The NBA All Star teams are officially set. LeBron James and Stephen Curry drafted their teams for an ultimately meaningless game that will score over a combined 400 points and have no defense. Does this draft make the All-Star Game Great Again? No, but it does make it more interesting. Here are some of the winners and losers of this most recent change to the NBA All-Star Game.
Winner: LeBron James
If LeBron ever becomes a GM in a league where he gets the best players to choose from and no salary cap for an exhibition game, he is definitely the next Jerry West/Red Auerbach. Going straight down the roster LeBron has an objectively better roster, and it isn’t even close.
Winner: LeBron James’ PR
LeBron has caught some heat in the recent days for his Instagram post of the Young LeBron (Young King) speaking to present day LeBron congratulating himself on 30,000 points. It was like The Lion King where Simba is speaking to Mufasa in the clouds about life advice, but in his case, the present day LeBron (Mufasa) was writing in the 3rd person as Simba (Young King), to speak and congratulate Mufasa on his accomplishments as King. Really well done, in a way LeBron only can. With all the heat he got for the Kyrie disaster LeBron has offered an olive branch by selecting him to be on his team. Does this fix their relationship? Who knows, but that gets me to my next point: LEBRON TOOK KD AND RUSS. In the way LeBron loves to troll and subtweet he pulled the ultimate one on Kevin Durant here. He took KD first, and I would put all of my money on the fact that he made Russ his first reserve pick. What a play. Lastly, LeBron is sending a big “HEY DO THIS AT THE DEADLINE” to his front office in selecting Boogie Cousins. After tweeting out congratulations to Boogie’s 40 20 and 10 night, he selected him to his team. Unfortunately for LeBron however, Boogie’s recent injury is going to leave him on the sideline for the All-Star Game and the rest of the season.
Loser: Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant was no doubt the first pick of this draft. That is the only explanation for him being the only Warrior not on Steph’s team. He is left out of #TeamSteph and has to play again with Russ? This is literally the worst combination for the wannabe newest villain of the NBA. With KD’s new fake persona of a bad boy attitude he’ll probably get ejected in the All Star Game so he doesn’t have to deal with the fact that he doesn’t get to play with Klay Steph and Draymond and has to play with Russ again.
With the influx of players’ only meetings in recent weeks (Cavaliers, Wizards, Lakers) if the players were hoping to get away from the guys in their locker room over the All Star Break that definitely did not happen. Steph chose 2 of his teammates and Jimmy Butler/Karl Anthony-Towns and Kyle Lowry/DeMar Derozan, LeBron chose Kevin Love and teammate pairs of Anthony Davis/Boogie, and John Wall/Bradley Beal. Now I get it, not all locker rooms go through the plague every January like the Cavaliers do (this year being especially bad) but if there was any desire to play with different guys than your own teammates, LeBron and Steph didn’t let that happen.
Loser: The Fans
WHY WAS THIS NOT TELEVISED?! Huge missed opportunity by the league. Watching how these teams were selected would have allowed for the fans to not have to speculate as to who was chosen where and why and if LeBron really wanted Kyrie and if Steph just let KD get selected by LeBron. There is so many storylines that could have been, but maybe that is part of the reason they didn’t televise it: It keeps the fans wondering, creating conversations by leaving it unknown.
Final Grades: LeBron (A-) Steph (C) Draft (Incomplete)
I already broke down the teams so the grades should be self-explanatory. LeBron won the draft, Steph got his guys, and nobody saw how it really went down. I gave the draft an incomplete because there are definitely ways it could be improved, but it is better than the past years. The voting needs to be improved but this is a step in the right direction for bringing more energy around the game itself. What would make it even better is taking the fans back to the grade school days and show these All Stars get picked. Show who is the hot shot on the playground and chosen first and who is the guy that has to be selected last. Even better: put all the guys in reversible practice jerseys and have them lineup at half court before the tip and do the draft 25 minutes before the game live just like we all played pick up ball on the black top.