LeBron James went with his teammate as the top pick after all.
After previously joking he wasn’t sure if he liked Anthony Davis enough to make him with the No. 1 selection in the NBA All-Star draft, James made his Los Angeles Lakers cohort the first pick when teams were chosen Thursday. Giannis Antetokounmpo followed by selecting his “African brother” Joel Embiid with the second pick.
For the third consecutive year, captains chose the All-Star teams in a draft format. James and Antetokounmpo are captains for the second year in a row after leading their respective conferences in fan votes.
They chose among the starters first, then reserves. James rounded out his starting lineup with Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic and James Harden. The rest of Antetokounmpo’s starters included Pascal Siakam, Kemba Walker and Trae Young.
TRADE TRACKER:Breaking down all the deals at the deadline
DEADLINE RECAP:Winners, losers and the teams in between
James took Davis with the first pick for the second year in a row. Last year, Antetokounmpo joked that James was committing tampering by taking the Davis when he was a member of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Antetokounmpo later took a jab at Harden, last season’s runner-up in MVP voting to the Milwaukee Bucks star. With Walker, Young and Harden the remaining starters, Antetokounmpo said his choice was between Walker and Young. TNT’s Charles Barkley asked, “You don’t want the dribbler?” in reference to Harden. Antetokounmpo joked, “I want somebody that’s going to pass the ball.”
Antetokounmpo had first pick among the reserves and selected Bucks teammate Khris Middleton. James made Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard his first pick among the reserves.
After neither captain went outside his own conference when picking the starters, James and Antetokounmpo only deviated from the West and East, respectively, for three of the reserves.
“You kind of go for best available, but also who would fit the mode of your team and how you want to play,” James said following the Lakers’ loss to Houston on Thursday. “So that’s what it boiled down to.”
“There’s no wrong choice. We’re all All-Stars. They’re all All-Stars for a reason,” James said.
Added Antetokounmpo: “At the end of the day you cannot go wrong. They’re all great players, all great guys, and hopefully we can all have fun this weekend.”
Last week, the NBA announced format changes for this year’s All-Star Game on Feb. 16 in Chicago that include tributes to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. Team Giannis will wear Kobe’s No. 24, and Team LeBron will wear Gianna’s No. 2.
Changes to the game include turning each quarter into a mini-game for charity before an untimed fourth quarter to determine the overall winner. For the fourth, a target score will be set by the total points the team in the lead scored over the first three quarters, plus 24 in another tribute to Bryant.
Contributing: Mark Medina
Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.
Having the apt skills to play with words to put forth various updates and news relating to the field of technology in an interesting way has made Adrian is a contributor in our organization. He is dedicated to writing articles related to all the up-to-the-minute inventions, launches, updates, and much more happening in the world of technology. In his free time, Adrian offers a guest lecture to kids about the latest inventions.