All-Star starters announced, other fields rounding out & Point God
All-Star Game starters revealed
The 10 starters for the NBA’s All-Star Game have been announced and the various conversations have started.
Forwards LeBron James and Kevin Durant were named captains of the two teams.
It’s the fifth time James has been named a captain, serving in the role in every season since adopting the playground-style rules.
For Durant, it’s his second straight captain selection.
James is making his 18th straight all-star appearance, becoming the second player to ever do so behind Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 19.
In those 17 previous appearances, James has taken home All-Star Game MVP honors three separate times.
Durant is making his 12th all-star appearance with two All-Star Game MVP trophies to his credit.
However, Durant won’t play in the game as he recovers from a knee injury.
The rest of the starters from the Western Conference features former MVPs Steph Curry and Nikola Jokic and first-timers Ja Morant and Andrew Wiggins.
It’s the eighth appearance for Curry and his eighth start while Jokic is making his second straight start in his four appearances.
Morant and Wiggins will be starting in their first respective all-star appearances.
The Eastern Conference starters include forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, center Joel Embiid and guards Trae Young and DeMar DeRozan.
Reigning All-Star Game MVP, Antetokounmpo, is making his sixth start in as many appearances in the event.
Embiid is as well however, in one less appearance.
The guards have differing stories as Young is making his second start for his second all-star appearance while DeRozan is returning to the starting lineup.
DeRozan, a five-time all-star, is making his third start in the game but his first since 2018.
Aging like fine wine, point guard Chris Paul has appeared to find the fountain of youth.
Where to start.
The revenge tour for the Phoenix Suns has started about as well as anyone could have hoped for.
Phoenix is 41-9 currently, good for first in the Western Conference. This is the best start in franchise history for the squad.
Not to mention, the team is on an 11-game win streak after winning 18 straight between November and December of 2021.
Or how about the fact that Paul is averaging 21.8 points per game over the last five games.
Why is that important? Because it’s the first time that Paul has scored 20 or more points in five straight games since December of 2017.
In addition, he’s averaging 13 assists per game during that stretch.
Or how about the fact that Paul has played in all 50 games for the Suns.
He hasn’t played in a full 82-game season since 2014-15 with the Los Angeles Clippers. That’s the only time he’s accomplished the feat in his 17-year career.
All-Star field beginning to round out
Over the next couple of weeks, the all-star field, in all capacities, will begin to fill out.
As of now, the dunk contest is the first to round out.
Rookie guard Jalen Green enters as Houston’s high-flyer whose head exceeds the rim on nearly every dunk attempt.
He enters as the first G League Ignite player to take part in the event.
Second-year forward Obi Toppin has the liberty of being a New York native playing his home games at Madison Square Garden with the Knicks.
He casually pulls out a 360 dunk with flare or a between-the-legs tomahawk flush midgame and has the liberty of participating in the dunk contest last season.
Fellow second-year forward Juan Toscano-Anderson is one of The Bay’s proudest members, good for putting people on posters for daring to jump with him.
He even put center JaVale McGee on a highlight so nice this season that the dunkee signed the poster for the dunker.
Second-year guard Cole Anthony is probably entering as an underdog for many but it’s not an unfamiliar spot for his professional career playing in Orlando.
He will enter as the smallest player in the field at 6’3, 185 pounds but his stature could make his fireworks shine brighter on the big stage.
It’s his third contest since 2018 after winning his high school competition and coming in second in the McDonald’s All-American contest.
The contest will take place Saturday, Feb. 19 from the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio.