OKC Thunder guard Chris Paul will join Team LeBron for the big show at All-Star weekend in Chicago.
Thursday night NBA fans were still assessing the trade deadline deals and in the case of the OKC Thunder lack of moves. Also making news was LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo selecting their All-Star teams in the schoolyard like pick-em.
As for the full list of 10 starters here’s where they landed:
The reserves were then selected with Giannis making the first pick and once again his hands were tied because both Antetokounmpo and James had to pick their teammates. That sort of gave LeBron the advantage because he got to pick Damian Lillard first.
Team Giannis Reserves:
- Khris Middleton (Bucks)
- Bam Adebayo (Heat)
- Rudy Gobert (Jazz)
- Jimmy Butler (Heat)
- Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
- Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
- Donovan Mitchell (Jazz
Team LeBron Reserves:
- Damian Lillard (Blazers)
- Ben Simmons (76ers)
- Nikola Jokic (Nuggets)
- Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
- Chris Paul (OKC Thunder)
- Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
- Domantas Sabonis (Pacers)
This reunites the banana boat and wine drinking buddies LeBron James and Chris Paul and the early read on the teams was LeBron has the stronger team given all the scorers on his side.
Giannis tends to pick players who “play hard” but is he forgetting this is more of an exhibition?
Looking over the duos from teams both Lakers and Rockets are on team LeBron and the interesting side note here is how Harden and Paul will get along having ended on not necessarily the strongest of terms.
Likewise, it’s funny both Dame and Russ are on team LeBron.
The duos who were split are the Celtics and 76ers pairs.
The fun part of the Giannis team is he has three duos who play for the same squad – the Jazz, Heat and Raptors with the coaching staff from the latter (Nick Nurse) also at the helm for his team.
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Already, social media is lit with fans speculating on how these Heat and Raptors specifically will utilize this All-Star Break and close proximity to Antetokounmpo to work him for next summer when he enters free agency.
And, while it seems Team LeBron has the edge offensively given the pure scorers on this team could Nurse try to get his side to buckle down and play more aggressive defense then we’re used to seeing during the All-Star exhibition?
As per my tweet, imagine if Nurse elects to utilize a lineup with Siakam running the point (something he occasionally does in Toronto) alongside a crew of Giannis, Gobert, Embiid, and Adebayo. All they would have to do is line up across the court and spread their arms. Their wingspans would likely be longer than the diameter of the court. In fact, Nurse could probably use just three of those players and accomplish the same thing.
We’ll see if Nurse uses some of his creative coaching to make an impact but on face value, Team LeBron sure looks to have the edge.