- LeBron James chose Giannis Antetokounmpo with the first pick of the NBA All-Star draft.
- Kevin Durant picked his teammates Kyrie Irving and James Harden to his team.
- James is the betting favorite to win All-Star game honors at +475.
James is looking to stay undefeated as Team Captain. Team LeBron defeated Team Curry in 2018 when the current All-Star format was first introduced. Then in the last two seasons, James’ teams beat Team Giannis. The Lakers’ star got the right to pick first again this year because he was the top vote-getter in this year’s fan vote.
Last season, James picked Kevin Durant first overall in the All-Star draft. On Wednesday, LeBron drafted opposite KD in the 2021 NBA All-Star draft and LBJ picked the player whom he couldn’t pick the past two years because he was drafting against him: Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Bron Picks Giannis 1st Overall
With the 1st overall pick to #TeamLeBron in the 2021 #NBAAllStarDraft, LeBron James selects Giannis Antetokounmpo! #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/yG6xbElvP2
— NBA (@NBA) March 5, 2021
The Greek Freak was the obvious top pick in the All-Star draft. Antetokounmpo is the reigning back to back NBA MVP winner and one of the most dominant players in the game. Antetokounmpo is the league’s 5th leading scorer this season at 29.0 points per game and is the NBA’s 4th best rebounder at 11.7 boards grabbed per contest. Giannis is also averaging 5.9 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game in another brilliant all-around season.
After James picked Giannis, Durant countered by picking Nets teammate Kyrie Irving with his first pick. James then selected Golden State’s Steph Curry while KD went big by drafting newly minted MVP betting favorite Joel Embiid next. LeBron went international with his final two picks, choosing Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic to complete his starting five.
On the other hand, Durant’s third pick was Clippers’ star Kawhi Leonard and his next pick was the league’s current leading scorer in Bradley Beal of the Wizards. After LBJ completed his first five with Denver’s Jokic, Durant was left with no choice but to take up Boston Jayson Tatum, who was incidentally promoted as a starter as KD’s replacement.
Durant Picks His Teammates First
Unsurprisingly, Kevin Durant’s first pick for the reserves is teammate James Harden
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) March 5, 2021
While James picked the best player available with hid first pick in round one, Durant picked his Nets teammates first. After making Kyrie his first pick in the opening round, KD selected James Harden with the first overall pick in Round 2, when the captains drafted their reserves.
LeBron countered by making Damian Lillard his top reserve. KD then went with Suns’ hotshot Devin Booker who replaced the injured Anthony Davis. James then went with Sixers’ guard Ben Simmons, before completing his team by choosing banana boat brother Chris Paul, Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Domantas Sabonis, and Rudy Gobert.
Durant finished his draft by going young with Zion Williamson, Zach LaVine, Julius Randle, Nikola Vucevic, and Donovan Mitchell. Interestingly, Mitchell and Utah teammate Rudy Gobert were the final picks of the All-Star draft. Interestingly, the Jazz have the league’s best record at the break at 27-9 while James’ Lakers and Durant’s Nets’ are the Top 2 betting favorites to win the 2021 NBA championship at the best NBA betting sites.
One of the Best All-Star Games Ever
Played like a pickup game in the 4th.
New All-Star game format gave the matchup new life ???? pic.twitter.com/6Xs5unDSN1
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 17, 2020
Last season, the NBA altered the format of the All-Star game by honoring the late Kobe Bryant. The first three quarters are treated as mini-contests with the team scoring the most points after every 12 minutes wins the quarter and earns a prize for their chosen charity. A symbolic 24 points, representing Kobe’s jersey number, will then be added to the leading team’s cumulative score through three quarters to come up with a target score. The first team to reach the target score is declared as the winner.
The 2020 NBA All-Star game produced one of the best All-Star games in the history of the NBA. Because of the exciting format, the game went down the wire with the Lakers’ Anthony Davis winning the game with two free throws. Kawhi Leonard was named as the Kobe Bryant All-Star Game MVP after leading Team LeBron with 30 points while making 8-three pointers. With the reception of the 2020 game, the NBA decided to play with the same format this season.
This year, James is the oddsmakers favorite to win MVP honors. According to the BetOnline App, LeBron is a +475 to take home a fourth All-Star MVP award. James’ All-Star teammates Doncic and Curry are next in the oddsboard at +750 and +850, respectively. Giannis and Jokic are tied for 4th at +900 while Harden is the highest ranked member of Team Durant in the All-Star MVP oddsboard at +900 as well.