The NBA’s 24 All-Stars have been released, but we do not know which players will suit up for which team. All we know is that LeBron James and Kevin Durant, as captains, are in full decision-making control of their squads for the second year in a row.
The All-Star draft takes place on February 10th, but why wait until Thursday to find out which team your favorite player lands on when we can offer our own detailed selection process, including Team LeBron and Team Durant’s full 12-man rosters.
Below we play All-Star Game armchair GM with the most talented basketball players in the world.
Disclaimer: Kevin Durant will not play in the All-Star Game due to injury. Jayson Tatum will replace injured KD as a starter.
Stephen Curry, Ja Morant, Andrew Wiggins, Nikola Jokic, DeMar DeRozan, Trae Young, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum
No. 1 Pick: Team LeBron Select Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Giannis averages 12.2 drives per contest in 2021-22, where he’s finishing a league-high 59.4% of his shots at the rim (minimum 10 games played). The Greek Freak is the best rim slasher in the league, an amalgamation of height, power, and speed that makes him impossible to stop once he gets ahead of steam going to the basket. Giannis is the perfect #1 pick for a wide-open All-Star contest that features players looking to have fun instead of putting their bodies on the line to get a stop.
Going deeper. Giannis is a two-time MVP who won the title last season, yet he refuses to go less than 100% in any contest. Check out his stat line from a game last week against the reeling Washington Wizards playing without prior All-Star Bradley Beal on a chilly Tuesday night in Milwaukee: 33 PTS, 15 REB, 11 AST, and 2 BLKS. If anybody in the league goes hard and tries to secure a W in the All-Star Game, it’ll be Giannis.
The Greek Freak and LeBron are the two most physically dominating forwards in the league, it’s hard to imagine any Team Durant combination being able to slow the two of them down.
No. 2 Pick: Team Durant Select Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Were you expecting someone else? Maybe a high-flyer who can go out and attack the rim, getting the All-Star crowd on their feet?
Stephen Curry’s pull-up threes are must-see-TV. In the NBA’s mid-season classic, where anything goes, he’s sure to break out a few 40-foot bombs, a shot every other player in the association flings at the rim attached with a prayer on top, but he somehow manages to shoot like it’s a typical corner-three, elbow in with a wrist snap to finish things off.
Kevin Durant won two titles with Steph on the Golden State Warriors, if anyone knows how deadly he can be when he gets hot it’s KD. Heck, Curry, could single-handedly secure Team Durant the victory.
No. 3 Pick: Team LeBron Select Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Nikola Jokic doesn’t fit the All-Star Game’s above-the-rim profile. He’s a lumbering center who gets about an inch off the ground (give or take) on his jaunts toward the rack. Still, last year’s MVP (and this season’s frontrunner to win the award again) is the best passing center ever. Jokic’s dishes to cutters are a thing of beauty, and his precision lob passes are also spectacular.
LeBron and Giannis need someone to softly serve up the ball to them at the rim for dunks, and Joker fits the bill. He’s also a deadly long-range sniper, and he can work out of the mid-range when things occasionally slow down.
Plus, he is good for at least one evil smile with a shoulder shrug per game, a windfall for his teammate’s spirits during a scoring drought.
No. 4 Pick: Team Durant Select Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid is the best scoring center in the NBA.
He’s third in the league in points, at 29.0 per contest, and he’s first in clutch buckets, hammering in 5.2 points per late game.
Embiid is the last true post big man in the association. He averages 8.4 post up possessions per contest, nearly double second place Jonas Valanciunas (4.7 post possessions per contest), and he’s dropping 9.3 points off 51.5% on his attempts.
The 76ers center is nearly unstoppable. If opposing 5s crowd him in the mid-range, Embiid will face up on them, give a pump fake or two and then blow by them with a surprisingly quick first step or spin move. And if they lay off him, he’ll simply jack from mid-range where he’s connecting on 42.5% from 10 to 16 feet and 46.7% from 16 feet to the three-point line.
Durant has battled Embiid in the Eastern Conference for over a year now. He knows that the 76ers big man gets a little surly when an opposing player tries to one-up him. Look for JoJo to go ballistic at the All-Star game if Nikola Jokic or Giannis drop a couple smooth buckets in his face.
