Saturday, March 25

LeBron James, Kevin Durant Named Captains Again for All-Star Game as Starting Group Announced

LeBron James and Kevin Durant will once again captain the two teams in this year’s All-Star Game, as the NBA announced Thursday night the starters for its annual midseason showcase that will take place on February 20 in Cleveland.

James, who has now captained each of the five years the NBA has used this system to pick its teams, and Durant, who is captain for the second year in a row, earned the honor by finishing with more fan votes than either at their respective conferences.

James has now made 18 All-Star teams, tying Kobe Bryant for second all-time behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19).

Joining James as Western Conference starters are Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant in the backcourt, along with reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, of the Denver Nuggets, and forward Andrew Wiggins of the Warriors in the attacking zone.

From the east, Durant, a 12-time All-Star, is joined by Chicago Bulls guard DeMar DeRozan and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young in the backcourt, and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in the frontcourt.

Curry, now an 8-time All-Star, has helped Golden State return to the top tier of the Western Conference after two injury-plagued years that snapped the Warriors’ streak of five straight trips to the NBA Finals. Meanwhile, Morant makes his first All-Star appearance as Memphis, one of the most entertaining teams in the league, has moved into third place in the West.

Jokic, playing in his fourth straight All-Star Game, has continued to win last year’s MVP by averaging 26.2 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game for Denver this season, keeping the Nuggets afloat while missing Jamal Murray throughout the season. season so far. and Michael Porter Jr. for all but a handful of games. Wiggins, who is averaging 18.1 points per game and shooting 40% from 3-point range, will make his first All-Star appearance.

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DeRozan, who joined the Bulls as a free agent this summer after playing the previous two seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, has played a pivotal role in Chicago’s resurgence to the top of the Eastern Conference standings, earning consideration Most Valuable Player award thanks to his impressive decisive game while averaging 26.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists. Young makes his second All-Star team after averaging 27.7 points and 9.3 assists while posting career best shooting percentages of 45.3 overall and 38 from 3-point range.

While Philadelphia has made it through the season without All-Star guard Ben Simmons, Embiid has picked up the slack in spades, averaging points (29) and assists (4.3) per game, as well as a 3-point percentage (38). to keep the 76ers in the middle of the East playoff picture. And Antetokounmpo has been the one constant for the defending champion Bucks this season amid a steady stream of injuries and absences from COVID-19, averaging a career-high 28.6 points, 11.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game.

The All-Star reserves, who will be selected by coaches in both conferences, will be revealed next Thursday on TNT. James and Durant will then pick their respective teams, a format the league first instituted in 2018.

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