With superstar forwards LeBron James and Kevin Durant serving as team captains for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, both would get their chance to select their squads during Thursday night’s 2021 NBA All-Star Draft in a streetball-style All-Star Game format that remains highly popular.
LeBron, who finished with the highest vote count among fans, got the first pick in the draft and selected Milwaukee Bucks forward and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Team LeBron’s starting lineup for the game will consist of himself, Antetokounmpo, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic; all five of whom are or have been considered MVP candidates this season.
Meanwhile, Team LeBron’s bench will feature Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons, Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown, Los Angeles Clippers wing Paul George, Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis and Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
Durant, opting for chemistry, selected Brooklyn Nets teammate Kyrie Irving with his first pick in the draft.
Team Durant’s starting lineup will feature Irving, Sixers center Joel Embiid, Clippers wing Kawhi Leonard, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.
However, Durant won’t be playing in this season’s All-Star Game, as he’s currently recovering from a left hamstring injury. This circumstance will only fuel the perception, even from the Greek Freak, that Team LeBron is the overwhelming favorite to win.
Durant got the first pick of the reserves in the draft, and with that, he took another Nets teammate in James Harden (LeBron’s first reserve selection was Lillard).
The remainder of Durant’s reserves will be composed of Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (who replaced injured Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis), New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, New York Knicks forward Julius Randle and Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic.
The two members of the Jazz, Mitchell and Gobert, were the last two players taken in the draft (with Gobert being the final selection).
This became the source of some playful quips by LeBron.
Team Durant has the more inexperienced roster of the two teams, with Williamson, LaVine and Randle all playing in their first All-Star Games and Mitchell, Vucevic, Booker and Tatum playing in their second. with Durant unable to play, Harden is the player with the most All-Star Games under his belt, with this being his ninth appearance.
Team LeBron has only Brown playing in his first All-Star Game, and Sabonis, Gobert and Doncic are playing in their second. LeBron also has the most experienced non-captain in Paul, who is playing in his 11th All-Star Game.
In total, Team LeBron has a combined 66 All-Star appearances on their roster compared to Team Durant’s 39 total appearances.
The NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, March 7, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The game will be broadcast on TNT, with tip-off scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.