The All-Star Game this season is a little different amid the pandemic and the strange season that the NBA is having. However, one of the things that remains the same is the All-Star Captains picking teams. That relatively recent tradition has been a great addition to the All-Star games in the past few years.
The last two years of Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James being All-Star captains has come to an end. Kevin Durant has become the other All-Star captain alongside LeBron James. Despite the fact that he’s sitting out the actual All-Star game with an injury, Durant will still be doing the All-Star draft.
Kevin Durant (hamstring) is still going to serve as an All-Star captain, even though he won’t play in the game. That means he’ll be the one picking teams vs LeBron James in this Thursday’s All-Star draft. No decision yet on whether KD will travel to Atlanta for the game itself.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 28, 2021
Now that we know that Durant is doing the All-Star draft, all that is left for us to see is who LeBron James and Kevin Durant draft, and the order that the other All-Stars are drafted in.
This year, Kevin Durant will be selecting first, as he will be sitting out due to injury. Jayson Tatum will be added to the All-Star starter pool to make up for Durant’s absence.
Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic
Pick #1: Team Durant – Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets
Kyrie Irving is Kevin Durant’s teammate, so he will probably get picked first. Kyrie Irving is having a stellar season with the Brooklyn Nets. Kyrie Irving would be a great point guard who can lead the team instead of Durant. Irving’s handles are the best in the league. Kyrie Irving is one of the best point guards in the league, and a face-off between Irving and LeBron James would be legendary.
Pick #2: Team LeBron – Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard is one of the people who has managed to beat LeBron James in the NBA Finals, so LeBron James knows firsthand how good Leonard is. Kawhi Leonard is an elite wing player who can do everything on the court. While their teams have a history of being cross-town rivals, there’s nothing stopping LeBron James from picking one of the best players in the league. Pairing Leonard and James would be deadly.
Pick #3: Team Durant – Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo was the All-Star captain last season, which stemmed from his elite performance with the No. 1 seeded Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis Antetokounmpo would be the obvious selection after Kawhi Leonard, as Team Durant needs somebody that can guard LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard but also be dominant on the offensive end.
Pick #4: Team LeBron – Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
LeBron James has historically played well with big men who could create their own shot, but also benefit from his playmaking. Chris Bosh, Anthony Davis, and Kevin Love all succeeded next to LeBron because they could space the floor. Joel Embiid brings floor spacing, but also a dominant inside presence and the ability to muscle his way past anyone. He would be a good addition to the team due to his insane athleticism and multifaceted scoring.
Pick #5: Team Durant – Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry is another one of Kevin Durant’s teammates and the best shooter in the league. Stephen Curry brings some elite floor spacing, and on Team Durant, he’d probably play at the SG position due to his prowess from beyond the arc. This pick would give Team Durant an amazing backcourt that can simply outscore the opposition. Pairing Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry is a recipe for a good offense.
Pick #6: Team LeBron – Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic would be LeBron James’ pick here. While LeBron James would likely be the primary playmaker for the team, Luka Doncic’s elite shot creation from the perimeter would get him selected here. Luka Doncic is clutch and can score from anywhere on the court: he would be a good fit next to James, who has played with talented guards like Kyrie Irving and Dwyane Wade.
Pick #7: Team Durant – Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Team Durant needs a center, and the obvious choice here is Nikola Jokic. Jokic is a unicorn who is gifted with the ability to make plays for his teammates, essentially being a center with point guard level passing. He would be a good fit next to the dominant scorers on Team Durant, as well as being their main inside presence due to his position.
Pick #8: Team LeBron – Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum is Kevin Durant’s replacement as the starter for the 2021 NBA All-Star game. He gets selected here because he is a solid iso scorer and defender. Jayson Tatum is a two-way wing who can compete with anyone. Team LeBron is stacking switchable defenders, which helps in a game like the All-Star game, where there are good players at every position.
Pick #9: Team Durant – Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
It may be strange to see the player who leads the league in scoring selected last, but here we are. Bradley Beal is an electric shooting guard who is the last starter to get picked. Team Durant running a 3 guard starting lineup will boost their perimeter creation, and offer the space for Giannis Antetokounmpo to thrive while making use of Nikola Jokic’s elite passing. Bradley Beal would give Team Durant an elite offensive weapon who has been unstoppable this season.
Jaylen Brown, Paul George, James Harden, Rudy Gobert, Zach LaVine, Damian Lillard, Julius Randle, Donovan Mitchell, Ben Simmons, Chris Paul, Nikola Vucevic, Zion Williamson, Domantas Sabonis, Devin Booker
Since Durant picked first for the starting lineup, LeBron James will get the first selection among the reserves.
