What's that old saying?
"Ask and you shall receive."
Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said he would have no problem making picks as the Western Conference captain for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles, and now, he'll be able to do just that.
"Why not?" Curry told Anthony Slater of The Athletic last week. "I'll be the first to usher in the new system. I used to go to the playground all the time, and you wanted to be the guy picking teams. That meant you were something on the court back in the day. It'll be a cool vibe to see how it all shakes out and how unique you can make the lineups."
He and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James were chosen by the fans, the players and 99 members of the basketball media as the two captains for the game after being the top vote-getters for their respective conferences.
Now, Curry and James will select the other four starters for their team from the pool of names revealed yesterday, regardless of conference affiliation.
The complete pool of starters, which was revealed Thursday night during TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by Autotrader, can be viewed below:
- 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: 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: 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)
- 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)
If Curry wanted to choose Irving for his team, he could do that. If James wanted to pick Harden, that is allowed under the new format.
The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones tweeted a detailed look at the final fan, player and media voting results:
For the fan vote in the East, Giannis Antetokounmpo (2,530,211), Joel Embiid (1,285,587), Kyrie Irving (2,170,833) and DeMar Derozan (998,999) led the pack. In the West, Kevin Durant (2,238,406), James Harden (1,486,830), Anthony Davis (1,088,230) and Demarcus Cousins (922,269) joined Curry as the top seeds.
Just like last year, NBA players and 99 members of the basketball media joined fans in voting to select the starters. Fan votes accounted for 50 percent, while player and media votes represented 25 percent, respectively.
Had the vote been left to the fans, Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green (1,135,478) would be starting over Cousins and San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili (1,808,860) would have gotten the nod instead of Harden. Cousins and Harden landed in the starting lineup because of the player and media vote.
Next up are the reserves. NBA head coaches will select 14 players that they feel had outstanding, All-Star seasons and those names will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 23, during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.
Among the top names for the reserves from the East are Kristaps Porzingis, the Washington Wizards' Bradley Beal and John Wall, Al Horford of the Boston Celtics, Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets.
Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers should be a lock because of the quantum leap he made since being traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder. His scoring is up from 15.9 to 24.3 ppg, his field goal percentage is up from 44 percent to 48 percent and he's shooting 40 percent from behind the arc.
Many analysts thought the Pacers would take a huge dip with the departure of Paul George, but Oladipo has made all of them eat those words.
The surprise contender for a spot this year could be Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers. Williams has always been a walking bucket, but this season, he's taken his game up a notch, averaging a career-high 23.2 points per game, while shooting 45 percent from the field and career highs of 41 percent from three and 90 percent from the free throw line.
The other deserving player that could threaten Williams' spot is Portland Trailblazers' point guard Damian Lillard.
Lillard, who has made two All-Star Game appearances in his six-year career, last played in the game in 2015.
He spoke with Chris Haynes of ESPN.com about his frustrations with being snubbed every year:
"I've gotten frustrated just for the fact that it feels like I always got to be the fall guy and every other guy has been deserving. In the past, the thing has been, 'All right, my team has been 10 games under .500 or not in the playoffs,' but every year we've found a way to be in the postseason, and this year I think we're in much better position than we have been in the past two seasons that I didn't make it. I think I've gotten over the emotional part of it the last few times that I didn't make it. Now I'm kind of like expecting it to go that way, but I feel like I should be there."
The 27-year old California native ranks sixth among all NBA point guards in Player Efficiency Rating, according to ESPN.com, but the West is stacked with superstar guards.
Once the reserves are known, the captains will select the rest of their teams.
Unfortunately, the actual draft won't be televised. The final team rosters will be broadcast on Thursday, Jan. 25, during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.
As for selecting head coaches, the process remains unchanged. Like previous games, the Eastern Conference and Western Conference coach that clinch the best record in their conference two weeks before the game will earn a spot on the bench.
Boston Celtics' Brad Stevens and Golden State's Steve Kerr are both ineligible, though, because they coached the game last season. Although the players will disregard conference affiliation, the coaches will align with the respective captain from each conference.
The 67th annual midseason classic, which will be played at the Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 18 (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT), will be televised on TNT for the 16th consecutive year.