NBA All-Star Game 2019 Rosters: LeBron vs. Giannis Starters, Reserves, Analysis

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 143-120. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

The NBA is a star-driven league. Yes, it's still a team sport, but the teams with the most stars have dominated recently.

Over the past four seasons, it's been the Golden State Warriors against LeBron James' team in the finals, and James has made it there eight straight times overall. Now that James is in the Western Conference with a struggling Los Angeles Lakers squad, it'll be a shock if he makes it nine in a row.

The league may be top-heavy and even predictable come playoff time, but All-Star Weekend should still be a blast. And for the second year in a row, the All-Star squads were picked in a playground-style draft, with LeBron and Giannis Antetokounmpo as captains.

        

2019 NBA All-Star Game

When: Sunday, February 17, at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC

TV and Live Stream: TNT and TNTDrama.com

                 

Rosters

Western Conference Starters

LeBron James, F, Los Angeles Lakers

Kevin Durant, F, Golden State Warriors

Kyrie Irving, G, Boston Celtics

Kawhi Leonard, F, Toronto Raptors

James Harden, G, Houston Rockets

         

Western Conference Reserves

Anthony Davis, F, New Orleans Hornets

Klay Thompson, G, Golden State Warriors

Damian Lillard, G, Portland Trail Blazers

Ben Simmons, G, Philadelphia 76ers

LaMarcus Aldridge, F, San Antonio Spurs

Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves

Bradley Beal, G, Washington Wizards

Dwyane Wade, G, Miami Heat

            

Eastern Conference Starters

Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee Bucks

Steph Curry, G, Golden State Warriors

Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers

Paul George, F, Oklahoma City Thunder

Kemba Walker, G, Charlotte Hornets

       

Eastern Conference Reserves

Khris Middleton, F, Milwaukee Bucks

Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets

Blake Griffin, F, Detroit Pistons

Russell Westbrook, G, Oklahoma City Thunder

D'Angelo Russell, G, Brooklyn Nets

Nikola Vucevic, C, Orlando Magic

Kyle Lowry, G, Toronto Raptors

Dirk Nowitzki, F, Dallas Mavericks

      

James and Durant Together

James selected Kevin Durant with the first pick, and KD has made it clear he no longer wants to be viewed as the league's second-best player.

"I'm tired of being second," he told Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins. "I'm not going to settle for that. I'm done with it."

The implication, of course, is that many basketball pundits still view 34-year-old James as the best player in the NBA.

Durant has been critical of James in the past, and he's hungry to prove he's the better player. Yet James didn't hesitate to scoop up his new conference rival at the top of the draft.

"What else is he supposed to do?" Durant asked of James' selection.

Realistically, the media would probably be reading more into this if James' first pick wasn't Durant.

      

A Knicks Preview?

Nick Wass/Associated Press

Unsurprisingly, James also selected former teammate Kyrie Irving. James took him last year too, even after the Cleveland Cavaliers traded him the previous offseason.

What's interesting, though, is that Irving and Durant will be playing together, and there has been buzz about the two heading to the New York Knicks this coming offseason.

"Kevin Durant is going to the Knicks," one Eastern Conference executive told Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today earlier in the season.

Meanwhile, ESPN's Marc Stein said the following on Stephen A. Smith's podcast: "The Knicks and the Nets, both New York teams, have believed quietly for a long time that they're going to have a shot at Kyrie Irving in free agency."

Durant and Irving have player options next season and will all but surely opt out. Perhaps both won't even strongly consider the Knicks, but fans can dream.

         

One Last Show for Wade

Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki were named as special roster additions and made up a two-player final round. James had the first pick, and Wade—a former teammate and close friend—was the obvious choice.

We'll almost certainly get a memorable moment between Wade and James, and this will likely mark Wade's last All-Star Game, as he's announced his intention to retire after the season.

However, one fellow All-Star thinks Wade might have another season or two in him.

"It seems like he's got a lot more in the tank," Steph Curry told reporters after playing the Miami Heat. "That's what I told him after the game."

Wade—a 13-time All-Star—still has his moments, and casual fans will get one last chance to see him in the spotlight.

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