With the NBA finally deciding to change their current All-Star Game format and shutting down the Western Conference vs Eastern Conference matchup we’re all used to, a lot of speculation and expectation has quickly raised among the media and fans that are expecting the best spectacle in the world.
The All-Star Game has always been a great chance for players to just chill and enjoy among their peers and rivals, giving the fans a nice show without putting their bodies on the line and just deciding to have fun instead of actually competing.
But, with that new format the league has just unveiled, things just took a very interesting turn that could make this game regain the competitive spirit it has lacked since the Jordan era, when the game’s biggest stars gave their all on the hardwood even in this friendly game.
Now that captains (the two most voted players) are set to choose their rosters, the All-Star Game has become a prime moment to make personal statements and make rivalries rise right before the eyes of the fans.
Today, we’re going to go ahead and make a prediction, already believing LeBron James and Stephen Curry will be selected as team captains and projecting who they’re all going to get when it’s their time to choose.
For this matter, we’re going to choose players from this two pools.
Eastern Conference Pool:
Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Hassan Whiteside, Andre Drummond, Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Love, Bradley Beal, Goran Dragic, Joel Embiid, Kemba Walker.
Western Conference Pool:
Kevin Durant, Paul George, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, James Harden, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler, Blake Griffin, Karl-Anthony Towns.
Team LeBron James
Point Guard: Russell Westbrook
With the 1st overall pick, LeBron James is going with the defending MVP, Russell Westbrook, as he knows nobody wants to torch Stephen Curry and any other Golden State Warrior more than him, and, you know; he’s Russell freaking Westbrook, the triple-double machine. This will come as a huge surprise and heartbreak to his buddy Chris Paul, but there’s absolutely no better choice to run the point than the Brodie, considering he’s a human highlight reel and one of the frontrunners to take home the All-Star MVP.
Shooting Guard: Kawhi Leonard
LeBron has always liked team effort and defense, and he’s getting both in Kawhi Leonard at the shooting guard spot, considering he’s hands down the best defender in the entire Association and he knows it damn well. This will bury the hatchet between the two after Leonard completely owned him during their last NBA Finals matchup.
Small Forward: LeBron James
LeBron James may be nearing the end of his prime, but he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. Hands down the greatest player in the league, King James will make his 14th straight All-Star appearance come February. With a talent on both ends of the floor, LeBron has consistently lead his teams through the Eastern Conference, proving his dominance to whatever team stands in his way.
Power Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo is bound to make yet another appearance in the All-Star game after leading the Milwaukee Bucks, and this athletic freak is a lock to keep fans off their feet with his athleticism, hops and ability to take off from distance. Giannis will provide a lot of versatility for team LeBron, due to his ability to play and guard all 5 spots, something James will definitely love.
Center: DeMarcus Cousins
And DeMarcus Cousins will be James’ choice to lock down the paint, as he was even linked with a move to the Cleveland Cavaliers throughout the prior campaign. Cousins is vastly skilled and he’s on a mission to prove he’s one of the best players in the world, the kind of competitive attitude that’ll definitely suit LeBron James’ desires.
LeBron James won’t forget about his friends when he picks up his substitutes, as he’ll take both Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony as soon as he can, only missing Dwyane Wade to complete their infamous Banana Boat squad.
Team James is set to feature a lot of small ball with Karl-Anthony Towns and DeMarcus Cousins being the only “true” big men on their roster, and they could be deadly from beyond the arc with Anthony’s stroke from distance.
Kemba’s offensive game has improved a lot and with Gordon Hayward set to take his game to a whole new level this upcoming campaign on the Boston Celtics, Team James will be definitely the most balanced squad when it comes to offense and defense.
Oh, and if you were wondering, of course, LeBron’s not going to pick Kyrie Irving to play side by side with him again. There’s absolutely no way in hell of that happening, and that’s just going to add more to this desired matchup.
Team Stephen Curry
Point Guard: Stephen Curry
Predicting Steph Curry getting the most All-Star votes in the West is a no-brainer. Because if his story, attitude, and likability, Steph is one of the league’s most popular players. In fact, the only thing higher than Steph’s popularity is his skill set, which is amongst the best in the league. Most regard him as the greatest shooter ever, and he’s earned that title ten-fold.
Shooting Guard: James Harden
OMG, James Harden alongside Stephen Curry? Yes, please. With Harden playing off ball and Curry running the point, it’s going to take a lot of effort to try and stop these two from completely roasting team James from distance, especially considering how nonexistent defense are in this kind of matchups. Of course, he’s going to see a lot of Kawhi Leonard, a guy that already knows how to drive him nuts, so this is going to be quite interesting.
Small Forward: Paul George
If it wasn’t enough firepower already, Curry and Harden will be joined by the newest addition of the Oklahoma City Thunder: Paul George, that can also light it up from beyond the arc with great ease. George is set to be the team’s showman with his signature tomahawks and 360 dunks. George’s desire to win everything will make him leave everything in the hardwood on what we all hope it’s going to be a breakout season for the former Pacer.
Power Forward: Kevin Durant
You asked for it, you got it. With his 1st pick, Stephen Curry will select his buddy and teammate from the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant. So, the reigning finals MVP is going to play face to face against his former teammate, Russell Westbrook, in one of the most desired matchups fans have had ever since Durant decided to leave and play at the Bay, so stay tuned, as sparks are definitely going to fly when they play once again.
Center: Anthony Davis
And the unibrow is bound to create some deadly twin towers alongside Kevin Durant in the paint, and with this kind of firepower, he’s just the perfect complement for all these 4 outstanding shooters. Davis is set to have a lot of lobs and highlights with Curry running the point, while also being the team’s defensive anchor and rim protector, although we can definitely expect him shooting the occasional three to get into the mix with his teammates.
Curry won’t forget about his buddies, either, as he’ll get Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to play beside, with both of them handly mostly defensive duties to provide balance to a team that’s clearly oriented towards shooting.
To help them beat Team LeBron, they’re also going to count with the guys that took the reins of the Miami Heat after he left them in despair: Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside, that have developed amazing chemistry playing together.
And, to try and contain James himself, Curry’s going to trust one of the players that has done a better job guarding him so far and that’s definitely used to do so: Jimmy Butler, who’ll be thrilled with the task.
Last but not least, who better than Kyrie Irving to just stick it to LeBron James once again? Oh boy, expect a lot of crossovers and isolation when they’re both on the court at the same time, and wouldn’t it be just beautiful to see Uncle Drew hit a buzzer beater just like the one he scored over Curry in the finals?
Better set all your DVR’s, because this one will be a matchup for the ages, with both team captains eager to prove their dominance over the other as they’ve done over the last 3 NBA Finals series.
And, let’s face it: Everybody hates LeBron, so with Kyrie Irving, the new faces of the Heat and Jimmy Butler all in one squad, we can definitely expect them to try and embarrass and humiliate the King of the Eastern Conference.
Team LeBron features a lot of balance and strength and definitely has the upper hand when it comes to defense in this matchup, but they’re just going to struggle keeping up with the fast-paced run and gun offense that Team Curry will offer.
On the other hand, Team Curry can simply outscore every single team in the world, especially if they combine their Golden State Warriors starting 5 alongside Anthony Davis to create the perfect combo and even lure him to force a move to play with the Warriors.
If this one were a regular season matchup or a seven-game series, we could maybe expect team LeBron James to take home the victory, but considering this is a show and defense doesn’t mean much, we expect team Curry to take the victory here.
Of course, nothing will come easy and there are going to be a lot of personal duels to watch throughout the entire matchup, but eventually we expect Curry to take a 165 - 157 victory in an offensive slugfest.