Alternate All-Star Game: Team USA vs Team World
FILE - NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 16: Giannis Anetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans poses for a portrait during the 2017 All-Star Media Circuit at the Ritz Carlton in New Orleans, LA. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Everyone is stoked for the coming NBA All-Star Weekend and for good reason. The new format pitting Team LeBron against Team Curry in lieu of the traditional East x West mechanic is refreshing and intriguing. For the first time ever, we'll see LeBron James teaming up with Kevin Durant in an All-Star setting, and, interestingly enough, they will go up against Durant's current teammates, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. It's bound to be explosively entertaining.
At this point, however, let me posit something even more novel. What if instead of having two captains draft players for the All-Star Weekend, how about we have a USA versus the World scenario, similar to what they do now for the Rising Stars game? Let's take the very best American NBA players and pit them against the very best of the rest of the world.
It makes sense, especially since hardly any NBA players will be available to play for their respective national teams during the FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifiers windows and other international tournaments. By having a USA vs World All-Star set-up, the NBA is giving its fans something unprecedented at this level of basketball.
If that happens, how would each team possibly look like?
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) - The Greek Freak is a legitimate MVP candidate this season, and his inclusion in Team World is a no-brainer.
Karl-Anthony Towns (Dominican Republic) - Towns is one of the most versatile big men in the league, and he's a big reason the T-Wolves have been quite potent this season.
Joel Embiid (Cameroon) - Embiid's size, skill-set, and social media presence make him the perfect All-Star. He'll be awesome on the court and hella entertaining off it.
Nikola Jokic (Serbia) - The Joker has been this generation's Arvydas Sabonis, and his passing wizardry should make him a perfect fit for the natural up tempo style of All-Star games.
Nicolas Batum (France) - Batum has emerged as one of the most high profile international players in the league (look at that contract!), and his athleticism makes him a potentially high-flying All-Star for Team World.
Andrew Wiggins (Canada) - Wiggins has all the tools to be one of the NBA's biggest stars, and he has all the makings of someone who can shine on the ASW's biggest stage.
Marc Gasol (Spain) - Gasol won't run like crazy and jump for those beautiful lobs, but his inclusion is near-automatic, given his stature as being among the league's perennial top big men.
Goran Dragic (Slovenia) - The Dragon was nearly left out in this season's ASW, but he certainly won't be left out of Team World. He is maybe the best natural scoring international guard out there.
Ben Simmons (Australia) - Many consider Simmons one of the biggest snubs in this year's ASW, but he should be an obvious choice for Team World given his production and varied skill-set.
Dennis Schroder (Germany) - The "German Rondo" has the goods to make it as an All-Star for Team World, and he should prove to be a capable back-up playmaker to Simmons.
Jamal Murray (Canada) - Murray has been having a whale of a season for the Denver Nuggets, and his speed and shooting will be key for Team World's chances.
Ricky Rubio (Spain) - Rubio's play has been a significant factor in how dangerous the Utah Jazz have been this season. His vision and ability to execute thread-the-needle passes conjure past images of Jason "White Chocolate" Williams.
Kristaps Prozingis (Latvia) - Save for Porzingis's injury this season, he would have been an automatic choice for inclusion on Team World's roster.
Al Horford (Dominican Republic) - Horford made it this year because he was in the East, but if we're picking Team World, I think he'll be pushed out by other guys like Jokic and Gasol.
LeBron James - The King continues to reign, and his inclusion really needs no explanation.
Kevin Durant - The Slim Reaper should make his Nth All-Star selection and will be A LOT to handle for Team World.
Anthony Davis - The Brow should have a pretty good matchup against the platoon of bigs from Team World.
Draymond Green - Draymond will probably make someone mad, which will probably make Twitter explode. Gold.
LaMarcus Aldridge - Aldridge won't be high-flyin', but he deserves a spot given how he's carried San Antonio this season.
Paul George - PG is making it happen in OKC, and he will make it happen with his athleticism, shooting, and defense in the ASG for Team USA as well.
Andre Drummond - Detroit's beastly big should be a solid addition for Team USA given their needs at the slot. His rim protection and rebounding should be huge.
Steph Curry - Chef Curry with LBJ and KD? Man, that's sick, and it should be great basketball entertainment.
James Harden - Wait, Harden, too? Insane. That makes four Team USA guys who can maybe score like 60 in the ASG.
Kyrie Irving - Uncle Drew is a ball-handling wiz, and having him with Curry and the Beard in the backcourt will uh-may-zing.
DeMar DeRozan - Yes, DeMar is known for his midrange game, but what we want to see are his hops in the ASG. Jump, jump, jump, DeRozan!
Russell Westbrook - Angry Russ running with old teammates KD and Harden would make for a great #throwback moment, and I'd love to see him throw a few hammers down on Team World.
DeMarcus Cousins - Cousins would have been able to shore up Team USA's frontline better, but his injury sidelines him.
Kevin Love - Love's ability to stretch the floor would have been intriguing had he been healthy enough play.
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