The life of NBA general managers would be significantly easier if they only had to choose players from a preselected list of All-Stars, but the drafting skills of LeBron James and Kevin Durant were put to the test during TNT's Inside the NBA on Thursday.
James and Durant are the two captains for this year's NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta as the top vote-getters and drafted their teams.
As the top vote-getter, James earned the No. 1 overall pick of the first round, which was used to draft the eight other starters. KD got the first pick of the second round, which was used to draft the reserves.
Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis was named as the injury replacement for Durant, which elevated Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum into the starter pool. Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was named as the injury replacement for Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis.
Here is a look at how the two captains drafted:
- Pick 1 (LeBron): Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Pick 2 (KD): Kyrie Irving
- Pick 3 (LeBron): Stephen Curry
- Pick 4 (KD): Joel Embiid
- Pick 5 (LeBron): Luka Doncic
- Pick 6 (KD): Kawhi Leonard
- Pick 7 (LeBron): Nikola Jokic
- Pick 8 (KD): Bradley Beal/Jayson Tatum
- Pick 1 (KD): James Harden
- Pick 2 (LeBron): Damian Lillard
- Pick 3 (KD): Devin Booker
- Pick 4 (LeBron): Ben Simmons
- Pick 5 (KD): Zion Williamson
- Pick 6 (LeBron): Chris Paul
- Pick 7 (KD): Zach LaVine
- Pick 8 (LeBron): Jaylen Brown
- Pick 9 (KD): Julius Randle
- Pick 10 (LeBron): Paul George
- Pick 11 (KD): Nikola Vucevic
- Pick 12 (LeBron): Domantas Sabonis
- Pick 13 (KD): Donovan Mitchell
- Pick 14 (LeBron): Rudy Gobert
James is looking to defend his All-Star crown after defeating Giannis Antetokounmpo's team in a classic last year in Chicago.
Team LeBron won 157-155 in a back-and-forth thriller that featured plenty of drama because of the Elam Ending. That type of finish to a game turns off the clock and sets a target score for the teams to reach, which ideally eliminates late fouling that drags out the end.
It will once again be in place in Atlanta for Sunday's game.
The contest will be about more than just the league's best players going back-and-forth for bragging rights on the All-Star stage. It will also raise awareness and honor historically Black colleges and universities.
The NBA's release explained the game, "will highlight the importance of HBCUs and raise awareness around the disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. In addition, All-Star will feature special performances by HBCU musical groups and unique storytelling and content by distinguished alumni and students."
Sunday will also be a busy day of basketball beyond the game. The skills competition and three-point contest will take place during the pregame, while the dunk contest will take place at halftime.