Led by the MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) and LeBron James (LAL), the best players who basketball has to offer will unite in two team in the 68th NBA All Star Game on February 18 in Charlotte.
The 10 starters have been confirmed on Thursday, Januar 24, by the NBA. Team Giannis vs. Team LeBron – soon the captains will have to make their picks for the great show.
— NBA (@NBA) January 25, 2019
— NBA (@NBA) January 25, 2019
“The King”, the “Greek Freak” and the agony of choice
East vs. West – to the delight of most NBA fans this format has been outdated since last year. The starters are elected by a voting (50% fans, 25% media, 25% players – all votes from the different groups here). Players are then selected in the All Star Draft – regardless of their conference – by the two captains, The King and the Greek Freak.
This year, the draft will be televised on TNT. It’s going to be a rare spectacle for every basketball fan to see the two captains putting together their teams!
Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, for example, had joined “Team LeBron” alongside “King” James (then Cleveland) last year. He defeated his teammate Steph Curry 148:145. As James once again won the most (fan) votes, he will be allowed to pick the first player on 7 February before Gianni can make his first selection.
Before the draft event, the head coaches have to pick and add 7 reserves per conference to the player pool. It’s going to be quite tricky. A number of people were hoping for at least one of the two top centers – Anthony Davis and Nikola Jokic – in the Starting Five.
Luka Doncic and Kemba Walker – two different stories
The case of Luka Doncic shows the density of superstars in the West. Luka ranked 3rd in the fan voting with more than 4 (!) million fan votes. Due to the player and media votes, the love of the fans was still not enough.
The designated Rookie of the Year will not become a Starter in the NBA All Star Game 2019 at the first attempt. Regardless of the fact that the fans desperately wanted to see him there. Nevertheless, there is still a chance that Dirk Nowitzki (40, 21th season) – who we will likely see in the Three Points Shootout – will be accompanied by his teammate to the floor in Charlotte. It’s now in the hands of the coaches to select Doncic as first rookie since Blake Griffin in 2011 to feature in an NBA All-Star Game.
In the East, the name Kemba Walker (1,395,330 fan votes, around 3 million less than Doncic) is surprising. The Charlotte Hornets Guard owes the home game at the NBA All Star Game 2019 to his strong performances. He scored 31.7 points in the first 7 games at the beginning of the season. In November, Walker even hit an incredible 60 points against Philadelphia (119:122) before his scores collapsed due to an ankle injury.
— #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) January 25, 2019
We covered the two international superstars and starters in the 68th All-Star Game, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid, in a separate article.