Choosing sides: Mock 2018 All-Star Game draft

Adrian Dy on Jan 25, 2018 09:23 AM
Choosing sides: Mock 2018 All-Star Game draft
FILE - CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors shake hands before Game Six of the 2015 NBA Finals at The Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

The NBA is adopting a new format for the All-Star Game. This year, LeBron James and Stephen Curry will draft squads from players chosen by fans and coaches, instead of the traditional East/West splits.

Because the draft won't be televised, it's especially fun to imagine how the two superstars will go about selecting their teammates. Will they stick close to guys they normally play with? Embrace the various mini-rivalries that exist in the league? Line up with prospective free agents for a possible glimpse of the future?

As such, we decided to do a little mock draft, and come up with teams on our own. NBA PH blogger Enzo Flojo will step into LeBron James' shoes, while I'll select guys for Stephen Curry's squad. Here are the results:

STARTERS DRAFT

(1) LeBron - Kevin Durant -- We’ve all dreamt of having the two best forwards in the game play alongside each other, and this is the chance to make it so! This is the very definition of explosive!!!

(2) Steph - Giannis Antetokounmpo -- Well, as Curry himself said, he doesn’t want the Greek Freak dunking on him again. But for practical purposes, Giannis also gives his team someone who can theoretically bother both LeBron AND Durant, so he’ll certainly come in handy.

(3) LeBron - James Harden -- LBJ + KD + the Beard. The combined star power of this trio is out of this world, and it’ll be hella fun to watch! We have three legit MVP candidates on one side of the ball, and it should make for some amazing highlight-reel-worthy plays.

(4) Curry  - Anthony Davis -- The big fella took home ASG MVP honors last year in New Orleans, and I think he can put on another show. He can score from anywhere on the court, but his defense, particularly his rim-protecting skills, will definitely give LBJ and company something to think about.

(5) LeBron - Joel Embiid -- Embiid may not be as big of a star as LBJ, KD, or Harden, but he’s certainly chock-full of character. Given his size and skill-set, he can hold his own among the elite of this year’s ASG, and he’ll definitely do something that will make Twitter go boom!

(6) Curry - Kyrie Irving -- This season has been about Irving come out from underneath LeBron’s shadow, and what better way for him to illustrate that (well, aside from ousting him from the East Playoffs) than to go up against him in the ASG and do some serious damage?

(7) LeBron - DeMar DeRozan -- He has been having an absolutely marvelous season for Toronto, and he will surely give LeBron’s team a helluva great option at the wings. His athleticism and ability to finish in the open court make him a prime target for transition hook-ups with either LBJ or the Beard!

(8) Curry - DeMarcus Cousins -- Team Curry will have some built-in chemistry, as we’re able to snap up both of the big men. Cousins didn’t play a whole lot last ASG, prior to being traded, so maybe he'll look to make up for lost time in LA.

RESERVES DRAFT

(1) Curry - Draymond Green -- I know, I know, these All-Star Games are defense-optional, but having someone who can play defense on literally everyone on the other side, and run the offense as well, would be a huge asset. Also, Draymond (jokingly???) said that if Curry wouldn’t pick him, he’d stop setting screens for him in Golden State and ask for a trade.

(2) LeBron - Russell Westbrook -- Let’s complete the OG OKC trio by adding Jet Zero to the mix. Sure, things may get more than a bit awkward between him and used-to-be-old-buddy KD, but that potential drama should make for a number of interesting sidestories to the ASG. And, well, you know, Russ can play like a friggin’ beast.

(3) Curry - Klay Thompson -- Well, three out of four Warriors isn’t so bad. The Splash Brothers stay together, and we get another terrific two-way threat, one capable of shutting down guards and exploding for multiple long-bombs. Plus, he too (jokingly???) said that he’d ask for a trade if Curry doesn’t snatch him up. With teammates like that...

(4) LeBron - Karl-Anthony Towns -- There’s no other way for LBJ to team up with KAT, so we just have to pick him here. They play in different conferences, and they cannot be on Team USA, since KAT plays for the Dominican Republic, so this pick makes for a uniquely sublime pairing.

