NBA All-Star Game 2018: Predicting Rosters for Team LeBron, Team Steph

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2018

LeBron James will get to pick his own team of All-Stars.
LeBron James will get to pick his own team of All-Stars.Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The NBA All-Star game has become so predictable that the league decided to make a major change this year.

Instead of having the Eastern Conference All-Stars trade points with their Western Conference counterparts, the Association has borrowed a bit from the NFL and the NHL: The captains of each side will pick their own All-Star teams.

The leading vote-getters are LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, so it's no surprise they will get to choose their teams.

It has yet to be determined whether the new format will make the game more like a regular-season matchup with hard-nosed defense, but it is a new way of conducting business.

While they will not line up with their own conference when the All-Star Game is conducted at the Staples Center on February 18, the starters from both conferences were named Thursday night.

The East starters are Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and James.

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The West starters are Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, James Harden of the Houston Rockets, DeMarcus Cousins of the New Orleans Pelicans and Curry.

The reserves will be named January 23 and the teams will be revealed two days later.

We are here to give James and Curry the help they may or may not need to pick their teams. Since Curry's Warriors are the NBA champions, we'll give James the first pick. After the starters are selected, we will also divvy up the reserves. Each team will have 12 players.

Team James goes with Durant, Davis, Harden and DeRozan; Team Curry's starters are Antetokounmpo, Irving, Cousins and Embiid.

A backcourt of Curry and Irving may be as exciting as it gets, while James gets to play with Durant and Davis, and they will be difficult to defend.

Here are the reserves we see playing on the James team: Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers, Kevin Love of the Cavaliers, Kyle Lowry of the Raptors, Klay Thompson of the Warriors, Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves and LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs.

The reserves from Team Steph include Al Horford of the Celtics, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Karl-Anthony Towns of the Timberwolves, Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons and Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Kevin Durant could be the first choice in the February 18 All-Star Game.
Kevin Durant could be the first choice in the February 18 All-Star Game.Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Durant may be the most versatile player in the game because he can score in so many ways. He has restored the balance of power to the Warriors, and now he will get a chance to play with James.

The Golden State star again has massive numbers this season, as he is averaging 26.2 points per game and connecting on 51.1 percent of his shots from the floor.

Antetokounmpo is likely to be the second pick after Durant. The Greek Freak is the league's second-highest scorer behind Harden as he is averaging 28.2 points and connecting on an impressive 54.6 percent of his shot from the field. 

Look for Thompson to have a big game competing with James and against his running mate in the Golden State backcourt.

The 27-year-old has been a good teammate of Curry's but has been in his fellow Warrior's shadow for a while, so he should enjoy this opportunity. Thompson is averaging 20.9 points per game and shooting 45.4 percent from beyond the three-point arc.