No. 5 Pick: Team LeBron Select Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
Some younger players get shy at their first All-Star game, deferring to their veteran teammates. That’s not Ja Morant.
The Grizzlies point guard showed last year during his first venture into the postseason that he breathes fire during big moments by lighting up the Jazz for a clean 30.2 PPG and 8.2 APG.
Ja Morant mixes bewitching handles with the most explosive first step in the league to blow by defenders. And when he gets into the lane, he knows what to do with the ball, converting a massive 70.7% of his shots at the rim.
He’ll form a nice synergy with LeBron and Giannis on pick and roll play types or on cuts to the rim.
Prediction: Ja Morant mad-dogs every Team Durant player before tip-off and then attacks the rim relentlessly, making a statement to the world that he’s for real.
No. 6 Pick: Team Durant Select Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Trae Young might be the best offensive player in the league, and in an exhibition like the All-Star game where little to no defense is played, he’s an invaluable player to have on your roster.
He’s pouring in 27.9 points per game to go along with 23.3 assist points created, meaning he’s manufacturing over 50 points per game for the Atlanta Hawks. He’s a sorcerer out of the pick and roll, a player who compliments Joel Embiid perfectly and who’ll have no problems lofting up perfect alley-oop passes to the best scoring big man in the league.
AND, he was snubbed for last season’s All-Star game, an injustice that’s undoubtedly been storming in his head for almost a year now, forming into hurricane-level winds. Trae Young will come out swinging at the All-Star Game, looking to leave (metaphorical) blood on his fists.
No. 7 Pick: Team LeBron Select DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls
A lot can change in a year. You can go from toiling away in San Antonio for a lottery-bound Spurs team, with no shot in hell at making the NBA’s mid-season festivities, to leading the first-place Bulls as a legitimate MVP candidate and an All-Star starter.
Damn. Life is one twisty, up-and-down ride.
DeMar DeRozan works the mid-range with clinical precision. He blends dizzying spin moves with lightning-fast crossovers, creating separation for his straight-up jumper, or if necessary for a fadeaway J, he can also hit with regularity.
DeRozan will help take pressure off the Lakers other starters, LBJ, Giannis, Jokic, and Morant with the threat of his launch-anytime mid-range jumper, and he could bring a little Trae Young-like heat to this contest, taking all the criticism he received down in South Texas out on the rim.
No. 8 Pick: Team Durant Select Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors
Andrew Wiggins has had a great season. He’s averaging 18.2 PPG while nailing 41.8% of his three-point attempts and playing upper-tier one-on-one perimeter defense. He’s been an enormous boon for the Golden State Warriors; there’s no doubt about that.
Still, this feels like an I’m-just-happy-to-be-here situation with Maple Jordan (best nickname in the league). Wiggins is much more amicable than some of his young All-Star counterparts like Ja Morant and Trae Young. He doesn’t have that blaze in his eyes, and he doesn’t look to destroy everyone standing in front of him.
It’s easy to see him soaking in the Cleveland revelries and taking a back seat to some of the more established stars on his team like Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, and Jimmy Butler.
Team Durant: Jayson Tatum replacing Kevin Durant in the starting lineup
Jayson Tatum has gone from the darling of Beantown to one of the most polarizing athletes in Massachusetts. Some fans love him, proclaiming he’s a modern Kobe, and others hate his inefficient mid-range game.
Both factions have a point. Tatum is tied for 9th in the NBA in scoring at 25.9 PPG, and when he gets going, he can drop 50 on an opposing team like it is nothing. He’s also taking 8.6 off-the-dribble mid-range jumpers per game, with a glum 32.5% hit rate, and he’s creating only 10.6 points off assists.
Jayson Tatum isn't at Kevin Durant's level, but despite his mid-range flaws, he's the next best offensive wing in the Eastern Conference. He should work well with Stephen Curry and Trae Young, two excellent passing point guards who know how to get their teammates the ball in positions where they can succeed. Jayson Tatum hasn't had an opportunity to work with a high-quality play-making PG all year in Boston, and he could blow up during the All-Star game and win MVP honors with Curry and Young setting him up for easy looks.
Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Rudy Gobert, Dejounte Murray, Karl-Anthony Towns, Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, Zach LaVine, James Harden, LaMelo Ball, Khris Middleton, Jimmy Butler, Darius Garland, Fred VanVleet
No. 9 Pick: Team Durant Select James Harden, Brooklyn Nets
Kevin Durant and James Harden are teammates on the Nets, and unless he wants to get in some locker-room beef with The Beard, he’d better select him first among the reserve pool.
Okay, bad jokes aside.
James Harden is the second closest player to a triple-double in the NBA this season behind Dejounte Murray, at 22.5 PPG, 10.2 APG, and 8.0 RPG in 2021-22.
Harden, 32, is still a one-on-one master. He’s tops in the NBA in isolation plays at 7.7 per contest, and he’s scoring an excellent 1.06 points per possession.
There is only one major flaw in James Harden’s exhibition resume: He lives off his 8.0 free throw attempts per game, but in a talent showcase like the All-Star game, the refs will put their whistles in their pockets, letting the action flow to the delight of the fans, thus taking away some of Harden’s effectiveness.
Harden still has a solid first step he can pull out occasionally to blow by defenders. He’s also an assist Jedi who routinely sets up his teammates with perfect dimes.
James Harden and Kevin Durant are teammates and friends. KD isn’t passing on his partner-in-crime for a younger, more athletic player.
No. 10 Pick: Team LeBron Select Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns
Chris Paul is averaging a double-double in 2021-22 with 14.9 PPG and 10.4 APG. CP3 is a necromancer with rock in his hands. He’s capable of making every pass in the book, from feathery lob passes at the rim, to swing passes to open three-point shooters beyond the arc, and perfect bounce passes to cutting teammates launching toward the rim. Nobody in the league holds the game in the palm of their hand like Chris Paul.
There is only one problem with selecting Paul this high: Even though he’s a ferocious competitor, he’s close to 37-years-old, and he seems a bit long in the tooth to go over 60% in a game where a win or loss means next to nothing.
Perhaps Chris Paul will go hard during the All-Star game, or maybe he’ll keep things chill. Either way, he’s one of LeBron James’s banana boat best buds, and there’s no way LBJ is passing up a dear pal who is the closest thing we have to an assist superhero in the league.
No. 11 Pick: Team Durant Select Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
Zach LaVine is a walking highlight film. He bursts to the rim harder than anyone outside of Ja Morant, and he seems to delight in posterizing any big man brave enough to hold his ground in the lane and try to stop him. What All-Star team doesn’t need that type of crowd-pleasing fun?
LaVine’s also an off-the-dribble beast. He creates separation on the perimeter with the mere threat of his first step. He averages 8.9 pull-up two-pointers and 4.4 off-the-bounce threes on the season, and he connects with a decent 45.7 eFG%.
Durant also has a vested interest in keeping Young Hollywood off a LeBron squad that already selected DeRozan. The Bulls’ two top players have formed an excellent symbiotic basketball relationship, and they’d certainly like nothing more than to go to work against Team KD and show the world what they’re capable of against the top players in the NBA.
No. 12 Pick: Team LeBron Select Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Ja Morant’s in as a starter, and Luka Doncic had to sneak in as a wild card.
Some folks think Morant is suddenly the better point guard. Not me, though.
Sure, Doncic has struggled from deep this season, shooting a paltry 30.9% off 8.0 three-point attempts per game. Still, Wonder Boy has Kobe-like footwork he uses along with subtle pump fakes to throw defenders off just enough to slide by them and get to the rack where he’s stuffing 57.8% of his attempts, easily one of the best marks in the game.
Overall, Doncic is pouring in 26.2 PPG, but more importantly, he’s fourth in the league in assist points created at 23.2 per contest. He’s got every pass in the book stuffed down his back pocket. He’ll kill you with his drive and kick game, lob passes, swings to open shooters, and dimes off double teams.
He’ll set up LeBron, Giannis, and Morant for easy looks at the rim all night long, and he deserves to be one of the first reserves taken.
No. 13 Pick: Team Durant Select Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker is an offensive samurai in the regular season, but he proved a genuine superhero in last year’s playoffs, taking over in the fourth quarter throughout several contests and helping his squad march to the NBA Finals. Overall, he averaged 27.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 4.5 APG in the 2021 postseason.
