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The reserves have landed.
Tuesday night, 14 players, chosen by NBA head coaches, were revealed during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET to play in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game with the previously named starters.
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Representing the East are the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal and John Wall, Al Horford of the Boston Celtics, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors, Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks.
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Holding it down for the West are the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green and Klay Thompson, LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs, Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Now that all the players have been named, it’s time to choose squads like they do it at the playground.
LeBron James and Stephen Curry, the Eastern and Western Conference team captains, will now pick the players for their rosters, regardless of conference affiliation.
Since James was the overall leading vote-getter, he’ll pick first in the first round from a pool of players that includes Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Kyrie Irving (Celtics) and DeMar DeRozan (Raptors) from the East and Kevin Durant (Warriors), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans) from the West.
With the collective personnel James and Curry have to choose from, the draft should be very interesting.
Too bad none of us will be able to actually witness it.
The final team rosters will be broadcast on Thursday during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.
But until then, there’s plenty of time to speculate on who’ll be picked where.
Don’t look now, it’s Mock Draft time!
Team James selects…Kevin Durant.
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This is an easy pick for the Cavs star. Sure, they’re rivals, but Durant is the proverbial No. 2 man, when it comes to the list of the best players on the planet. And hey, here’s some of that drama everyone talked about. Friend linking up with foe? That’s playground basketball baby.
Team Curry selects…Giannis Antetokounmpo.
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The two-time MVP has already said he’d pick the Bucks star if only to avoid getting dunked on again. But outside of that, he couldn’t pick a more versatile player. Antetokounmpo can do it all and he’s going to need to going up against James and Durant.
Team James selects…DeMarcus Cousins.
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Cousins may be known as a head case, but James is not afraid of a little thing like that. The simple fact is, Boogie can ball and he’s having the kind of season that can’t be ignored.
Team Curry selects…Anthony Davis.
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This is a smart defensive move. James gets Cousins, so Curry has to get a beast of a big man of his own. Davis, despite having to share the floor with Cousins in NOLA is having a fantastic year, too. He can score in bunches and he can defend with the best of them.
Team James selects…James Harden.
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Harden is a maestro with the rock and can score at will. What makes him dangerous now is that he can pass to the open man and is willing to do so. That’s the kind of player James wants to play with.
Team Curry selects…Kyrie Irving.
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Here’s more of that drama we promised. Curry and Irving have become rivals due to facing off in the NBA Finals three years in a row and Curry, despite winning twice, hasn’t been able to live down that game winner Irving hit in his face. Still, he wants to win this thing and Irving will definitely help him do that. Then there’s that whole enemy of my enemy is my friend thing.
Team James selects…DeMar DeRozan.
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DeRozan is another one of James’ rivals, but none of that matters when you’re trying to get the dub. The Raptors star is money from midrange and now he’s added a reliable three-point shot to his arsenal.
Team Curry selects…Joel Embiid.
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Embiid hasn’t been as durable as the rest of the starters, but when he’s on the court, he electrifies. With a post up game reminiscent of Hakeem Olajuwon and the kind of hubris that defies logic, Embiid is the kind of guy that will pump up the team and get them primed to put on a show.
Team Curry: Draymond Green, PF, Golden State Warriors
Team James: Russell Westbrook, PG, Oklahoma City Thunder
Team Curry: Klay Thompson, SG, Golden State Warriors
Team James: Jimmy Butler, SG, Minnesota Timberwolves
Team Curry: John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards
Team James: Bradley Beal, SG, Washington Wizards
Team Curry: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves
Team James: Kristaps Porzingis, PF, New York Knicks
Team Curry: Al Horford, C, Boston Celtics
Team James: Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors
Team Curry: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana Pacers
Team James: LaMarcus Aldridge, PF, San Antonio Spurs
Team Curry: Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers
Team James: Kevin Love, PF, Cleveland Cavaliers
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By the end of the draft, Team James and Team Curry should each have a team of 12.
The process for selecting head coaches remains unchanged. Like previous games, the Eastern Conference and Western Conference coach who clinches the best record in their conference two weeks before the game will earn a spot on the bench.
Boston Celtics’ Brad Stevens and Golden State’s Steve Kerr are both ineligible because they coached the game last season. Although the players will disregard conference affiliation, the coaches will align with the respective captain from each conference.
The 67th annual midseason classic, which will be played at the Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 18 (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT), will be televised on TNT for the 16th consecutive year.