28 - 01
By Guillaume Mahot
2018 will be a refreshing year for NBA All-Star Game. Exit the Est/West confrontation, exciting on paper but quite frustrating for a basketball fan who generally watches players scoring many points (around 200 per team on the last editions) for a travesty of suspense, both teams being devoted to spectacle, dunks and lay ups while neglecting defensive tasks. Many points, many terrific actions but no real stake nor interest, what the brand new version will try to fill in in the next month.
The 67th All-Star Game edition, located in Los Angeles, Staples Center, the 18th of February, is experimenting another perspective: both conference captains had to choose each team member (starting lineup and substitutes) amidst East and West franchises. If this concept is expected to give back credit to the most expected game of the year, it was also interesting to observe LeBron James and Stephen Curry build their teams. Irving with James? The Warriors altogether? What about Love? See the teams below, but note that DeMarcus Cousins was replaced by Paul George in James’s squad due to an injury that will take the Pelican away from courts until the end of season, a very bad news for New Orleans in the playoffs race.
Africa will be quite well represented in this prestige game since Cameroonian Joël Embiid (Sixers), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks, Nigerian origins) and Victor Oladipo (Pacers, Nigerian roots) have been chosen to compete. Embiid will be in the starting lineup of Stephen Curry.
LeBron James’s team:
Roster: Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins (replaced by Paul George, who may not be part of the roster, decision pending)
Substitutes: Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, John Wall, Kristaps Porzingis, Victor Oladipo, LaMarcus Aldridge
Stephen Curry’s team:
Roster: Stephen Curry, Joël Embiid, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Substitutes: Al Horford, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kyle Lowry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler