The league presses the pause button as this year’s edition of the All-Star Weekend roles into Los Angeles. Everyone will be at the main event with the exception of the Aussies.
The All-Star game takes on a different form this year in a bid to freshen up the format. The traditional East vs West concept was scrapped in favour of Team LeBron v Team Steph.
Fans had grown tired of the lack of competition. Over the past two seasons the Western Conference side racked up to 200 points in their wins.
LeBron James and Steph Curry were appointed captains of the two All-Star sides by receiving the most votes from media, fans and players. Each captain got to have his pick from a pool of players with conference affiliations not under consideration.
LeBron James will link up with former teammate Kyrie Irving. Former teammates Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant will need to set aside their differences as they’ll play together with Lebron.
Steph Curry chose Warriors team mates Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Curry also took James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Bucks.
Despite the extensive list of injuries that saw the withdrawals of DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Love, Kristaps Porzingis and John Wall there was no place for Aussie Ben Simmons.
Simmons was widely tipped by many league pundits to become the first rookie since Blake Griffin in 2009 to become an All-Star in his rookie season.
Simmons still gets a plane ticket to Lost Angeles, the Rookie of the Year hopeful is slated to line-up in the Rising Star’s game, a day before the main event.
Team Steph contains some of the top three-point shooters in the league. We all know that Curry remains of the best shooters in the game. His side is filled with players who can do some real scoring damage. James Harden, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard and Kyle Lowry are all top shooters from beyond the arc.
Normally any side with Steph Curry and James Harden would have to be considered favourites. LeBron James will combine with the talents of Westbrook, Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant. Westbrook will be wanting to get his hands on another All-Star MVP award.
Tip: Team LeBron to win ($1.62)