Pick #10: Team LeBron – Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
LeBron James and Chris Paul are fairly close friends, and this could be an opportunity for them to play together. Chris Paul is still capable of running the offense, and in last year’s All-Star Game, we even saw him get up for a dunk. Chris Paul would be a solid guard for the end of the rotation during the All-Star Game.
Pick #11: Team Durant – James Harden, Brooklyn Nets
Another one of Kevin Durant’s teammates ends up on his team. James Harden is quite possibly one of the most skilled superstars in the league: he is able to adjust to any role on a roster. During the All-Star Game, there will be a lot of other talented players, so Harden’s role off the bench will most likely be similar to his current role on the Brooklyn Nets: running the offense and finding his teammates for easy baskets.
Pick #12: Team LeBron – Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard is a guard that LeBron James has shown some respect for throughout the years. His perimeter scoring and clutch shotmaking would go well with LeBron James’ strengths. Damian Lillard is the main force that carries the Trail Blazers to the playoffs every year, and it would make sense for LeBron James to pick someone who deserved to have been an All-Star starter this season.
Pick #13: Team Durant – Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
Zion Williamson is one of the most exciting young talents in the league, and he gets selected by Team Durant here. Zion Williamson is an extremely versatile player who can guard some of the bigger forwards in the league while being able to get to the rim at will.
Pick #14: Team LeBron – Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker is an amazing shooting guard who got selected to the All-Star game as a replacement for Anthony Davis. LeBron James has notably stated that Booker is one of the most disrespected players in the league, so he would be a solid selection for LeBron James here, as LeBron obviously sees Booker’s talent.
Pick #15: Team Durant – Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Donovan Mitchell is the main scorer on the Utah Jazz, who has become the best team in the league. Donovan Mitchell is an athletic shooting guard who would be a good scorer off of the bench. Mitchell will be a solid backup for Team Durant’s starting guards.
Pick #16: Team LeBron – Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers
Paul George is another solid wing player that is a switchable defender. George is also an elite shooter and facilitator. He could be a solid forward that can run the offense from the bench while also being a good shooter next to LeBron James.
Pick #17: Team Durant – Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
While it is crazy that Zach LaVine would fall this far in the All-Star draft, it just speaks to the talent that is in today’s league. Zach LaVine would be an elite shot creator for Team Durant, and his athleticism would help him compete against the many elite athletes on Team LeBron.
Pick #18: Team LeBron – Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Ben Simmons is a Klutch client, who has been compared to LeBron James in the past. His value on Team LeBron would be his amazing defense, and he could be a player that locks down opposing guards and playmakers for the scorers on the bench.
Pick #19: Team Durant – Julius Randle, New York Knicks
Kevin Durant’s team lacks a solid forward aside from Giannis Antetokounmpo at this stage of the draft, so it would make sense to pick Julius Randle here. Julius Randle has been the engine for the New York Knicks, who have looked really good under coach Thibodeau. Randle would provide some size and rebounding, all while being a capable playmaker for the elite scorers on the team. He can also score himself if need be.
Pick #20: Team LeBron – Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
Jaylen Brown would be another elite guard on Team LeBron. Jaylen Brown is a first-time All-Star who has steadily worked his way up to an All-Star selection. Jaylen Brown would provide another shooter on Team LeBron, while also being able to drive to the basket for some dunks.
Pick #21: Team Durant – Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic
Nikola Vucevic is the last pick here, but he fits well on Team Durant’s bench due to their lack of a solid big man. Nikola Vucevic is an elite shooter who has been the main source of offense on the Orlando Magic. The Orlando Magic would be way worse without him, and while he’s the last pick, he is still a deserving All-Star.
Pick #22: Team LeBron – Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
LeBron James has historically done well with athletic big men who can catch lobs. Rudy Gobert fits that mold, and there will likely be many easy dunks for him due to the amount of focus on the other offensive players on team LeBron. Rudy Gobert would also be a solid defensive presence for the bench, which makes him a good pick here.
Pick #23: Team Durant – Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
Domantas Sabonis would be another forward that Durant would select, due to his ability to facilitate well from the post. Sabonis is a big man who can score well, and his playmaking is elite for a big man. Sabonis got selected as an All-Star replacement for a reason, and he has been quietly carrying the Pacers. Kevin Durant would select Sabonis here for his ability to keep the offense running smoothly.
Starters: LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, Joel Embiid
Bench: Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Devin Booker, Paul George, Ben Simmons, Jaylen Brown, Rudy Gobert
Starters: Kyrie Irving, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Bradley Beal, Nikola Jokic
Bench: James Harden, Zion Williamson, Donovan Mitchell, Zach LaVine, Julius Randle, Nikola Vucevic, Domanatas Sabonis