The 2018 NBA All-Star Game is taking place on February 18, the final day of All-Star Weekend, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. This year the NBA, has decided to shake things up a bit. Instead of the traditional teams of the East versus West Coasts, Lebron James and Stephen Curry got to pick their own teams out of the players voted in by the fans. James had the most votes in the Eastern Conference and Curry had the most votes in the Western Conference, so they were chosen as team captains.
“I like East vs. West, but in street basketball, people play with team captains, so I like that better. LeBron James and Stephen Curry are two of the best players in the league right now and they deserve to be captains.” junior Kesi Harford said.
“It’s 50/50 now because before, most of the really good players were on teams in the West, so the game wasn’t as fair as it could’ve been. Looking at who won the past games, it was mostly the West,” junior Roberta Musonda said.
James picked up Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins as his starting five. His reserves are John Wall, Bradley Beal, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Victor Oladipo, Kristaps Porzingis and Russell Westbrook.
“He picked some talented players, Musonda said. “His starters are better than his reserves. I don’t see how they would work together, so let’s see how their chemistry will be.”
Curry selected James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid for his starting five. The rest of his team includes Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, Al Horford, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, Klay Thompson and Karl-Anthony Towns.
“I feel like they have a chance,” Musonda said. “I wouldn’t say their players are as strong as LeBron’s players. Curry’s starting five doesn’t seem as experienced as LeBron’s starters.”
While James managed to pick more veteran players, four of his teammates have been injured and will be missing the All-Star Game.Wall suffered a knee injury back in November and had surgery this past January, leaving him out of the game for about six to eight weeks. James’ teammate Love broke his left hand and will also be out for six to eight weeks. Cousins and Porzingis have both suffered from season ending injuries. Cousins ruptured his left Achilles tendon, and Porzingis tore his ACL in his left knee.
If a player cannot play in the All-Star Game, the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver picks their replacement. The replacement has to be a player from the same conference as the one who is unable to play. Silver chose Andre Drummond, center for the Detroit Pistons, to replace Wall. Paul George, small forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder, is in for Cousins. Goran Dragic, who plays both point and shooting guard, is playing for Love. Finally, point guard Kemba Walker is filling in for Porzingis.
Some think that Team LeBron is the underdog at the moment because his team lost a great deal of good players. The replacements still have a lot of talent, but will they be enough to win?
“With the original lineup, I felt like Team LeBron had a chance, but with all the injuries and replacements, not anymore. Team Stephen. That’s my team,” Harford said.
“There are pros and cons to both teams because of the injuries and starters,” Musonda said. “Team LeBron might have a harder time because you can’t play your starters for the whole game and many of his players are injured. I want Stephen Curry to win!”
Photo courtesy of The Orange County Register