LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and rising second-year stars Luka Doncic and Trae Young headline the star-studded group of present and future superstars who make up the starters for the 69th All-Star Game.
James, the catalyst for the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers, will captain the Western Conference team for the second straight season. Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks’ star and reigning Kia MVP, captains the Eastern Conference team for a second straight season as well.
As the top vote-getters in their respective conferences, James and Antetokounmpo are the players responsible for choosing sides for the Feb. 16 showcase game at Chicago’s United Center.
A fresh face in the starters’ mix this season is Dallas wunderkind Doncic, who joins Houston’s James Harden as the two starters in the backcourt. Clippers forward and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and Lakers forward Anthony Davis round out the All-L.A. frontcourt.
Boston’s Kemba Walker is joined by Atlanta’s Trae Young in the East backcourt. Like Doncic, Young is a first-time All-Star and starter in just his second NBA season. Antetokounmpo will be flanked by Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, another first time All-Star and starter, in the East frontcourt.
Fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote to determine the NBA All-Star Game starters, while current NBA players and a media panel accounted for 25 percent each. James (6,275,459 fan votes) and Antetokounmpo (5,902,286 fan votes) led their respective conferences and position groups in fan voting. Doncic (6,111,735 fan votes) and Young (2,829,969 fan votes) also topped their respective position groups in fan voting.
The starters were revealed Thursday on TNT. As captains, James and Antetokounmpo will choose from a player pool that includes the other eight starters, regardless of conference designation, and 14 reserves (seven from each conference) chosen by NBA head coaches.
Doncic and Young finished 1-2 in Rookie of the Year voting last season and this season they are the only two players in the league to rank in the top five in both points and assists. They were traded for each other on Draft night and will be linked together throughout their careers.
They’ll share this milestone, playing and starting in their first All-Star Game. And depending on how the player draft breaks down, they could wind up on the same team.
Siakam’s meteoric rise continues with his starting nod. The winner of the Most Improved Award last season, he helped the Raptors win the Larry O’Brien trophy last summer while teaming up with Leonard. When Leonard departed for the Clippers via free agency, Siakam stepped into the role as the Raptors’ No. 1 option and has thrived.
The reserves will be announced next Thursday exclusively on TNT.
Miami’s Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, Washington’s Bradley Beal, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry lead the list of potential reserves from the Eastern Conference.
Denver’s Nikola Jokic, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Oklahoma City’s Chris Paul, the Clippers’ Paul George, Houston’s Russell Westbrook, Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell headline the list of potential reserves from the Western Conference.