The rosters for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game are set and the snubs have been endlessly debated. Now it’s time for the All-Star Game draft, where LeBron James and Kevin Durant will be picking teams on the leading vote getters in their respective conferences.
The All-Star Game has used a draft format to pick the teams since 2018. Durant won’t play in this year’s game because of injury, but he will still be picking the team on Thursday night on TNT. Before the All-Star draft goes down, we asked representatives from our Los Angeles Lakers community Silver Screen and Roll and Brooklyn Nets community Nets Daily to make selections on behalf of their superstars.
Harrison Faigen and Sabreena Merchant made picks on behalf of Team LeBron. Chris Milholen and Matt Brooks made picks for Team Durant. Team LeBron got the first pick because he was the leading vote getter, while Team Durant will lead off the picking of the reserves.
1. Team LeBron: Kawhi Leonard, F, Clippers
In the three years LeBron has been an All-Star captain, Kawhi has been an All-Star twice. LeBron has picked him both times. Doesn’t hurt that he could be a free agent this summer, either
2. Team Durant: Kyrie Irving, G, Nets
Kyrie Irving is box office and the best point guard for the All-Star game to put on a show. He rises to every occasion.
3. Team LeBron: Stephen Curry, G, Warriors
LeBron has never had a chance to pick Steph before but as we saw on Sunday, they have plenty of mutual respect now. Now that we forced KD to pick Kyrie over him a second time, we’re comfortable grabbing the actual best point guard available.
4. Team Durant: Joel Embiid, C, 76ers
A stretch-five that can shoot is a great complimentary piece for our team, especially when he’s playing like an MVP.
5. Team LeBron: Bradley Beal, G, Wizards
A great shooter who is going to play this game like it’s his NBA Finals because it’s the most meaningful game he’ll play this year, and a potential trade target for next when he inevitably asks out? Is there anyone else LeBron would possibly pick?
6. Team Durant: Luka Doncic, G, Mavericks
A Luka-Kyrie backcourt is just a chopped and screwed remix of Harden & Kyrie (yes, that’s a Texas joke!)
7. Team LeBron: Nikola Jokic, C, Nuggets
The best passing big man ever to help this team run is an easy call.
8. Team Durant: Giannis Antetokoumpo, F, Bucks
Giannis adds a different element to our team as his length and versatility will compliment our offensive firepower. Good luck scoring at the basket against a frontcourt of Embiid and Giannis, by the way!
Team Durant also gets Jayson Tatum as the injury replacement starter for KD.
“A sleeper offensively for us,” says Team Durant.
9. Team Durant: Damian Lillard, G, Trail Blazers
Lillard probably should’ve been a starter in the first place, so this is a no-brainer.
10. Team LeBron: James Harden, G, Nets
Let us note that if NETS DAILY is breaking character and not doing what KD would do (take Harden), we can pick a guy LeBron never would just to point out that they apparently think Lillard is better. Possible closer for us.
11. Team Durant: Zion Williamson, F, Pelicans
First time All-Star’s want to prove they belong in the game, and that’s what we expect Zion to do. Keep an eye on the rim because there will be plenty of lobs. Oh, and just wait until we have Zion running point in the pick-and-roll…
12. Team LeBron: Devin Booker, G, Suns
LeBron gets his “most disrespected player” in the NBA, and we get a scorer who has caught fire in recent weeks.
13. Team Durant: Zach LaVine, G, Bulls
Zach LaVine not only provides us a bucket-getter but a box office show. He’s only one of two players in the East to average 28 points, five rebounds, five assists, and one steal while shooting over 50 percent overall, 40.0 percent from deep, and 80.0 percent from the line. As a first-time All-Star, LaVine almost assuredly put on a show to prove he belongs there.
14. Team LeBron: Chris Paul, G, Suns
LeBron can’t wait any longer before taking his best friend and all-time All-Star closing point guard.
15. Team Durant: Ben Simmons, F, 76ers
Ben Simmons will space the floor with his elite three-point shooting and top-notch pull-up abili––I’m kidding. He’s yet another player that adds to this team’s defensive toughness. Becuase that’s what the All-Star game is about, right?! De-fense! De-fense!
16. Team LeBron: Paul George, G, Clippers
LeBron would never have let his fellow Klutch guy Simmons go elsewhere OR pick Paul George in real life, but as the clear best remaining player available, we have to go with him here.
17. Team Durant: Julius Randle, F, Knicks
If you’re chuckling at a Nets blog selecting the first Knick All-Star in three years, don’t worry. We are too.
18. Team LeBron: Jaylen Brown, F, Celtics
We are bolstering our wing depth with a guy LeBron just said is one of the young players he respects most.
19. Team Durant: Donovan Mitchell, G, Jazz
Nothing says “give the Jazz the fuel they need to continue this hot start” like selecting the two Utah All-Stars in the final four picks of this draft. As blogs representing finals contenders, you’d think we would know better than to give a rival some ammunition in the second-half of the season. Also, Mitchell is absolutely awesome and adds yet another virtually unconscious heat check guy to the mix.
20. Team LeBron: Rudy Gobert, C, Jazz
A team with some of the best lob throwers in NBA history gets the player with the most dunks in the league by far (110, as of Monday). Easy pick.
21. Team Durant: Domantas Sabonis, C, Pacers
Sabonis is *checks Twitter* still grossly underappreciated and gives our group some bone-crushing screen-setting toughness, as well as versatility with his playmaking at the elbows.
22. Team LeBron: Nikola Vucevic, C, Magic
Sabonis avoids being the last All-Star selected two years in a row. Very kind of you, Team KD. Team LeBron is still thrilled to get one more capable big to work off their multitude of playmakers offensively.
Team LeBron feels comfortable that we stayed in character longer than Team KD did, when we assumed they’d take Harden first and we’d get Dame, and then all hell broke loose. We also feel like our team is pretty clearly superior, with the only possible quibble being Bradley Beal over Giannis, but while maybe LeBron would pick the latter, it seems unlikely give their cold war over the MVP races the last two years. And when in doubt, always assume LeBron is ready to tamper. But with both an elite small-ball group with our cadre of wings AND the ability to match-up with Embiid with the best offensive and defensive bigs in the league if Team KD stays traditionally sized, we like our chances.
We also mostly avoided the first-time All-Stars, so we know what we’re going to get from almost every veteran of this stage, with Kawhi, LeBron and CP all guys who traditionally take this game very seriously. – Harrison and Sabreena
All in all, this team is Built Ford Tough (possibly jersey sponsor?) with a cast of guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Domantas Sabonis, Julius Randle, Zion Williamson, Ben Simmons, and Luka Doncic. Seriously, good luck grabbing a single rebound against this group. But hold on! Just wait until we sprinkle in the heat check expertise of Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Zach LaVine, Donovan Mitchell, and Jayson Tatum.
We’re building on our model of continuous paint-protection by consistently featuring bucket-getters whose hands may catch on literal fire for minutes at a time thanks to their unshakable shooting rhythms. Team KD is basically the inverse Brooklyn Nets –– coasting on a strong bedrock of defense with just enough offense to come away victorious in the All-Star game. – Matt and Chris