The NBA’s best players will go head to head in this year’s edition of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
How The Teams Were Formed?
For the second straight year, the All-Star Teams were formed using a playground-style draft. The two top getters from each conference were designated as Team Captains and took turns in drafting players for their respective teams.
The 10 starters for both teams were voted upon by a combination of 50% from the fans, 25% from the players and 25% from the basketball media. The remaining 7 players for each team were selected by the league’s head coaches. Of the 10 starters the top vote-getter from each conference were then selected as team captains. On draft night, the captains first picked from the pool of remaining 8 starters before moving on to the second round where they picked from the pool of 14 reserves. This year, the NBA added a third round with the special addition of Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki.
This year’s All-Star draft featured the first ever trade between the two All-Star teams as Ben Simmons and Russell Westbrook were traded to opposite teams on draft night. Simmons ended up being part of Team LeBron while Westbrook wound up with Team Giannis when all was said and done.
Here are the final lineups for this year’s 2019 NBA All-Star Game:
|TEAM LEBRON||TEAM GIANNIS|
|Kevin Durant, Warriors||Stephen Curry, Warriors|
|Kyrie Irving, Celtics||Joel Embiid, 76ers|
|Kawhi Leonard, Raptors||Paul George, Thunder|
|James Harden, Rockets||Kemba Walker, Hornets|
|Anthony Davis, Pelicans||Khris Middleton, Bucks|
|Klay Thompson, Warriors||Nikola Jokic, Nuggets|
|Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers||Russell Westbrook, Thunder*|
|Ben Simmons, 76ers*||Blake Griffin, Pistons|
|LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs||D’Angelo Russell, Nets|
|Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves||Nikola Vucevic, Magic|
|Bradley Beal, Wizards||Kyle Lowry, Raptors|
|Dwyane Wade, Heat||Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks|
Team LeBron vs Team Giannis Odds
Odds from betonline.ag as of 2/15/19
Based on their selections, it was obvious that Antetokounmpo picked players who meant more to him while LeBron picked several upcoming free agents who could very well be the targets of the Los Angeles Lakers this summer. Interesting really.
Giannis picked Steph Curry first because Curry picked him first last year. For his first bench pick, Antetokounmpo selected teammate Khris Middleton over two unicorns ( Nikola Jokic and Karl Anthony Towns) and Klay Thompson. He then finished drafting by picking Raptors guard Kyle Lowry because he said, he didn’t want Lowry to be taken last. That distinction went to Bradley Beal after the Greek Freak chose Lowry.
As for LeBron, he picked Kevin Durant first and KD is going to be a free agent at the end of the season. LeBron closed out his starting five with Kyrie Irving, KAwhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and James Harden. Irving and Leonard are also free agents this coming summer while Anthony Davis is a known trade target of the Lakers.
Team Giannis has the best shooter in the game in Stephen Curry and the best Center in the business in Joel Embiid. They also have triple-double machine Russell Westbrook and potential triple double threat Nikola Jokic. Paul George is as red hot as Harden right now. Embiid drafter all the first-time All-Stars before trading one of them in Ben Simmons.
On the other hand, LeBron James stacked his team with sharpshooters in Kevin Durant, James Harden, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, and Bradley Beal. He also picked sweet-shooting big men in Karl Anthony Towns and LaMarcus Aldridge. James also added ultra-talented scorers in Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Ben Simmons and Anthony Davis. When you have this kind of firepower in a game that is played with little to no defense, you have a sure winner.
When you look at Team Giannis, the Greek Freak probably picked too many bigs. He has Embiid, Jokic, Vucevic and Griffin on hand and in a game that is likely to be a fast-paced run and gun affair, they may not have the speed and also the firepower to match Team LeBron’s armada.
I’m picking Team LeBron to beat Team Giannis at the 2019 NBA All-Star Game and cover the 5.5 spread.
Who Will Be Named MVP?
Here are the complete odds to win the 2019 NBA All-Star Game MVP. Odds were taken from betonline.ag as of 2/15/19:
|Giannis Antetokounmpo (GIA)||+600|
|Kevin Durant (LBJ)||+600|
|LeBron James (LBJ)||+650|
|Stephen Curry (GIA)||+700|
|Kemba Walker (GIA)||+750|
|Joel Embiid (GIA)||+850|
|Paul George (GIA)||+850|
|Kyrie Irving (LBJ)||+900|
|Anthony Davis (LBJ)||+1000|
|James Harden (LBJ)||+1000|
|Russell Westbrook (GIA)||+1200|
|Kawhi Leonard (LBJ)||+1400|
|Dwyane Wade (LBJ)||+2000|
|Ben Simmons (LBJ)||+3300|
|Blake Griffin (GIA)||+3300|
|Bradley Beal (LBJ)||+4000|
|Damian Lillard (LBJ)||+4000|
|Karl-Anthony Towns (LBJ)||+4000|
|Klay Thompson (LBJ)||+4000|
|Dirk Nowitzki (GIA)||+5000|
|LaMarcus Aldridge (LBJ)||+5000|
|Kyle Lowry (GIA)||+6600|
|Nikola Jokic (GIA)||+6600|
|Khris Middleton (GIA)||+8000|
|D’Angelo Russell (GIA)||+10000|
|Nikola Vucevic (GIA)||+10000|
Odds from betonline.ag as of 2/15/19
LeBron James was last year’s All-Star Game MVP after King James scored 29 points to lead his team to a 148-145 win over Team Steph. The last time the MVP was named from the losing team was in 1977 when Julius Erving took home the honors even if his East team lost 124-125. So if you’re with me in picking Team LeBron as your winner, then you might as well pick someone from his team.
If you ask me, I’m going with the league’s top scorer and the hottest player in the league right now. James Harden is simply playing at a different level and he’s one guy who isn’t shy to take the shots, perhaps even in an All-Star game like this. Harden’s won a handful or awards already including MVP and 6th Man of the Year. An All-Star game MVP would be a nice addition to his trophy case.
I also like Kemba Walker here but that is if Team Giannis wins, which I’m not predicting. In the history of the NBA All-Star game, 14 players have won the All-Star Game MVP award when playing in their hometown. With this game in Charlotte, I like Walker’s chances. Although his Hornets have lost four out of their last five games, Walker has scored 30 or more in each of those games. Expect him to try and impress his hometown fans.
But I think Team LeBron wins this and James Harden is going to keep on rolling.
I’m picking James Harden to win the 2019 NBA All-Star Game MVP.