Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the team captains for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game after leading their respective conferences in voting, the league announced Thursday.
FILE PHOTO: Jan 21, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James watches the game against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Joining them as starters will be Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, Houston Rockets guard James Harden, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard and Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker, who is the only first-time starter among the 10.
The starters’ selections were a product of voting from the fans (50 percent), players (25 percent) and media (25 percent), with fan votes serving as the tiebreaker. George won a tiebreaker for the West’s third frontcourt starting spot over the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis, who finished third on the players’ and media’s ballots but fifth in the fan vote.
George was ranked fourth by the fans, players and media.
James, who has not played since Christmas Day while nursing a groin injury, and Antetokounmpo will pick their own teams on Feb. 7 in a draft airing live on TNT.
As the top vote-getter among the fans (4.6 million), James will pick first, and the two will alternate picks until the other eight starters have been selected. Antetokounmpo (4.4 million) will have the first choice of the second round, when the captains pick players named to the All-Star Game as reserves.
The reserves — seven from each conference, selected by NBA head coaches — will be announced Jan. 31.
James was also the top overall vote-getter last year, the first year of the draft system, while Curry opposed him after leading the West. Last year’s draft was not televised.
Curry and Irving finished as the top vote-getters among guards in their respective conferences, as both approached 3.9 million votes.
Each of the West’s starters have been named an All-Star at least six times, led by James with 15 selections. The East starters’ resumes are less decorated, with Irving (six selections) leading the way and Antetokounmpo, Leonard and Walker making their third All-Star appearances. Embiid will be in his second All-Star Game.
Three players who finished second at their positions in the fan vote failed to crack the starting lineups.
Dallas Mavericks forward Luka Doncic — second among Western Conference frontcourt players — ranked eighth on the players’ ballots and sixth on the media’s.
Likewise, the second-ranked guards in each conference — the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Derrick Rose and the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade — missed out. Rose ranked fourth on the players’ ballots and sixth on the media’s, while Wade ranked sixth on both.
The All-Star Game will be held Feb. 17 in Charlotte, N.C.
—Field Level Media