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NBA All-Star Game 2019: Early Mock Draft for Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18:  LeBron James #23 of Team LeBron and Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of Team Stephen after the NBA All-Star Game as a part of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend at STAPLES Center on February 18, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo officially have their list of players to choose from for the 2019 All-Star Game.

The reserves for the Feb. 17 contest at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, were announced during Thursday's episode of NBA Tip-Off on TNT. As the top vote-getters in their respective conferences, James and Antetokounmpo are the captains who will select from the pool of players during the televised draft process on Feb. 7 on TNT.

The NBA's official release explained the two playmakers have to choose from the other eight starters in the first round and the 14 reserves in the second round, "making selections without regard to a player's conference affiliation or position."

James has the honor of going first in the starters' round as the top overall vote-getter, while Antetokounmpo will pick first in the reserves' round. With that in mind, here is a list of those players they will be choosing from, as well as a mock draft for their selections.

            

Starters 

Western Conference 

Eastern Conference

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

  • Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

  • Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics

  • Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors

  • Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

         

Reserves

Western Conference

  • Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

  • LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

  • Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

  • Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

  • Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

Eastern Conference

  • Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers

  • Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

  • Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

  • Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons

  • Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers*

  • Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

  • Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

Injured, will be replaced

           

Mock Draft First Round

  1. Team LeBron: James Harden, Houston Rockets

  2. Team Giannis: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

  3. Team LeBron: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors

  4. Team Giannis: Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors

  5. Team LeBron: Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder

  6. Team Giannis: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

  7. Team LeBron: Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics

  8. Team Giannis: Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

           

Mock Draft Second Round

  1. Team Giannis: Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

  2. Team LeBron: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

  3. Team Giannis: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

  4. Team LeBron: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

  5. Team Giannis: Jimmy Butler, Philadelphia 76ers*

  6. Team LeBron: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers

  7. Team Giannis: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

  8. Team LeBron: Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons

  9. Team Giannis: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

  10. Team LeBron: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

  11. Team Giannis: Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic

  12. Team LeBron: LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

  13. Team Giannis: Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks

  14. Team LeBron: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

*Jimmy Butler is projected as injury replacement for Victor Oladipo. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN noted he and D'Angelo Russell are the "top candidates to take Oladipo's spot."

           

Notable Selections for Team LeBron

The All-Star Game is largely for entertainment purposes, and James is going to feed right into that with some of his selections.

Look for the King to grab Anthony Davis as soon as he can—with his first pick in the reserves section—as well as Kyrie Irving. There has been plenty of buzz connecting Davis to James' Los Angeles Lakers, as well as some regarding the possibility of Irving rejoining his former teammate out West.

NBA Twitter would not overlook James' decision to draft these two players.

Elsewhere, the four-time MVP will pick the reigning MVP who has taken the league by storm this season with the first overall pick. James Harden is a scoring machine who is setting records with his ability to put up an automatic 30-plus points every night, and James will reward that by making him the first pick.

Team LeBron will also feature plenty of length on the wing between himself, Kevin Durant and Paul George. That will come in handy on both sides of the floor come crunch time when the team needs someone to bother jump-shooters on one end and then create looks on the other.

           

Notable Selections for Team Giannis

If there is one weakness in Antetokounmpo's game, it is his ability, or lack thereof, to hit the three-pointer. The best way to accommodate this is by drafting the Splash Brothers, and he will do just that with his first pick in the starters' round and his first pick in the reserves' round.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will either take advantage of all the openings created in the All-Star Game with the presence of so many top-notch offensive playmakers around them or force Team LeBron's defense to play well beyond the arc, opening up holes for Antetokounmpo and others to exploit.

Team Giannis will have plenty of size down low to capitalize on the spacing created by the Splash Brothers with Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Karl-Anthony Towns and Nikola Vucevic.

That combination can also dominate on the boards, but they are all bigs who are capable of making plays outside of the paint and either facilitating, working in pick-and-rolls or hitting from the outside if needed.

Antetokounmpo will make sure he has some of wing defenders on his team as well with Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler, assuming the latter will replace Victor Oladipo. They have each been selected to four different All-Defensive teams and will not hesitate to lock things down on that end when the game is on the line.

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