Ryan Knuppel  |  Fri 15th Feb   | NBA

It’s finally here! Welcome back All-Star Weekend! The Celebrity and Rising Stars games are on Friday night, with the skills challenge, 3-point shootout, and dunk contest on Saturday.  Everything culminates with Sunday’s All-Star Game. What a time! Let’s break down the All-Star Rosters for you.

Team LeBron:

The most interesting thing about his team was how many impending free agents he selected, including Kawhi, KD, Klay Thompson, and Anthony Davis, who may be the most interesting selection of all. This is a team comprised of All-Star veterans, with the only first-time selection on his roster being Ben Simmons, a player who he shares a close bond with.

It’ll be fun to see him play with D-Wade one final time, who was elected to this game along with Dirk as a way for the NBA to say farewell. He’s back with Kyrie after their ugly breakup in Cleveland a few years ago, and some of his NBA Finals rivals also found their way onto his team in Klay and KD from Golden State and former Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

Now, this is a game that never features more than a few possessions of defense, so the score is probably going to be run up throughout the night. But there are plenty of big-time scorers on this team that could help them to random 15-0 spurts in the middle of the game.

Team Giannis:

I’d argue that Giannis’ team has just as good of a starting lineup as LBJ’s team—perhaps even more dangerous. While Harden presides on the other side, three legitimate MVP candidates are on this squad: Giannis himself, Paul George (who has been impressing people with each and every performance), and Stephen Curry, the greatest shooter of all time. Kemba Walker, who has been putting up wild numbers all year, rounds out their five-man lineup.

On this bench, we see four (!!!!!) first-time All-Stars, whereas LeBron’s group has only one. Nikola Vucevic, D’Angelo Russell, Khris Middleton, and Nikola Jokic will all be making their first appearance in an All-Star game. Now, a game with no defense played is going to be perfect for Jokic, who is an offensive juggernaut like we have never before seen in this league. The number of crazy things he can do with the basketball is going to be on full display for all of the fans to see, and it’s going to be marvelous.

It’s hard to predict just how many minutes Dirk will get since he was voted in as the honorary All-Star, but he’ll definitely play enough to throw up a few of the one-legged fadeaway shots that he has made himself famous for. Blake Griffin is having an extremely underrated season, so watch for him to tear the court up in his return to All-Star Game appearances.

Prediction:

The score of this game will probably show two teams with at least 155 points… but the winner will be Team Giannis, in what turns into a close battle down the stretch! Defense was played at the end of last year’s game, and the same trend will follow. Budenholzer and Malone will do a good job coaching.

Ryan Knuppel