Here’s the thing, though. Booker doesn’t seem to care about extracurricular events, like the All-Star Game. He’s been selected to two previous All-Star teams but only played in one due to injury. In Book’s lone mid-season classic, he averaged 6 points and 4 rebounds in 19 I-don’t-really-care-about-this-game minutes.
Book will most likely show up and keep things chill again, but there’s a 25% chance he’ll play with a chip on his shoulder from not being selected over the younger Ja Morant as an All-Star starter. And if we get a pissed-off Booker, he has the talent to go off for 40.
Devin Booker goes #13 because of the 1-out-of-4 chance he goes destructor.
No. 14 Pick: Team LeBron Select Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
This season, Donovan Mitchell has turned into a bit of a one-way player, evidenced by his ugly 51.0 defensive field goal percentage. Still, his one-way offensive skills are pretty damn impressive, and in a free-flowing, no-defense All-Star format, he might just demolish the rim with his ability to turn a screen into a work of art.
Mitchell uses a bag of crossovers, spin moves, and stop-start hesitation moves to work around a screener in a way the league has never seen before. I’m drooling already, thinking about Spida working with Giannis or LeBron as the big man in pick and roll sets. Imagine the possibilities. Just the threat of the Greek Freak or LBJ rolling to the rim would create enough room for Mitchell to ruin defenders’ lives.
No. 15 Pick: Team Durant Select Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
What’s there not to like about Karl-Anthony Towns?
This season he’s averaging 24.3 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 3.9 APG, and 40.2% from deep. He’s nipping at Embiid, and Jokic’s heals for the title of “Best Scoring Center.”
More importantly, this year, things feel different in Minnesota. Towns is going hard on defense, and he’s begun flexing and staring down opposing All-Star big men like a corny cartoon villain after he stifles them on the less fun end.
KAT has his Timberwolves only one game out of the sixth seed in the Western Conference with a 27-25 record, and it’s easy to see him putting his bad-guy attitude in his suitcase and taking it with him to Cleveland, unleashing a storm on Team LeBron.
No. 16 Pick: Team LeBron Select Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Here’s a crazy stat: Jimmy Butler is second among all forwards in assist percentage per Cleaning the Glass.
Not only is Jimmy Butler a top-tier defensive wing who’ll have no problem playing actual D in the last five minutes of the 2022 All-Star game if things are close, but he’s also one of the heaviest loads going towards the rim in the NBA, and on top of all that, he can laser perfect dimes to open teammates outside the arc or off cuts to the rack.
Even though most people tend to forget about Butler until his team makes the NBA Finals, he’s a top-15 player in the association and one of the few athletes in the world that won’t let LeBron or Giannis have their way in an exhibition event.
No. 17 Pick: Team Durant Select Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers
If you saw Darius Garland morphing into an All-Star in 2021-22, your crystal ball works better than the rest of ours. DG has blown away all expectations this season in Cleveland, transforming his image from a me-first gunner who couldn’t lead a winning team to that of an All-Star (Duh), who is more than capable of playing a playoff brand of basketball.
Garland is averaging 19.8 PPG and 8.2 APG. He doesn’t have the same type of burst that Ja Morant or Zach LaVine possess. Instead, he has a herky-jerky style he combines with quick-stop dribble moves to gain separation for mid-range jumpers and shots from beyond the arc.
The 2022 All-Star Game is going down in Garland’s city, Cleveland, so look for him to show out in front of his hometown crowd.
No. 18 Pick: Team LeBron Select Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Khris Middleton doesn’t have the type of high-soaring, dunk-in-your-face, alley-oop stuffing game that works best in the All-Star game. In 2021-22, he’s taking only 10.7% of his shots at the rim, instead choosing to obliterate the opposition with his smooth mid-range jumper or from beyond the arc.
Middleton is a deserving All-Star. He’s averaging 19.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 5.2 APG, and 38.2 3P% while regularly taking on the opposing squad’s best perimeter offensive weapon. But, the mid-season classic isn’t the best place to showcase his talents.
Still, Khris Middleton gets to suit up along his normal running-mate Giannis, and he’ll surely notch at least a handful of open mid-range jumpers.
