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When: Thursday, January 24th, 7:00 PM EST
How (TV): TNT, TNT Drama (Stream)
It has been one of the NBA’s most exciting and closely contested seasons to date. Teams like the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks have risen to the upper echelon of the NBA while teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards have been utter disappointments compared to their showing last year.
Just past the midway point in the season, we now look toward a week of rest and celebration as we will be entertained by the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. Familiar faces like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and James Harden will lead the showcase itself. Meanwhile we will also be thrilled by the upcoming NBA Celebrity Game, Rising Stars Challenge, Skills Challenge, Three-Point Shootout, and Dunk Contest.
As is customary, the NBA will reveal its 2019 All-Star Starters to kick off the beginning of the festivities. We are going to look at the fan voting returns, rules, and standings in an attempt to predict which players deserve to start for their respective conferences.
As per NBA.com
Fans account for 50 percent of the vote to determine the 10 starters (five players from each conference) for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. All current NBA players and a media panel each account for 25 percent of the vote, with those voters completing one full ballot featuring two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference. Players may vote for their teammates or themselves.
Leading Vote Getter: LeBron James (Frontcourt) | Los Angeles Lakers
Head Coach: Steve Kerr | Golden State Warriors
Frontcourt Picks: LeBron James (LAL), Kevin Durant (GSW), Anthony Davis (NOP)
LeBron James becoming the leading vote getter is a no-brainer for today’s NBA. He is the leagues biggest star and greatest attraction. In addition, it will surely be unanimous amongst coaches that James be a part of the starting five.
Almost at his level is Kevin Durant; the two-time Finals MVP has put in a spectacular season to this point, especially in the absence of his teammates throughout the Warriors’ injury plagued first half.
Anthony Davis fills the final front court spot in the West. While Paul George leads him in votes in the Western Conference, Davis has been absolutely brilliant for the Pelicans despite a down season for the team. Regardless, it is more likely that the coaches will reward Davis’ individual accolades on a weaker team to push him past George.
Backcourt Picks: Stephen Curry (GSW), James Harden (HOU)
Stephen Curry is the force that truly drives the Golden State Warriors. He has revolutionized the way basketball is played in the modern age while improving on his previous season in almost every way.
James Harden has led the Rockets from pure mediocrity to a force in the Western Conference once again. After a tumultuous start to the year, Harden has been the leagues premier scoring model and is well deserving of a starting spot in the West.
Honorable Mentions: Paul George (OKC), Luka Doncic (DAL)
As per the third voting returns, George would actually be a starter in the All-Star Game. He has taken on a larger role with the Thunder in his second year with them, but the positioning of his team in the standings likely hurts his case compared to Durant.
Slovenian sensation Luka Doncic has been tremendous this season. Second in votes in the Western Conference – behind only LeBron James no less – Doncic’s appeal is duly noted. He is putting up impressive numbers, but this is a case of popularity over quality. Regardless, Doncic is clearly a star to promote going forward for the NBA.
Leading Vote Getter: Giannis Antetokounmpo | Milwaukee Bucks
Head Coach: Nick Nurse | Toronto Raptors
Frontcourt Picks: Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL), Kawhi Leonard (TOR), Joel Embiid (PHI)
Giannis Antetokounmpo is having an MVP-esque season. Trailing only LeBron James in votes for the All-Star game, The Greek Freak is a sure lock for the All-Star 2019 starting five by the fans and the coaches.
In his return season, Kawhi Leonard has reminded the NBA how much they’ve been missing when he was on the bench with San Antonio. His defensive prowess is as impressive as ever and he has shown a dimension of offence that he’s never presented before. With Kawhi Leonard, the Toronto Raptors are the Finals favourites coming out of the East.
Joel Embiid is having a dominant NBA season. He has maintained his defensive consistency while also putting up Shaw-Like numbers in the paint. While his shooting from range hasn’t quite been the same as last season, it has not hurt his teams success.
Backcourt Picks: Kyrie Irving (BOS), Kyle Lowry (TOR)
Kyrie Irving is leading a Boston Celtics team that entered the season looking like the favourites to dethrone the Golden State Warriors. While they have underachieved all season, Irving has been the one consistent factor for the Celtics all year long.
Two-time Eastern Conference All-Star starter Kyle Lowry returns to the lineup this season as predicted by WSN writers. While he’s missed eleven games so far this season, he has been tremendously effective for the Raptors. With the addition of Leonard to his team, Lowry has taken a backseat on offence and focused on playmaking to become the leagues second ranked assist man.
Honourable Mentions: Ben Simmons (PHI), Victor Oladipo (IND)
Ben Simmons is likely just as deserving of a starting spot as Kyle Lowry in the Eastern Conference. His playmaking is as brilliant as ever and he is the engine that drives the Sixers offence. While he is listed as a backcourt player on the ballot, Simmons has played the majority of his minutes at power forward and thus is in an odd position for this prediction.
Victor Oladipo is probably one of the NBA’s most under appreciated stars. After an injury plagued start to the season, he returned to lead the upstart Pacers to a top three start in the East. Unfortunately for Oladipo a scary injury against the Toronto Raptors will likely rule him out for a significant period.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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