The NBA All-Star Game is almost here, which means its time to brush up on the teams and players. The NBA ditched the old format of using the conferences in 2018 in favor of an All-Star draft. The players are still voted in by conference by the fans with the leading vote-getters being named team captains. As always with All-Star games, the fans complain that voting is nothing more than a popularity contest.
While that is true, the All-Star Game is always entertaining due to the high-octane nature of the game. The 2018 game only saw 293 combined points, so look for this year’s edition to break that mark.
Starters: Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving
Reserves: Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, LaMarcus Aldridge, Karl-Anthony Towns, Bradley Beal, Dwyane Wade
Outside of Ben Simmons, everyone on Team Lebron has played in an All-Star game before. Kevin Durant was Lebron James’ first pick in last year’s draft and gives the team a dynamic shooting threat from behind the arc. James Harden and Kyrie Irving are two of the best ball handlers in the NBA and will put on a dribbling display against Team Giannis. Kawhi Leonard provides shooting and defense, which won’t be played that much during the All-Star Game.
The Ben Simmons to Anthony Davis connection from Team Lebron’s bench will get the crowd off their feet, while shooters Klay Thompson and Bradley Beal will torch the nets from behind the line. The NBA made a special exception for Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki to play in this year’s game, so expect the former to throw at least one lob to lifelong friend James in the game.
Starters: Giannis Antetokoumpo, Stephen Curry, Paul George, Joel Embiid, Kemba Walker
Reserves: Khris Middleton, Nikola Jokic, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, D’Angelo Russell, Nikola Vucevic, Kyle Lowry, Dirk Nowitzki
Team Giannis is less experienced than Team Lebron, but they are still an exciting team to watch. Giannis Antetokoumpo is one of the league’s most exciting players, while Steph Curry always puts on a show. Joel Embiid is must watch TV, while Paul George is one of the candidates for league MVP. Kemba Walker might seem like the odd one out in the starting lineup, but he has the handles and shooting to thrive in an All-Star Game.
Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin are tailor-made for All-Star Games as they are players who love to dunk with authority. Their connection off the bench will have the Charlotte crowd going crazy with the number of dunks they put in. Khris Middleton is not a flashy player, but his three-point shooting will be on display during the game. Nowitzki is making his final appearance in an all-star game and look for his patented fade away to appear more than once during the game.
The NBA All-Star Game will kick off on Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 8:00 P.M.