This year’s NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte features teams picked by the two players with most votes – LeBron James and Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo – with Team LeBron squaring off against Team Giannis.
The NBA tweaked the format this year. For only the second time in its history, the All-Star Game is not a battle of the conferences. Instead of East vs. West, the players receiving the top votes from each conference captained a side and then picked teams. The fans selected the starters and the coaches voted on the reserves.
2019 NBA ALL STAR GAME
Teams: LeBron vs. Giannis
Tipoff: Sunday, February 24, 2019 @ 5:00pm PT
Location: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
Point-Spread: LeBron -6
No one plays defense in the NBA anymore, let alone the All-Star Game. The bookies expect this year’s game to be another high-scoring affair with both teams hitting 150-plus points.
LeBron James is appearing in his 15th All-Star Game. He won the ASG MVP three times, including last year when he missed a triple-double. James dropped 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists while representing the Cleveland Cavs.
LeBron earned the most votes and had first pick. He did not waste any time and selected Kevin Durant from the Golden State Warriors. Durant made his tenth All-Star team this year. LeBron filled out the rest of the starters with ex-teammate Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and the red-hot James Harden.
Captain: LeBron James (LA Lakers)
Starters: Kevin Durant (Golden State), Kyrie Irving (Boston), Kawhi Leonard (Toronto), James Harden (Houston), LeBron
Reserves: Anthony Davis (New Orleans), Klay Thompson (Golden State), Damian Lillard (Portland), Ben Simmons (Philadelphia), LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio), Karl-Anthony Townes (Minnesota), Bradley Beal (Washington), Dwyane Wade (Miami)
With his first pick in the reserves pool, LeBron went with Anthony Davis. LeBron caught heat for saying he’d love to play with Davis. Even though the Lakers offered the entire team for the disgruntled Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans refused to help LeBron win another title.
In addition, LeBron traded Russell Westbrook to Team Giannis for Ben Simmons.
The Greek Freak and a bunch of Big Dudes are teaming up with triple-double maestro Russell Westbrook to take down LeBron’s squad. He selected sharpshooter Steph Curry with his first pick. He filled out the starters with Joel Embiid, Paul George, and Kemba Walker.
While teammate Russell Westbrook has been getting attention with his triple-double record, Paul George is quietly having a monster season with 28.7 points and 8 rebounds per game. George ended the first half of the season on a heater, averaging 38 points per night over his last ten games.
Captain: Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee)
Starters: Steph Curry (Golden State), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia), Paul George (OKC), Kemba Walker (Charlotte), Greek Freak
Reserves: Khris Middleton (Milwaukee), Nikola Jokic (Denver), Russell Westbrook (OKC), Blake Griffin (Detroit), D’Angelo Russell (Brooklyn), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando), Kyle Lowry (Toronto), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas)
Victor Oladipo (Indiana) is missing the All-Star Game due to a season-ending knee injury. D’Angelo Russell, who has been crushing it in Brooklyn with the upstart Nets, replaced Oladipo.
The Freak picked his teammate, Khris Middleton, with his first selection in the reserves pool. He also added the two Nikolas. Nikola Jokic and Nikola Vucevic are among the top centers in the league.
Nowitzki, 40, will be appearing in his 14th All-Star game. He’s been in the NBA longer than his Mavs teammate, rookie Luka Doncic, has been alive.
How Does All-Star Voting Work?
The NBA All-Star Voting is open to fans, media, and peers. The public accounted for 50% of the vote, while media and current NBA players accounted for 25% each.
The players with the top 10 in votes will be starters. The top two players (one from each conference) with the most votes were named All-Star Captains. This year, LeBron James and the Greek Freak were the top two.
The reserves, 14 in total, were selected by NBA head coaches. Two additional spots were added to celebrate veterans in their final season: Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki.
LeBron and Greek Freak picked sides starting with starters first and then the reserves. LeBron had the first pick.
Mike Budenholzer, the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, will coach Team Giannis. The Bucks (43-14) are the best team in the Eastern Conference and have the best record in the NBA.
Michael Malone, head coach of the Denver Nuggets, will be coaching Team LeBron. At the time of the All-Star draft, the Nuggets held the best record in the Western Conference. With 39 wins, the Nuggets are currently second in the West behind the first-place Warriors (41-16).
Heading into the All-Star Break, the Golden State Warriors are still the heavy favorite to three-peat this year. Meanwhile, Greek Freak and the Milwaukee Bucks jumped to only 8/1 odds to win the NBA title.