What To Expect At This Year’s NBA All-Star Games
It’s Team LeBron versus Team Curry
For the first time in NBA history, the All-Star game is not going to be a battle between the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Obtaining the highest votes from media and fans alike, LeBron James is playing captain of one corner of the court and Stephen Curry in the other. It’s going to be an explosive game with some of the biggest and most talented names in the league taking one stage.
Captains James and Curry drafted their teams via conference call in the latter days of January. Choosing from a pool of players that were voted as starters and reserves, both All-Stars had the freedom to pick regardless of conference-affiliation.
On the other hand, the coaches for each team were determined by whoever had the best record until February 4. For Team LeBron, Coach Dwane Casey of the Toronto Raptors has already been appointed. For Team Curry, it’s going to be the Houston Rocket’s Mike D’Antoni.
Paul George (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors)
Kyrie Irving (Boston Celtics)
LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs)
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers)
Kristaps Porzingis (New York Knicks)
Russell Westbrooke (Oklahoma City Thunders)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Jimmy Butler (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
Al Horford (Boston Celtics)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Kevin Love’s replacement
Team LeBron has been taking hits recently, with three of his initial picks currently injured and out of the All-Star game. Andre Drummond is filling in for John Wall while Paul George was called in to replace DeMarcus Cousins.
At this moment, the replacement of Kevin Love is not yet final, but some favorites include Lou Williams (Los Angeles Clippers), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets), Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Goran Dragic (Miami Heat) and Blake Griffin (Detroit Pistons).
The tension between ex-teammates
Part of the beauty of the NBA All-Star games is that it brings together talents from different teams. But for particular players, this partnership could mean some tension and possibly a lot of awkwardness. James and Irving, who once played on the same team but have since become opponents in the league, once again need to work together on court—and the exact same thing goes for Durant and Westbrook.
Irving’s trade to the Celtics during the off season got a lot of attention, especially when the 25-year-old admitted he wanted to get out from under LeBron’s shadow. So all eyes will be on King James and Uncle Drew as they try to recapture their chemistry on court.
It’s the same story with Durant and Westbrook, both of whom used to play for the Thunders. When Durant opted to sign with the Golden State Warriors at the end of his contract, people heavily questioned the move. For whatever reason that was, we’re eager to see if the once great duo can work well together again.
What’s on the line
While past All-Star games used to be about the fun and exhibition part of the game, this year’s history-making matchup has a lot more at stake. Team LeBron and Team Curry are playing for their own separate community-based organizations. The winning team’s choice will receive a donation of US$350,000 from the NBA League while the losing team’s charity will receive US$150,000.
Possible game highlights
As usual, the NBA All-Star game will also be about the game highlights. We’ve got our eyes peeled out for some dunks from LeBron and Westbrook, trick shots from Curry, Thompson and Durant, as well as isolation moves from Irving and Curry.
The 67th NBA All-Star Game will take place on Sunday, February 18 at 8pm ET. That’s Monday, February 19 at 9am for us.