All-star festivities are approaching quickly as the month of March is now upon us.
The conversation surrounding those who made the all-star reserves list and those who were “snubbed” is in full-swing.
Not to mention, the league just released its schedule for the second half of the season.
All-Star Game reserves announced
Recently, the NBA announced its reserves for this year’s All-Star Game.
The Western Conference added guards Chris Paul (Phoenix), Damian Lillard (Portland), Donovan Mitchell (Utah), forwards Anthony Davis (LA Lakers), Paul George (LA Clippers), Zion Williamson (New Orleans) and center Rudy Gobert (Utah).
In the Eastern Conference guards James Harden (Brooklyn), Zach LaVine (Chicago), Jaylen Brown (Boston), forwards Jayson Tatum (Boston), Ben Simmons (Philadelphia), Julius Randle (New York) and center Nikola Vucevic (Orlando) were added to the roster pool.
As it does every year, this year’s features some replacement players serving in place of injured stars.
Davis is still suffering from an calf/achilles injury and will be replaced by Phoenix guard Devin Booker, giving the Suns two all-stars for the first time since 2010.
Team-captain Kevin Durant will miss the game as well due to an injured hamstring as Indiana forward Domantas Sabonis will step in in his place.
Miami forward Jimmy Butler allegedly declined the opportunity to play in the game citing the absence of teammate Bam Adebayo.
Attempting to predict the ASG draft selection
While the NBA All-Star Game serves as the greatest pickup game on Earth, the recent addition of team-captains that pick their entire team from start to finish has created a new element of surprise.
From shocking comments or personal cheap shots to players trying their hand at general manager showing their respective teams who they should target in the trade market.
For that reason, I’m going to attempt to guess how this year’s draft process will go down.
James mentioned that he wanted Doncic to be his first signing to his signature shoe brand so picking him first in the ASG draft might be the next closest thing.
On the other hand Durant keeps his brotherhood with Irving fluid this season as they pursue a championship.
That move allows James to play general manager and gives the Lakers a chance to see what a pairing with Beal would look like ahead of the trade deadline.
Durant needs follow that pick with Curry, completing a backcourt with two of the best point guards he has ever played with.
Besides, there’s no way he would pick Antetokoumnpo on a team where he’d have the last pick of the starters and the first pick of the reserves (which more than likely will be Harden).
As the draft continues some of the bigger stories would be Team LeBron pairing together Paul and Booker along with gathering potential future heir apparents Simmons and Wiliamson and freakish leapers Mitchell and LaVine.
He also could get the chance to add Vucevic to his team giving his team another shot at a potential trade target.
Durant’s team is rounded out by teammates Leonard and George in addition to Tatum and Brown.
He has Western Conference MVP contenders Lillard and Jokic on his roster along with perennial Defensiv Player of the Year candidate Gobert.
There is also a chance we could see Durant keep the New York ties close and take Randle.
**Please Note: Domantas Sabonis was not drafted because he is replacing Kevin Durant and was therefore automatically selected to his team.
Second half schedule released
The NBA is expected to return to play on Wednesday, March 10 with a double-header when the Washington Wizards visit the Memphis Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks host San Antonio.
Some other key games to look out for include Boston going up to Brooklyn to play the Nets on March 11, those same Nets visit the LA Lakers on April 10.
In addition, the Lakers head to the nation’s capitol on April 28 to play the Wizards and perhaps renew the tradition of returning to the White House to celebrate the league’s most recent championship.
Other things to watch include two matchups between the Lakers and Clippers in LA, three meetings between the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers.
New Orleans is scheduled to be on national television 10 times while fans can catch rookie sensation LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets five times.
The play-in tournament ahead of this year’s playoffs is scheduled for May 18 through May 21.
In both conference the seven and eight seeds both have two chances to win one game to secure their playoff spots.
On the other hand, the No. 9 and 10 in both conferences must win two straight games.
The playoffs are scheduled to take place May 22 to July 22.