LeBron, Curry named captains as ASG starters revealed

NBA.com Global on Jan 19, 2018 07:19 AM
LeBron, Curry named captains as ASG starters revealed
Photo c/o @NBAAllStar

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com

The voters have spoken.

Now it’s time for LeBron James and Stephen Curry to continue their rivalry and go to work as the captains responsible for choosing sides for the 67th All-Star Game.

As the respective ballot winners from the Eastern and Western Conferences, James and Curry will be charged with drafting the players who will compete in the Feb. 18 showcase to be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

James was the leading vote getter from the Eastern Conference. Boston’s Kyrie Irving, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo were also chosen as starters from the East.

Curry was the leading vote getter from the Western Conference. His Golden State Warriors teammate Kevin Durant, Houston’s James Harden and New Orleans teammates Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins were also chosen as starters from the West.

The starters, voted in by fans, players and a media panel, were revealed Thursday (Friday, PHL time). James has the first pick in the draft as the leading vote getter overall, while Curry has first choice of jersey color, due to the Western Conference having home team status for the game.

They’ll choose from a player pool that includes the eight other starters, with no regard to conference designation, and 14 reserves (seven from each conference), chosen by NBA head coaches.

The reserves will be revealed exclusively by TNT’s Players Only crew on Jan. 23 (Jan. 24, PHL time)

The newly formatted team rosters will be revealed on Jan. 25 (Jan. 26, PHL time) during a one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off.

Adding extra drama to the proceedings is the potential for some interesting pairings on the All-Star rosters, with friends, foes, rivals and stars from opposite sides of the conference divide joining forces in the All-Star Game for the first time.

The possibilities are endless, with current teammates Curry and Durant and Davis and Cousins possibly ending up on opposing sides as starters, while former teammates could potentially be reunited depending on how the draft plays out.

James and Irving played together in Cleveland for three seasons before a summer trade request ultimately sent Irving to Boston and shook up the order of things between the two teams that played in the Eastern Conference finals last season.

As always, elite scorers were rewarded in the starting group, with seven of the league’s top 10 scorers — Harden, Antetokounmpo, James, Davis, Durant, Cousins and DeRozan — making the cut.

A player needs to play in 70 percent of his team’s games to qualify for official league leaders. Curry (27.7 points) would rank third in scoring if he plays in the Warriors’ next four games and maintains his scoring average.

Notably absent from the starting group is reigning Kia MVP Russell Westbrook, despite the six-time Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star and two-time All-Star Game MVP averaging a near triple-double (24.8 points, 9.9 rebonds and 9.8 assists) for the second consecutive season.

Leading the list of potential reserves from the Eastern Conference are Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and Boston’s Al Horford.  

Leading the list of potential reserves from the Western Conference are Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler and San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge.

Sekou Smith is a veteran NBA reporter and NBA TV analyst. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

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