LeBron and Antetokounmpo captains, Embiid snubbed … What to remember after the announcement of holders

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the captains in the next All Star Game. AI/Reuters/Panoramic

The NBA announced this Thursday the list of holders for the All Star Game in Salt Lake City, on February 19.

The people have spoken. In this case, the votes of the public (50% of the total), journalists (25%) and players (25%) are combined to designate, this Thursday, the holders for the All Star Game 2023, the 19 February in Salt Lake City. LeBron James (West, LA Lakers) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (West, Milwaukee) will serve as Utah captains, the players who received the most public votes, respectively 7,418,116 and 6,761,032. They will have the daunting task of assigning their teammates for a day during a draft which, for the first time, is organized before the match. As usual, the coaches will be consulted to appoint substitutes. The list will be released next Thursday.

Besides “King James” and “Greek Freak”, the incumbents are Nikola Jokic (Denver), Zion Williams (New Orleans), Stephen Curry (Golden State) and Luka Doncic (Dallas) in the West, and Kevin Durant (Brooklyn ), Jayson Tatum (Boston), Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland) and Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn), East. Here are the key takeaways after the announcement of this list of holders for the All Star Game.

LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, both against

It has been six years since the NBA chose this format, with a captain drawn from public votes. Six years LeBron James has been praised by fans of the big orange ball. More interestingly, the four-time NBA champion will honor his 19th All Star Game selection on January 19. The record has been tied. To date, only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, his predecessor in LA, has reached this total. Symbol of the extraordinary longevity of the Akron (Ohio) native, who is running at 29.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 7 assists in 38 with the Lakers. Obviously, this won’t be the last time LeBron and Kareem will be quoted in the same sentence. It was only a matter of time before the first named doubled the second and thus became the leading scorer in NBA history. Note that Giannis Antetokounmpo is captain for the third time after 2019 and 2020, he with 31 points, 12 rebounds and 5.3 “assist”.

Joel Embiid, the forgotten principal

Averaging over 33 points and nearly 10 rebounds, Joel Embiid has been super again since the start of the season. He is one of the contenders for the title of MVP. Moreover, “his” 76ers are currently second in the Eastern Conference standings (31v-16d). And yet, the Cameroonian pivot misses the cut. Except that the three titular “frontcourt” also deserve their place, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Duran and Jayson Tatum. In the end, the Franco-Cameroonian finished third in the votes of players and journalists, but fourth in the votes of the public, just behind Tatum (4,900,482 against 5,221,720). That made the difference.

For the rest, Zion Williams has the statistics to take this place of holders with the undisputed Jokic and LeBron in the West, averaging 26 points, 7 rebounds and 4.6 assists. But he only played 29 games and we haven’t seen him on the court since January 3rd… Anthony Davis (LA Lakers) also missed a lot of games. Domantas Sabonis (Sacramento) may be aggrieved. For others, the competition is too strong for Ja Morant (Memphis) against the Curry / Doncic tandem. In the East, guys like Jaylen Brown (Boston), James Harden (Philadelphia) or even Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana) can think of themselves in the right wagon. They will wait until next week.

Of course, no French

A French holder in the All Star Game? It is not for this time. Perhaps Victor Wembanyama will have this honor in the years to come… So far, only three Blues have had the honor of playing in the all-star game, coming off the substitutes’ bench: Tony Parker, Joakim Noah and Rudy Gobert, who also participated in the last three editions. The triple best defender in the League, who transferred to Minnesota last summer, was the Frenchman who appeared highest in the votes this year. 12th among players, 22nd for the public (132,465 votes) and 9th among reporters in Western Conference interiors. To see if the pivot of the French team will be recognized by the coaches for the fourth place substitute in the All Star Game. Not sure… Not sure. However, Gobert is far from the mark for a spot in the top five. However, this is the best placed among the French… A few votes here and there for Piston Killian Hayes, who is better than he has shown in recent days on the boards of Bercy (33rd among the rears in the East in players, 45th for the public with 8,408 votes).

Donovan Mitchell and Zion Williamson, premiere!

There are no neophytes on this list of All Stars. All 10 players have been invited to the All-Star Game in the past. Fourth time in a row for Donovan Mitchell, who is nevertheless part of the holders for the first time. The former Jazz player fully accepted his trade in Ohio, he is running at 28.3 points, 4 rebounds and 4.8 “assist”. First in the starting five for Zion Williamson as well. Jayson Tatum? He started at five last year, but that was only because of Kevin Durant’s withdrawal.

Kevin Durant, not two without three?

Author of a season worthy of an MVP with 29.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists on average, in 39 games, Kevin Durant may miss the All Star Game. Hit in the knee, the winger of 34 will be out at least two weeks. If there is a package, he will miss the party for the third year in a row! His last All Star Game start was in 2019. Note that Adam Silver is responsible for assigning replacements in the event of a void. Since early January, Zion Williamson has also been in doubt for the star game.

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