irving in the same locker room will be a main storyline of the weekend.
LeBron also drafted former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, despite their well-documented and animosity-filled breakup. While Durant and Westbrook were teammates in last year’s All-Star game, which featured an alley-oop pass from Durant to Westbrook that seemed to ease the tension, they still went at it in a game this season in Oklahoma City. Victor Oladipo, another former member of the Thunder, is also on Team LeBron.
Both LeBron and Steph valued drafting their teammates, as LeBron grabbed Kevin Love, and Steph grabbed Klay Thompson and Green. Love, who grew up with Thompson, tweeted about how fun it would be to play with him, but it won’t happen this year.
Both captains also drafted dynamic duo’s as Steph grabbed both Karl Anthony-Towns and Jimmy Butler from the Timberwolves and Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan from the Toronto Raptors. LeBron drafted both Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins for his starting lineup, and has the Wizards backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal on his bench.
LeBron has the past four All-Star Game MVPs on his team.
Team LeBron gets an early lead with lots of flashy dunks, while Team Stephen keeps things interesting with lots of 3-pointers. In the end, Team LeBron wins 180-168. LeBron will take this game very seriously and win MVP.
Feature image by NBA.com
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