The 68th NBA All-Star Game will be held on February 17, 2019, where the NBA’s best will face off in a popular exhibition game. Last year, the NBA got rid of the traditional East vs West Conference showdown and instead had two captains to draft their own teams to face off.
Here is a quick rundown, the fans vote for each conferences starting lineup consisting of two guards and three frontcourt players, with the top vote-getter being selected as a captain. After the starters, coaches vote for who should be the reserves (two backcourt, three frontcourt and two wildcard players). The captains then themselves draft a team and they face off in the All-Star Game. A cool concept added, giving an interesting storyline heading in when it comes to the captains selecting the teams. Let’s hope that the All-Star draft will be televised this time around.
With the starting lineups set to released January 24, I decided to give my predictions for who will be selected into the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. The rosters are set for just East vs West to keep it simple, but ideally this would be the pool of players that the captains will choose from.
Captain: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
Every year, the Greek Freaks gets better and better. One of the front-runners in the 2019 MVP talks has made Milwaukee one of the best team in the Eastern Conference. Leading the team in scoring (24.6), rebounding (12.5) and assists (6.0) as well as contributing on the defensive end (1.4 steals & 1.5 blocks), Antetokounmpo is the clear leader and will be a force in the league for many years to come. Oh, and he is only 24 years old.
Backcourt: Kemba Walker, Hornets
Even though All-Star weekend is located in Charlotte, Kemba Walker deserves to be in the All-Star Game. The clear leader of the Hornets, Walker is averaging a career-high 25.2 points has had his fair share of high scoring nights throughout the season.
Backcourt: Victor Oladipo, Pacers
His career has gone from night and day since joining Indiana last year. The 2018 Most Improved Player has built off of last year and has made the Pacers a legit contender in the Eastern Conference. A knee injury during the season caused him to miss some time, but his near 20 points a game and leadership earned him a spot in February.
Frontcourt: Kawhi Leonard, Raptors
Last year was a disaster for Kawhi Leonard but one summer blockbuster trade later has brought the conversation back of Leonard as a legit MVP contender. His career high 27.6 points and 7.9 rebounds have helped the Raptors continue to stay in the top of the standings in the East.
Frontcourt: Joel Embiid, 76ers
Embiid is a monster, we can all agree on that. In his third year playing in the league, he is averaging 26.9 points and 13.3 rebounds. Along with the 2.0 blocks a game, he dominates on both sides of the floor. It may be early in his career, but you can make the case for Embiid is one of the great centers in the NBA. Along with Antetokounmpo, he’ll be an All-Star for years to come.
Backcourt: Kyrie Irving, Celtics
While the Celtics have not met expectations this season, there is no denying that Kyrie Irving is still one of the best point guards in the league. Outside of the 23 points he is averaging, he is also posting career highs in rebounds (4.9) and assists (6.8).
Backcourt: Bradley Beal, Wizards
Since John Wall was ruled out for the rest of the season, Bradley Beal has stepped up to become the leader for the Washington Wizards. Even though the team itself has not performed well, his career-high 24.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists should not go unnoticed.
Frontcourt: Jimmy Butler, 76ers
He started off the year in the Western Conference but after 10 games he found himself in the East and that probably has helped his chances to make the All-Star team. Butler has been a nice addition to the Sixers since joining the team.
Frontcourt: Blake Griffin, Pistons
Blake Griffin has really changed his game a bit since being traded away from the Clippers. Once a highlight reel for dunks, he has improved his all-around play becoming a more consistent shooter outside of the paint.
Frontcourt: Nikola Vucevic, Magic
People have been saying for years Nikola Vucevic is one of the more underrated players in the NBA and should be in consideration for an All-Star spot. There is no better time to have him in that now. He is averaging career highs in points (20.1) and rebounds (12.0) while also becoming a more efficient three-point shooter. He has been a consistent starter for the past seven years in Orlando, it is time he gets his All-Star moment.
Wildcard: Ben Simmons, 76ers
Okay, he does not shoot outside of the paint and has yet to attempt a three-point shot this year. Still, he is playing to his strengths and keeping the Sixers on top of the East so it is a good thing. His near average triple-double (16.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.2 assists) no doubt earns him a spot on the All-Star Roster.
Wildcard: D’Angelo Russell, Nets
It was a toss-up for me as to who would be in the final spot as I also considered Kyle Lowry and Zach LaVine for the East side but I am giving it to D’Angelo Russell. The Brooklyn Nets surprisingly have been great this season and Russell is one of the reasons why. The Nets are currently the 6th seed at the time this article goes out and is averaging a career-high 19.0 points this season.
Captain: LeBron James, Lakers
He may be hurt, but LeBron James is still one of the best players in the NBA. His switch over to the Lakers immediately makes them a playoff contender and for the first time looks to be an All-Star representing a Western Conference team.
Backcourt: Stephen Curry, Warriors
One of the best shooters we have seen has somehow gotten better at shooting the three ball. He may have missed a few games during the early part of the year but with the popularity he has and his continued domination at the three-point shot, it is a guarantee he makes the team.
Backcourt: James Harden, Rockets
Last years MVP has not missed a beat and looks to continue his impressive play from a season ago. He is one of the best scorers we have ever seen and is pretty much a lock to be in the starting lineup once again for All-Star Weekend.
Frontcourt: Kevin Durant, Warriors
Much like Curry, Kevin Durant is pretty much a guaranteed Warriors to join the starting lineup in the All-Star. His 28.1 scoring average is his best since joining the Bay Area.
Frontcourt: Anthony Davis, Pelicans
A case for the best big man in the NBA and a constant staple in the MVP talks, there is no question Davis is in the All-Star Game once again. His 29.3 points so far is a career high, not to mention is a matchup nightmare on both ends of the court.
Backcourt: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers
One of the top point guards in the league, Damian Lillard continues to score on a nightly basis. A leader for the Blazers, Lillard is one of the reasons Portland is always in the playoff picture.
Backcourt: Russell Westbrook, Thunder
Despite off-season knee surgery, Russell Westbrook is once again averaging a triple-double for the third straight season. He is also leading the NBA in steals with 2.5 per game, showing that he can get it done on the defensive end as well.
Frontcourt: Paul George, Thunder
Last year, many thought that his one-year with the Thunder was just a trial run until he leaves for free agency but now he is in Oklahoma City for the long haul. It was the right call for him, as he and Westbrook have been a nice 1-2 punch for the Thunder.
Frontcourt: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets
Nikola Jokic can do it all. Points, rebounds, assists you to name it, he fills the box score up. Jokic has developed nicely in his fourth year with the Nuggets and should make his first All-Star appearance in 2019. Add in the fact that he has the Denver Nuggets as a legit contender in the West, Jokic is more than worthy of an appearance.
Frontcourt: Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves
KAT had a slow start this season but turned things around once Jimmy Butler was traded away. At 23-years-old, he is the face of the Timberwolves franchise. A constant double-double machine, Towns is one of the best big men the league has.
Wildcard: Klay Thompson, Warriors
Klay Thompson has had a productive season so far, including a game where he scored 43 points against the Knicks using only FOUR dribbles. Despite being behind the likes of Curry and Durant, Thompson has his moments and will look to add another All-Star appearance to his resume.
Wildcard: DeMar DeRozan, Spurs
After nine years in Toronto, DeRozan was traded to the Spurs and has not missed a beat. He seemingly looks more comfortable in Gregg Popovich’s system and showed he is still one of the best two-guards in the league despite moving over to the guard popular Western Conference.