No. 19 Pick: Team Durant Select Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors
Fred VanVleet is the feel-good story of the year. He’s only the fourth undrafted player ever to make the All-Star game. VanVleet had to work his butt off just to make it to the NBA, then he had to go 110% to get on the court. He’s a pure grinder. He knows nothing but to go hard.
It’s easy to see VanVleet coming in and ignoring the All-Star game’s unwritten rules: Don’t run a real NBA offense and don’t play defense.
Fred VanVleet could enter the game, set up legitimate pick and rolls, and hound the opposing point guard on the less fun side, pissing everyone off until he’s yanked. Or he could use his excellent vision to set up his teammates with pinpoint dimes at the rim.
No. 20 Pick: Team LeBron Select Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Did Rudy Gobert deserve to be selected to the All-Star Game over Anthony Davis? The Utah Jazz have the 13th rated defense under his watch, and he doesn’t feature a sophisticated offensive game; instead, picking up most of his points off putbacks and tasty passes at the rim from Donovan Mitchell.
Sure, AD missed 18 games this season, and the Lakers have struggled. Still, no GM in the league would take Gobert over Anthony Davis in any type of player draft.
Anyway, in a game that’s 90% offense and 10% defense, The Stifle Tower fits like a 98-pound supermodel in a hotdog eating contest. He’ll pull down some rebounds, set some bone-jarring screens, and connect on some alley-oops at the rim, but the guards and wings will mostly run him off the court.
No. 21 Pick: Team Durant Select Dejounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs
Why is nobody talking about Dejounte Murray for the Most Improved Player Award? The latest Vegas odds have the Spurs freshly minted All-Star point guard at +1800 to win the honor, miles behind Ja Morant, Miles Bridges, and Darius Garland.
Check out Murray’s one-year improvement:
2020-21: 15.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 5.4 APG, and 1.5 SPG
2021-22: 19.6 PPG, 9.2 APG, 8.4 RPG, and 2.1 SPG
The former Washington standout is nearly averaging a triple-double, and he’s leading the association in steals per game.
Dejounte Murray has turned into one of the best all-around athletes in the league, a player capable of setting up his teammates, getting his own buckets at the rack, pulling down a much-needed board, and disrupting the opposing team’s offensive schemes.
Murray is an excellent windfall for Team Durant. He’ll fit nicely next to big men Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns, forming a nice pick and roll combo with his All-Star teammates.
No. 22 Pick: Team LeBron Select LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
LaMelo Ball’s free-flowing, joyful brand of basketball fits perfectly with the All-Star games offense-is-everything ethos.
Ball is a 6-7 point guard who loves to get out in transition, always looking to set up his teammates with pretty passes. In the half-court, he jacks up step-back threes with regularity, hitting 36.0% overall from beyond the arc, and he has a quick first step he uses to crash into the lane.
It’s easy to see Ball stepping into the All-Star contest on Team LeBron and making an immediate impact with his ability to get out on the break and make perfect passes to LeBron, Giannis, and DeRozan at the rim for pretty get-the-crowd-into-it slams.
Starters: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Ja Morant, DeMar DeRozan
Bench: Chris Paul, Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, Jimmy Butler, Khris Middleton, Rudy Gobert, LaMelo Ball
Starters: Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Trae Young, Andrew Wiggins, Jayson Tatum
Bench: James Harden, Zach LaVine, Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, Darius Garland, Fred VanVleet, Dejounte Murray
Our 2022 All-Star Rosters Would Be Special To Watch
You’ve got LeBron James versus Stephen Curry, the two biggest rivals over the last 10 years.
Nikola Jokic faces off against Joel Embiid at the center position in a battle of the league's top 2 centers.
Trae Young competes against first-time All-Star Ja Morant.
Off the bench, Chris Paul, Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell, and LaMelo Ball round out Team LeBron’s backcourt, forming a combination of explosive young guns to go along with Chris Paul, the wily veteran. Jimmy Butler, Khris Middleton, and Rudy Gobert are all excellent frontcourt players any team would love to add to their rotation.
Coming off Team Durant’s bench are James Harden, Zach LaVine, Darius Garland, and Fred VanVleet, four of the Eastern Conference’s best guards, along with Dejounte Murray and Devin Booker, representing the West Coast. And in the frontcourt KD has Karl-Anthony Towns, one of the best offensive big men in the NBA.