Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry were selected by fans, players and media members as the two captains for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles after they topped the voting in the Eastern and Western Conferences, respectively.
The complete pool of starters, which was revealed Thursday evening, can be viewed below:
- Backcourt: Kyrie Irving, G, Boston Celtics (24.1 PPG, 5.0 AST, 47.3 FG%)
- Backcourt: DeMar DeRozan, G, Toronto Raptors (25.2 PPG, 5.0 AST, 48.0 FG%)
- Frontcourt: LeBron James, F, Cleveland Cavaliers (27.3 PPG, 8.8 AST, 8.0 REB)
- Frontcourt: Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee Bucks (28.2 PPG, 10.1 REB, 4.6 AST)
- Frontcourt: Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers (23.8 PPG, 10.8 REB, 1.9 BLK)
- Backcourt: Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors (27.7 PPG, 6.5 AST, 41.8 3P%)
- Backcourt: James Harden, G, Houston Rockets (32.3 PPG, 9.1 AST, 1.8 STL)
- Frontcourt: Kevin Durant, F, Golden State Warriors (26.2 PPG, 5.4 AST, 2.1 BLK)
- Frontcourt: Anthony Davis, F, New Orleans Pelicans (26.7 PPG, 10.5 REB, 2.1 BLK)
- Frontcourt: DeMarcus Cousins, C, New Orleans Pelicans (25.3 PPG, 12.7 REB, 5.1 AST)
The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones provided a snapshot of the voting in all three phases:
Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, meanwhile, highlighted several ballots that showcased the three-pronged voting process—which have been in effect for the past two seasons—still has its flaws:
Howard Beck @HowardBeck
So, the players still aren't taking this All-Star voting thing very seriously. The following got votes from their peers: Tyler Cavanaugh, Marvin Williams, Lance Thomas, Tyler Zeller (4 votes!), Stanley Johnson (3), Anthony Tolliver, Amir Johnson, Semi Ojeleye, Bobby Portis (2)...
Complete results from fans, players and the media can be viewed through the league's official website.
While four starters in each conference appeared to be locks entering Thursday night's announcement, there was one hotly contested spot in each frontcourt.
The Eastern Conference bid was a toss-up between Boston Celtics center Al Horford, New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.
Porzingis clocked in higher than Embiid in the player vote (100 to 94), but the Sixers big man topped his Atlantic Division counterparts in both the fan and media voting despite having missed nine games.
Consider his promise, which dates back to February 2013, officially kept:
In the West, the last frontcourt spot came down to New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins, San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and Warriors forward Draymond Green.
And even though the Spurs (30-16) and Warriors (37-9) boast superior records to the Pelicans' 23-21 mark, Cousins' status as the league's lone player to be averaging at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists overruled that.
When it comes to snubs, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook stood out in a crowded and talented field of Western Conference backcourt players. According to Spectrum SportsNet's Chris Martin Palmer, Westbrook is the first reigning MVP to not start an All-Star Game since Dirk Nowitzki in 2008.
As far as the revised format goes, the 2018 All-Star Game will not feature the classic East vs. West showdown.
Instead, James and Curry will convene and select their teams from the pool of eight remaining starters and 14 reserves—which will be comprised of two backcourt players, three frontcourt players and two wild-card players, regardless of conference.
The reserves, who are selected by the league's head coaches, will be announced Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT.
Complete rosters will then be unveiled Jan. 25 on TNT at 7 p.m. ET. However, the order of the captains' draft picks will not be disclosed to the public.
"Should there be a public selection? Yes, it would be more fun if we had that kind of draft," commissioner Adam Silver told NBA TV. "On the other hand, I recognize that in picking a team to perform in the here and now, it's a little different than drafting. There was a sense from the players that it put them in an impossible position, where they're picking one player over another—in part, not because they necessarily think that player is better than another player, maybe because they have a personal relationship with the player."
The 2018 All-Star Game will tip off from Staples Center on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. ET.