Giannis Antetokounmpo's first turn as an NBA All-Star captain wasn't great.
He built an inferior roster on paper while drafting against LeBron James, then his squad suffered a double-digit loss to Team LeBron in the actual exhibition.
The Greek Freak is closing in on his shot at redemption.
The Association has already revealed all 10 starters for next month's All-Star Game, which will again be captained by Antetokounmpo and James. The pair will first divvy up the other players named starters by fan, media and player voting, then choose between the 14 reserves selected by coaches. That latter group will be revealed on TNT Thursday.
Will Antetokounmpo get it right this time around? Or can the King defend his throne? We'll all find out soon enough.
2020 NBA All-Star Schedule, TV and Live Stream Info
All-Star Reserves Revealed
When: Thursday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. ET
Live Steam: TNT Drama
All-Star Draft Show
When: Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. ET
Live Steam: TNT Drama
When: Sunday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: United Center in Chicago
Live Steam: TNT Drama
2020 NBA All-Star Rosters, Predictions
Eastern Conference Starters
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (captain)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Eastern Conference Predicted Reserves
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Jimmy Butler had a strong argument to crack the starting group—and might have had he been categorized as a backcourt player—so he's the easy selection among these reserves. His teammate, Bam Adebayo, looks poised to make his All-Star debut, as his defensive versatility and playmaking ability from his frontcourt position are both critical components of Miami's success.
Khris Middleton and Ben Simmons are among the other no-brainers. Middleton looks even better than last season—his first as an All-Star—as evidenced by his 51-point eruption Wednesday night. Simmons remains a top-notch supplier of everything outside of three-point shooting, and the Association's steals leader is one of its few, true five-position stoppers.
Kyle Lowry gets his sixth career All-Star nod for helping the Raptors navigate their post-Kawhi Leonard life. The remaining two, Domantas Sabonis and Jayson Tatum, are first-timers who stake their claim on a combination of individual and team success.
Sabonis' transformation into a walking double-double (and elite passing big man) allowed the Pacers to hang tough without Victor Oladipo. Tatum edges out Jaylen Brown, Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine for posting personal bests in points, rebounds, assists and steals, while also ranking fifth in ESPN's catch-all real plus-minus metric.
Western Conference Starters
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers (captain)
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers
Western Conference Predicted Reserves
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder
The snub cloud that has hovered over Salt Lake City the past two seasons finally clears, and the Jazz have two representatives for the first time since 2006-07. Rudy Gobert is the NBA's most intimidating defender. Donovan Mitchell has never done a better job balancing volume scoring with efficient shooting. Both should be easy calls.
Nikola Jokic and Damian Lillard are locks, too. The Joker may have had a sleepy start to the season, but he's been piling up points and tallying triple-doubles ever since. Lillard's career-best marks in scoring and distributing are more than enough to compensate for Portland's disappointing record.
That leaves Devin Booker, Brandon Ingram and Chris Paul as our final selections, and all of their cases are strong.
Booker is the best version of himself that we've seen—if he goes on a heater from three, he'll enter the 50/40/90 range—and this is the best his Suns have been. Ingram has dazzled all season, while proving patience is a virtue when developing a highly touted prospect. And Paul has his fingerprints all over Oklahoma City's surprising success sans Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
Speaking of Westbrook and George, they're sitting alongside Karl-Anthony Towns as the conference's biggest snubs. The latter two have lost too much time to injury, and the former couldn't quite recover from a rough start to his Space City tenure.