The NBA All Star starters were announced this week. As always, there were some absolute no brainer calls, and some controversial decisions.
A reminder for the uninitiated, that the All Star starters are chosen by a composite of the fan vote, which makes up 50% of the final decision, a players vote makes up 25% and a selection of media have the final 25% of the vote.
That split has helped make the voting process fairer and more aligned with actual NBA basketball. No more crazy selections like Player McPlayerface or Tacko Fall, folks!
I've got some thoughts and observations on the final selections, but before I get to those, let's recap our All Star starters for 2020.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Captain) – Milwaukee Bucks
Pascal Siakam - Toronto Raptors
Kemba Walker – Boston Celtics
Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers
Trae Young – Atlanta Hawks
LeBron James (Captain) – Los Angeles Lakers
Kawhi Leonard – LA Clippers
Anthony Davis – Los Angeles Lakers
Luka Doncic – Dallas Mavericks
James Harden – Houston Rockets
Whilst the starting group of 10 are selected by conference, playground rules apply when selecting the teams themselves. LeBron James will have the first pick this season.
No Surprises in the West
The Western Conference offered little by the way of surprises this time around. The five selected are by consensus the five most deserving. If there is one quibble with the Western vote leaders, it's Kawhi Leonard. I'll admit that I'm probably nitpicking here, but Kawhi's for-the-love-of-God-please-don't-call-it-load-management has cost him 11 of his team's 47 games thus far. Is missing 25% of your teams games enough to raise any doubt about Leonard's candidacy? His numbers stack up, and he has been the undisputed leader of a stacked Clippers roster. He deserves his spot.
If for whatever reason Leonard – or any other player – didn't deserve their spot, then Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert should get the nod. The big Frenchman is putting up excellent counting numbers (15.7 points, 14.5 boards and 2 blocks) and is the clear league leader in screen assists. He remains the most dominant defensive player in the NBA. If he doesn't get an All Star berth this season, the Jazz should officially boycott the whole weekend.
To long lost All Star friends.
For the first time since 2009, the NBA All Star game will not contain Kevin Durant. We'll also miss Steph Curry, who has been an All Star every year since 2014. His Warriors teammate Klay Thompson has been a constant since 2015. This year, the All Star game will be missing all three, due to various injuries.
Those unfortunate ailments have robbed us of an awkward KD/Warriors reunion. That makes me almost as sad as the injuries themselves do.