NBA All-Star Game 2020: LeBron vs. Giannis Starters, Reserves, Roster Breakdown

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2020

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 17: LeBron James #23 of Team LeBron and Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of Team Giannis pose for a photo after the 2019 NBA All-Star Game on February 17, 2019 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 2019 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game features a host of changes—including a new game format with a built-in homage to the late Kobe Bryant—but those in the captain seats are the same.

For the second straight season, it's Team Giannis on one side and Team LeBron on the other. Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James already divvied up their rosters during a televised draft, and the sides seem closer than they were a year ago, when Team LeBron rolled to a 178-164 win.

We'll examine the two rosters below, then see how they match up in three different areas.


2020 NBA All-Star Rosters

Team LeBron


Anthony Davis, F, Los Angeles Lakers

Luka Doncic, G, Dallas Mavericks

James Harden, G, Houston Rockets

LeBron James, F, Los Angeles Lakers

Kawhi Leonard, F, Los Angeles Clippers


Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets

Damian Lillard, G, Portland Trail Blazers

Chris Paul, G, Oklahoma City Thunder

Domantas Sabonis, C, Indiana Pacers

Ben Simmons, G, Philadelphia 76ers

Jayson Tatum, F, Boston Celtics

Russell Westbrook, G, Houston Rockets


Team Giannis


Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee Bucks

Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers

Pascal Siakam, F, Toronto Raptors

Kemba Walker, G, Boston Celtics

Trae Young, G, Atlanta Hawks


Bam Adebayo, C, Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler, G/F, Miami Heat

Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz

Brandon Ingram, F, New Orleans Pelicans

Kyle Lowry, G, Toronto Raptors

Khris Middleton, F, Milwaukee Bucks

Donovan Mitchell, G, Utah Jazz


Roster Breakdown

Distributing: Advantage Team LeBron

LeBron James might be one of history's great scorers, but he's a table-setter at heart. Never has that been more evident than his season (mind you, 17th in the NBA), as he's averaging a career high in helpers (10.8 per game) and perhaps en route to his first assist title.

His team seems built with the same mindset.

It's not just distributors, either, but James stuffed his roster with jumbo passers. Fellow starter Luka Doncic stands 6'7". The bench boasts even bigger passers in 6'10" Ben Simmons, 6'11" Domantas Sabonis and 7-footer Nikola Jokic.

More traditionally, the roster also features lead guards Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, plus 2016-17's top table-setter James Harden. These exhibitions aren't always defined by ball movement, but the rock should be zipping around Team LeBron's end of the floor.


Defense: Advantage Team Giannis

All-Star Game defenders usually matter as much as the kids snagging balls during the Home Run Derby. But this year could be different.

For starters, with the adoption of the Elam Ending, there are bound to be some tense moments down the stretch. Defense usually picks up (i.e., shows a pulse) about midway through the final frame, but things could get stingier earlier this time around.

Plus, with Kobe's shadow looming large over this weekend, maybe the players will feel an extra push to honor his legendary competitive fire. If his Mamba Mentality gets contagious, players might be more willing to lock up than they have in the past.

If defense becomes a theme of this year's exhibition, that's a big advantage for Team Giannis. Of the four 2018-19 All-Defensive selections to make this All-Star Game, three are on Team Giannis: Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and reigning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert. There's also former All-Defensive team member Jimmy Butler, do-it-all big man Bam Adebayo and scrappy point guard Kyle Lowry.


Spacing: Advantage Team LeBron

It's no coincidence James put together this roster, since it's one he's perfectly built to lead.

While so many players fit his pass-first mentality, even more have the shooting range needed to keep the driving lanes clear. Save for Ben Simmons, basically everyone can step out and splash a triple. Some shooters are streaky (Westbrook), others are reluctant to fire from deep (Sabonis), but virtually all are capable.

That's just not the case with Team Giannis. Their first five alone could run into spacing issues. Team LeBron will have little problem letting Antetokounmpo and Embiid fire, and even Pascal Siakam isn't super threatening outside (35.4 percent this season, but only 32.7 for his career).

Going to the bench could only make things worse. Gobert and Adebayo don't even bother launching. Jimmy Butler has been dreadful from distance (25.5 percent). Even Brandon Ingram and Donovan Mitchell don't have the cleanest track records from three.

If this becomes a perimeter shooting contest, it's likely another easy win for Team LeBron.