The NBA held its fourth annual All-Star Draft Thursday night on TNT with the top vote-getters in each conference, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, serving as captains for their respective teams. Durant won’t participate in Sunday’s game due to a hamstring injury with Celtics forward Jayson Tatum replacing him in the starting lineup. As the top overall vote-getter with nearly six million ballots cast, James picked first, selecting reigning MVP and Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. Complete rosters are listed below in the order they were picked.
*Starters are denoted in bold
LeBron James, F, Los Angeles Lakers (17th selection)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee Bucks (5th)
Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors (7th)
Luka Doncic, G, Dallas Mavericks (2nd)
Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets (3rd)
Damian Lillard, G, Portland Trail Blazers (6th)
Ben Simmons, G, Philadelphia 76ers (3rd)
Chris Paul, G, Phoenix Suns (11th)
Jaylen Brown, G, Boston Celtics (1st)
Paul George, F, Los Angeles Clippers (7th)
Domantas Sabonis, F, Indiana Pacers (2nd)
Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz (2nd)
Kyrie Irving, G, Brooklyn Nets (7th)
Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers (4th)
Kawhi Leonard, F, Los Angeles Clippers (5th)
Bradley Beal, G, Washington Wizards (3rd)
Jayson Tatum, F, Boston Celtics (2nd)
James Harden, G, Brooklyn Nets (9th)
Devin Booker, G, Phoenix Suns (2nd)
Zion Williamson, F, New Orleans Pelicans (1st)
Zach LaVine, G, Chicago Bulls (1st)
Julius Randle, F, New York Knicks (1st)
Nikola Vucevic, C, Orlando Magic (2nd)
Donovan Mitchell, G, Utah Jazz (2nd)
FanDuel Sportsbook has installed Team LeBron as early 3.5-point favorites and for good reason. LeBron has yet to lose in this format (3-0 as captain) and the roster he constructed this year is a doozy, featuring a trio of former MVPs (James, Antetokounmpo and Curry). James entered the draft with a clear strategy, opting for continuity by choosing many of the same players that were on his team last year including Doncic, Jokic, Lillard, Simmons, Paul and Sabonis. LeBron must have a soft spot for Dame, who is headed for his third stint on Team LBJ.
KD’s draft haul includes three All-Star rookies (Williamson, LaVine and Randle) and four second-timers (Tatum, Booker, Vucevic and Mitchell), though he did well to snag Leonard, last year’s All-Star Game MVP and leading scorer with 30 points. He also earned valuable brownie points with his real-life teammates by picking both Kyrie Irving and James Harden. Durant seemed satisfied with his team overall, though he was visibly upset when LeBron stole Ben Simmons from under his nose.
Despite owning the NBA’s best record at 27-9, neither captain showed the Jazz much love with Utah teammates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert selected as the final two picks. Charles Barkley was rightfully outraged by the Jazz slander with LeBron offering this in the way of explanation.
Chuck also had a bone to pick with LeBron for drafting Sabonis over the 7’1” Gobert when he knew his team needed size. Luckily Gobert was still available when LeBron picked next.
LeBron may have the better team on paper, but at least Durant aced his pronunciation of Vucevic, unlike his former teammate Kendrick Perkins.
Coverage of Sunday’s All-Star festivities in Atlanta begin at 6:30 PM ET with the Taco Bell Skills Challenge and Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest followed by the All-Star Game at 8 PM ET on TNT.