New NBA All-star Game Format Hopes to Add Some Life; MCHS Makes Predictions

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New NBA All-star Game Format Hopes to Add Some Life; MCHS Makes Predictions

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Via commons.wikimedia.org

Via commons.wikimedia.org

Collin Birge, Sports Writer

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There might not be any defense being played in the annual NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles on February 18th, but the teams will be very different from the past. For the first time ever, the all-star teams won’t be the traditional Eastern Conference against the Western Conference; instead it will be Team LeBron against Team Steph.

The NBA decided that the top two players voted in by the fans would be team captains, and in this case, it’s the four-time MVP and three-time NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers’ small forward, LeBron James and the two-time MVP and two-time NBA champion Golden State Warriors’ point guard, Stephen Curry. The rest of the players available for the All-Star Game are also voted in by the fans but are set in a pool for LeBron and Steph to draft for their teams.

The captains decided who would get the first pick by coin flip, and it was James who got to go first. He selected Warriors small forward Kevin Durant; then Steph Curry followed by selecting Milwaukee Bucks small forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the young and rising superstar who will make his second All-Star appearance.

James went on to select former teammate and current Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, and the New Orleans Pelicans twin tower front court of Anthony Davis, and Demarcus Cousins. However, February 2nd, Cousins tore his Achilles and is now out for the rest of the season. James then chose Thunder small forward Paul George to be the fifth starter to replace Cousins.

Lebron James via hurlburt.af.mi

Stephen Curry’s starting five consists of Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden, who many NBA analysts say is the favorite to win MVP, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, with Antetokounmpo and Curry rounding out the starters.

The reserves in the All-Star Game for Team LeBron include the reigning MVP, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis, San Antonio power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, and James’ fellow Cavalier teammate power forward Kevin Love. Also joining the squad are Indiana Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo (who could end up winning the Most Improved Player Award), and the Washington Wizards backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Curry’s reserves include fellow teammates Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns, and the shooting guard for Minnesota, Jimmy Butler, Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, Boston Celtics big man Al Horford. Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry finalizes Team Steph’s roster.
Instead of having a stacked Western Conference team compared to the Eastern Conference, this format provides the opportunity to even out both teams. Many view the west to being extremely superior to the Eastern Conference who only have a few of the top players in the league according to many. Junior and Madison Cubs basketball player,

“According to the new and improved lineups due to certain injuries of other players (Cousins), I think the talent that is now going to attend the All-Star Game will make more of a show that people want to see.”

Los Angeles is also a likely excellent choice to host the new format due to its large market and high profile. Subsequently, the format combined with the location could provide the broadcast of the game a ratings boost.

The Los Angeles Staples Center, site of the 2018 NBA All-star Game via commons.wikimedia.org

Stylistically, the game itself will have interesting dynamics. One of the teams have a lot of guards and shooters (Curry’s team) and the other has an overall balanced team (LeBron’s team). The game could turn into one team shooting long range three’s from halfcourt and the other showing off both their athleticism and shooting range.

“I think this new All-Star version will be better for the NBA and I think it will be a good game between both Team LeBron and Team Curry but I think LeBron’s team will prevail and beat team Curry,” Madison Cubs basketball player, junior Kodi Burkard.

“According to the stacked roster of Team LeBron, I think his team will win,” added Dennison.

The new format could inject some excitement in the all-star game amongst fans as well.

James said, “The All-Star game hasn’t been what it should be in the last few years. I’m going to take it upon myself, and obviously the rest of the guys to go out there and play the game the right way and compete. Our fans deserve it.”

Analysis: Overall, James has the better team just because it is way more balanced. James has more big men then Curry’s team. Even though Curry has more shooting dominant players,James’ team will dominate the boards. One thing to watch will be to observe James and Irving on the same team again after Irving forced his way out of Cleveland.

Another note: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will also join forces in the  All-Star game again, and it will also be interesting to view their on court relationship after rumors their friendship ended two years ago after Durant left the Warriors.      

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New NBA All-star Game Format Hopes to Add Some Life; MCHS Makes Predictions