It is time for the NBA-All Star battle between the King and the Greek Freak to commence!
LeBron James had the first pick in the draft, Giannis Antetokounmpo gets the first pick in the second round and James got the first pick in the third round.
Picking out all the free agents of 2019 summer, it ought to spark controversy or rumors that his selection consisted of players he wanted on the Lakers team.
First Pick: Kevin Durant
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It is no surprise that James would pick his former USA National teammate Kevin Durant for the second time in the NBA All-Star game. Averaging 27 points together with six assists in his regular season, the former 2012 All-Star MVP and 2X NBA MVP forward has proven to be a formidable player both in and out of the Golden State Warriors.
For nine years, Durant and James had played spectacularly against each other which led to extensive development in their growth as a player. Having played together as rivalries and teammates, their on-court experience is a given duo advantage for this team.
“He’s one of the best players that I’ve ever played against, that this league has ever seen,” James said last year after Cavaliers had lost to the Golden State Warriors.
With chemistry and trust between James and KD, James was sure to pick him as his front guard in his battle against the Greek Freak.
Third Pick: Kyrie Irving
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Just when everyone was convinced that Irving and James would never be teammates again, the NBA All-Star proved otherwise. Known to be the Celtics’ starlet and three-point drainer, Irving would be a fantastic addition as a strong and reliable point guard to guide the team to the winning direction. Exceeding the NBA average with 49.8% FG and 40.7% 3-point figure and nailing 23 points, Irving will undoubtedly exceed expectations in the All-Star game.
James’ reason for his choice could have been the small reconciliation between them over a phone call apology initiated by Irving that paved the way for a new beginning for the two. Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see how their new start as All-Star teammates would play out.
Fifth Pick: Kahwi Leonard
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Pulling up a season-high 27 points and eight rebounds, Leonard has been soaring as a carrier in the Raptors. Having been picked by James, he must have seen the potential that Leonard can display on the court as a small forward.
Leonard can act as strong support for a team with huge personalities. However, with a sore left knee injury, we can only hope it doesn’t affect his performance in the All-Star.
Seventh Pick: James Harden
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How can we ever question the beard? It is obvious that King James would snatch the defending MVP and league’s leading scorer before Giannis does.
Taking off like a rocket with an average of 36.5 points and eight assists, it is strange to see that Harden was the seventh pick. Both explosive, dynamic and domineering on the court, and with more than four 40-point games, Harden is the perfect point drainer for James’ team.
Tenth Pick: Anthony Davis
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It seems like LeBron was not afraid to be bold and clear on showing how badly he wants AD on his team. Picking the Brow as his first draft for reserves, Giannis chided playfully, “Isn’t this tampering?”
The strong chemistry and trust between LeBron and Davis would be a given advantage to Team LeBron, enabling a powerful duo to spark once he gets off the bench. With a double of 29 points and 13 rebounds on average, MVP Davis is definitely starter player material when compared with the rest. However, with all the controversy surrounding his Pelican deal and LeBron “tampering” issue, it perhaps affected voting.
Twenty-Third Pick: Dwyane Wade
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Playing since 2003, the 37-year-old shooting guard’s is dropping 14 points and four rebounds this season. Although age is catching up far ahead of his usual prime form of 22 points average, the former twelve-time All-Star player is entering his thirteenth year and will no doubt an excellent veteran to warm the benches.
Former NBA Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, and USA National Team player, it is no wonder LeBron drafted him as a standby weapon for the game.
Second Pick: Stephen Curry
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Dishing out Chef Curry for the 3’s, the former six-time All-Star and MVP would be a solid shooting guard for Team Giannis. Ranked third in the league by total career regular-season three-point field goals made (2,347), and averaging 29 points in his regular season, Giannis indeed made a good and swift decision in picking Curry as his second pick to secure the perimeter.
Fourth Pick: Joel Embiid
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Welcoming another 7-foot giant alike himself on board, the one-time All-Star Cameroonian Center will be a domineering force in the paint both in the offensive and defensive play. With a double of 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds dropped on average, Embiid will be all out to grab boards and score in the post effectively for Team Giannis during the All-Star.
Sixth Pick: Paul George
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The six-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA Team selection, as well as a three-time member of the NBA All-Defensive Team, Paul George is a veteran to rely on. With 28 points (45% FG) and eight rebounds to go, the Oklahoma City Thunder small forward has been on fire with numerous 30-point games. Another point drainer, George is a solid addition alongside Curry for point draining.
Eighth Pick: Kemba Walker
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The two-time All-Star Hornets’ point guard who is averaging 24.8 points and 5 assists is given to Team Giannis as the last pick of the starters. Although James had picked Harden as the better of the two, Walker has been demonstrating spectacular plays in the current season. In attempts to single-handedly pull the Hornets out of their losses, the franchise player was able to put up monster performances of 30 and 40 point games to earn his spot in the 2019 All-Star.
As a point guard for the All-Star team, Walker will be needed to put up the same dominance in the court against Team LeBron as he has always for the Hornets.
Eleventh Pick: Nikola Jokic
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Standing at 7 feet, the 23-year-old Serbian Center was picked to play for the Greek Freak. Comparing between Jokic and starter Embiid solely based on their recent season, it would seem that Jokic deserves a push up to the starting line-up with his great season statistics.
With Embiid as an experienced All-Star, Jokic appears to be punching above his weight as he climbs his way up from a rising star to a potential MVP candidate.
With numerous triple-doubles in his recent games, alongside averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds, it is hard to see why he isn’t ranked as a potential starting player for the All-Star. Jokic is doing it with numbers we’ve only ever seen from Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Roberston and Russell Westbrook on a Nuggets team that currently has the second-best record in the Western Conference.
Nevertheless, Embiid still remains as the best big man in the game. He’s virtually unguardable on offense in the low post and has a respectable jumper from long range. Defensively, he’ll always be in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year.
Jokic would no doubt be a good rotation with Embiid in the All-Star.
Fifteenth Pick: Blake Griffin
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Making it into the NBA All-Star for the sixth time, his All-Star statistics of 21.8 points per game isn’t too far off his high league average of 26 points this season, which makes it questionable as to why he is only favorited as a reserve.
His drop to a reserve player could be due to a “Bleak” Griffin era. Ever since his trade to the Detroit Pistons, his alpha-dog presence is not doing much help to the Pistons’ performance due to mismanagement, poor roster and poor everything else. Leaving the Pistons’ in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, it is hard for Griffin to compete for the spotlight if there are other big names in the winning teams dominating the playing fields.
Despite this, he remains well-loved since his debut as the Rookie of the Year and is known for his all-roundedness as a player. Stretching beyond the scoring and rebound column, Griffin is creative with his plays and dominates the court. Thus, Giannis’ pick on Griffin as a reliable substitute to rotate with is certainly a great backbone for the reserve team.
Thirteenth Pick: Ben Simmons
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Drafted by Team Giannis but traded to Team LeBron.
Sixteenth Pick: Russell Westbrook
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Drafted to Team LeBron but traded to Team GiannisLeave a comment