(5) Curry - Kristaps Porzingis -- The Zinger should be looking to make a big impact in his first All-Star Game, and pairing him up with the "original" unicorn in Davis makes for a very, very scary frontcourt.

(6) LeBron -- Damian Lillard -- Dame Dolla returns to the ASG after missing it in 2016 and 2017, and he should be playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Team LeBron needs a couple of star PGs to try and match up with Curry and Kyrie, and Dame + Russ should be hella solid for this squad.

(7) Curry - Victor Oladipo - Another ASG first-timer, and probably the most unlikely one. Jump into a time machine and hop back to August 2017 and tell someone that Oladipo would be an All-Star and see the looks you’d get. But he’s been legit balling for the Pacers, and it seems natural to him against former teammate Westbrook.

(8) LeBron - LaMarcus Aldridge -- Size hasn’t been Team LeBron’s main strength up to this point, so drafting the versatile LMA makes a lot of sense. He’s no walking, talking highlight reel like Embiid, but he’ll put the ball in the bucket and give guys like LBJ and James another prime target for those dimes.

(9) Curry - Jimmy Butler -- While the future of the Timberwolves is KAT, their present is embodied by Butler, who does everything coach Tom Thibodeau wants on the court. A terrifying two-way player, his biggest asset has been his ability to score in the clutch for the Timberpups, and so if this game goes down to the wire, we may just have to call upon that ability from Jimmy Buckets.

(10) LeBron - John Wall -- Speed kills, and in this ASG hardly anyone will be as fast as Wall baseline-to-baseline. He also gives Team LeBron another great playmaker who can find guys like KD, Embiid, and KAT in easy spots to score. Watch those lobs fly courtesy of John Wall!

(11) Curry - Kevin Love -- Poor Kevin Love has taken quite the beating lately. He was placed under the spotlight in a recent team meeting, when the Cavs questioned his abrupt exit from last week’s Thunder game, and against the Spurs, it was hard not to notice his teammates failing to pick him up off the court after a fall. So think of this as a sort of what-if scenario, showcasing how he would have fit alongside Curry, had Golden State swapped Klay for him, way back in Steve Kerr’s first year.

(12) LeBron - Al Horford -- I love how we can pair the two best Dominican Republic players on this team. I’d like to see both Big Al and KAT play on the floor together and rep their home country. Sure, Horford isn’t exactly oozing with athleticism, but he gives this squad much-needed toughness in the middle opposite the likes of Cousins, Davis, and Green.

(13) Curry - Kyle Lowry -- I just belated noticed that aside from my two starters in Curry and Kyrie, I didn’t have any other point guards! Luckily, Kyle Lowry is still on the board. A tough competitor with a knack for hitting big shots, he’s also become more comfortable distributing the ball, as seen in Toronto’s new approach to offense this season.

(14) LeBron - Bradley Beal -- Team Curry has a bevy of great shooters, and we will round out Team LeBron with one of the sharpest snipers in the entire Association. The 24-year-old has been putting up career-highs in scoring, rebounding, and assists all while making 2.4 threes per ballgame. He, KD, and James should spread the floor really well for Team LeBron.

Team LeBron

Starters: LeBron James (CLE), Kevin Durant (GSW), James Harden (HOU), DeMar DeRozan (TOR), Joel Embiid (PHI)

Reserves: Bradley Beal (WAS), Al Horford (BOS), John Wall (WAS), Russell Westbrook (OKC), Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN), LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS), Damian Lillard (POR)

Team Curry

Starters: Stephen Curry (GSW), Kyrie Irving (BOS), Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL), DeMarcus Cousins (NOP), Anthony Davis (NOP)

Reserves: Draymond Green (GSW), Klay Thompson (GSW), Jimmy Butler (MIN), Kevin Love (CLE), Kyle Lowry (TOR), Victor Oladipo (IND), Kristaps Porzingis (NYK)

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