The 2018 NBA All-Star Game ballot is in, and the captains are exactly who you’d expect to reflect sheer dominance in each conference.
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry were voted captains for the reinvented All-Star Game and will pick their own teams from a pool of players chosen by the fans, media and head coaches. Here are the other eight starters:
Curry was named the Western Conference captain after hauling in 2,379,494 fan votes (less than 100,000 more than Kevin Durant). He has helped lead the Warriors to the best record in the West while averaging 27.6 points and 6.5 assists on near-legendary shooting percentages of 49 percent from the field, 41 percent from three and 91 percent from the foul line.
Curry was voted a captain despite missing 17 games with an ankle sprain.
James tallied the most All-Star votes with 2,638,294 and for good reason: He’s been the most dominant player in the league this decade. The King is averaging 27.7 points in his best three-point shooting season to date, along with 8.8 assists, eight rebounds, 1.7 steals and a block per game. His Cavaliers may be in the midst of a midseason slump, but you had better believe Cleveland is the favorite to return to the NBA Finals for the fourth season in a row.
What are the team captains doing?
I’m glad you asked. This is the first year the NBA is doing this kind of All-Star Game layout, and if it’s successful, commissioner Adam Silver says the league will add to it and watch it evolve over the years.
Instead of the normal East vs. West All-Star layout you’re accustomed to, the NBA went with a pick-up game style draft. Now Curry and James will pick their own teams — be their own GMs, if you will — to go head-to-head during All-Star weekend.
Here’s what we know about the draft:
The starters will be chosen by a combination of 50 percent fan vote, 25 percent media vote, and 25 percent player vote. The captains will choose their starters from the pool of eight remaining players who have amassed the most total votes in the league.
In the second All-Star voting returns — aside from Curry and James — James Harden, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and Draymond Green were the leading vote-getters out West, while Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid were the leading All-Stars in the East.
The reserves will be chosen by the NBA head coaches. There will be 14 reserves, or seven for each team, and the captains will choose from this pool.
The All-Star teams will also play for local charities with all donations from the event forwarded to local efforts, per the league’s release.
Will this draft be televised?
Nope. John Wall felt the league’s players are all “grown men” and can handle being skipped over on live TV during an All-Star draft. But Silver erred on the side of caution and didn’t want to put the players in a compromising position to pick one player over another.
Instead, the final All-Star rosters will be announced at some point before the All-Star Game tips off in Los Angeles on Feb. 18.
Live draft or not, this is something you’re not going to want to miss.