The NBA All-Star Weekend will take place next month but this past week, Team Captains LeBron James and Steph Curry had their All-Star Team Draft to select who would be on their respective teams. The game will take place this year from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 18, 2018. In addition to the actual All-Star Game, the weekend will be filled with the the All-Star Celebrity Game and the Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Game on Friday, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, JBL Three Point Contest and Verizon Slam Dunk Competition on Saturday Night,
The All-Star game no longer consists of the best players from the Eastern Conference playing the best players from the Western Conference. The format has changed and now, they select two team captains, who are decided by whichever two players get the most cumulative votes, and those two players will choose from a pool of players.
The pool of players is determined by total votes, from not only fans this year but also from the media and current NBA players. The fans account for 50% of the vote, while the media and NBA each share the other amount with 25% each. This is a new way of deciding who will be the starters and reserves and is very similar to what occurs in the NHL.
This year, LeBron James will be one of the Team Captains. James is a 14 time All-Star and was the Kia NBA MVP on 4 occasions. LeBron will have a big man down low in Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans playing PF/C. Davis score 52 points in last year’s All-Star game and is a 5 time All-Star. Davis would of been playing with his teammate DeMarcus Cousins but Cousins was injured and has since been replaced with Oklahoma City Thunder SF Paul George.
Cousins tore and ruptured his achilles tendon and had season ending surgery to repair the damage. George will replace Cousins on the roster, making his third consecutive All-Star appearance. George is averaging 21 points per game and will lineup up at Forward for Team LeBron.
LeBron put all questions to the side in reference to his friendship with Kyrie Irving as James selected Irving as the team’s other guard on his team. Many will remember that Irving demanded he be traded at the end of last year so he could go on and lead a offense by himself. Irving now plays for the 1st Place Boston Celtics and he is the leader on offense.
Irving, LeBron, Davis and George will team up with Kevin Durant to make up the starting 5 for Team LeBron. Durant will be lining up on the opposite side of many of his current teammates, which will make for a great storyline.
The reserves for Team LeBron consist of San Antonio Spurs F LaMarcus Aldridge, Washington Wizards G Bradley Beal, Cleveland Cavaliers F/C Kevin Love, Indiana Pacers G Victor Oladipo, NY Knicks F/C Kristaps Porzingis, Washington Wizards G John Wall and Oklahoma City G Russell Westbrook.
Team Steph is loaded with straight shooters and scorers, which will make this a great game. Curry selected F Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks. Antetokounmpo is averaging 28.5 points per game this year and 10.2 rebounds per game. He is a 2 time All Star and will be the only starting Forward on the floor for Team Steph as they made the decision to play small ball.
Besides Antetokounmpo and Curry, James Harden of the Houston Rockets and DeMar DeRozan will join the team as additional Guards on Team Steph. Harden is a six time all star and leads the NBA this year in scoring. DeRozan is a four time All-Star and is averaging 24.6 points per game.
Finally, Philadelphia 76’ers Center Joel Embiid will make his first All-Star Game for Team Steph. Embiid has been dominant this year, scoring 23.6 points per game and pulling down 10.9 rebounds per game.
The reserves for Team Steph consist of Minnesota Timberwolves G Jimmy Butler, Curry’s Golden State Teammate Draymond Green, Boston Celtics F/C Al Horford, Portland Trail Blazers G Damian Lillard, Toronto Raptors G Kyle Lowry, Golden State Warrior G Klay Thompson and Minnesota Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns.
One of the most intriguing things that people are interested in seeing this year is Kevin Durant, teaming up with LeBron and his former teammate Russell Westbrook, and playing against three of his current teammates from the Golden State Warriors, Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. It remains to be seen if Durant will play hard or will he sort of play soft against his current teammates. I think this storyline will steal the show and we will hear about this time and time again during the game.