Team LeBron vs Team Giannis: All-Star Mock Draft

All-Star Captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will be drafting their All-Star teams tonight!

Funnily enough, you could compare the two The VideoScope writers, Mathias and Kevin, to the two captains for the All-Star game! Mathias, who’s as old as they can get, claims to be the GOAT whilst, Kevin is a young buck (pun intended) who’s out there trying to make his name in the world!

So we thought it would be fun to do a mock draft and lay out the reasons why we drafted all the different All-Stars. We’re trying to live vicariously through the minds of LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who we wish the best of luck in tonight’s draft which will finally be televised!

This is how the All-Star Draft is broken down:

1. Each team must first select a starting lineup from the eight other starters as selected by the fans, media and players.

So we can’t immediately pick Anthony Davis.

2. The 14 reserves will then be drafted into the respective teams

This is where a lot of story lines will be created. Westbrook vs Durant for example.

3. The two legends get divided up

Wade vs Nowitzki. Let’s go!

4. Team LeBron picks first when it comes to starters, Giannis picks first in the reserves.

“Anthony Davis is mine!” (Kev)

Starters:

Pick 1: Stephen Curry (Team LeBron)

This is very much tactical. If I’m LeBron, trying to win another championship, what are the biggest obstacles I’m facing? Recruiting stars to play alongside me and breaking up the Warriors. There’s no Anthony Davis to choose here and I highly doubt Kawhi or Durant himself joins me to be the 2nd wheel on the wing. Instead I opt to unsettle the fragile Kevin Durant and pick his teammate Steph Curry. Durant went to the Warriors to overtake LeBron as the best player in the league and he failed, so might as well rub it in and possibly spur on Durant to leave for his own team (your Knicks?) to become The Man for his own team. In terms of pure basketball, there is no better fit for LeBron than Curry, making this a no brainer on and off the court.

Pick 2: James Harden (Team Giannis)

Giannis will pick the best out of the best and considering the fact that Steph Curry went ahead of James Harden, you have to wonder why. He’s the front runner for the MVP award this season and has had a ridiculous seasons so far. Sure, the guy can’t defend to save his life, but this is the all-star game! All he needs to do is crazy step back threes and dunk it every now and then!

Pick 3: Kyrie Irving (Team LeBron)

With our first pick we tried to unsettle the Warriors (which is working greatly seeing as KD still didn’t get picked) so with the 3rd pick, we are back in recruitment mode. The whispers about Kyrie wanting to team up with LeBron again didn’t get any quieter after Kyrie adjusted his previous statements about likely resigning in Boston. Picking Kyrie ahead of Kevin Durant will go a long way in showing Kyrie that LeBron would very much like to team up with him again.

Pick 4: Kevin Durant (Team Giannis)

Kevin Durant + James Harden = Boom or bust. But that’s the whole point of the all-star game, and obviously… Kevin Durant is one of the best players in the game. Obvious choice and makes sense for him to come up against Stephen Curry. This will be a duel for the ages.

Pick 5: Kawhi Leonard (Team LeBron)

Maaaaybe you could pry away Kawhi from the Raptors and make him come to the most storied NBA franchise in not just LA, but possibly the world? It’s worth a shot and you need someone to do defensive assignments when it comes to crunch-time anyway. You’d want an irritant to guard and irritable Kevin Durant, frustrating him even more. Kawhi is a baller and deserves more recognition anyway.

Pick 6: Joel Embiid (Team Giannis)

It took Joel Embiid a few years after being drafted back in 2014, but Embiid is certainly living up to his potential and hype. Holy moly, what a player. What can’t that guy do? Wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up becoming the MVP of the game. (I also kinda hope Team LeBron picks Westbrook *hint-hint* so we can see a bit of banter/rivalry on the court!) Also the prospect of Embiid and Giannis playing together would make any team jealous.

Pick 7: Paul George (Team LeBron)

We need more size, so while the hometown hero and my personal favorite player to watch, Kemba Walker is intriguing, Team LeBron has to go for PG13. Paul George is amazing and has played his way not only into the All-Star team, but also into the MVP discussion. I’m sure LeBron would like to send a sub-tweet level message to PG by not picking him, after he opted to stay in Oklahoma rather than joining LeBron in LA, but personally I loved the move by PG and his commitment to the team that believed in him.

Pick 8: Kemba Walker (Team Giannis)

Even though I had no choice, I would still have picked Cardiac Kemba considering he’s a wickedly awesome point guard and would be playing in front of his home crowd. The buzz that will be surrounding him will be so positive and he will want to put up a show (not like he hasn’t already with several high scoring games this season). If people are somehow whining that I don’t have any clear superstars in my team *COUGH* Kevin Durant and James Harden *COUGH* wait until they see my first pick in the reserves…

Reserves:

Pick 1: Anthony Davis (Team Giannis)

Muhahaha. He’s a definite starter for me, but ok, I get it. An injury-laden season has hurt Anthony Davis from being a starter this year but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s the best player amongst the reserves and probably better than some starters too! The guy will be so entertaining to watch and is a real life Monstar. You’re not going to steal him from me, LeBron! (You might do in real life, though..)

Pick 2: Nikola Jokic (Team LeBron)

I know Jokic is Kevin’s favorite big man in the game, but I can’t fault him for picking LeBron’s future teammate Anthony Davis instead. Guess we’ll have to wait until the summer to see the Bron and Brow connection in action. Seeing as I’m picking as LeBron, I’ll have to go with Nikola Jokic even though the superior Karl-Anthony Towns is available. Jokic is more made for the All-Star game with his fancy passing, something LeBron can relate to. Just imagine the drop-dead gorgeous dimes Jokic could do to Steph Curry in the corner.

Pick 3: Blake Griffin (Team Giannis)

Blake Griffin is a monster dunker and rebounder, averaging a career-high 26.1 points and managing to make a lot of shots from the 3-point line (36%). So of course I will have a surefire part of the Monstars 2.0 from the upcoming Space Jam sequel in Team Giannis.

Pick 4: Damian Lillard (Team LeBron)

We’re back in recruitment mode and a sneakily gettable superstar is hidden away up in Portland, Oregon. Forever in the shadow of Steph Curry, Damian Lillard is one of the very best guards the NBA has to offer. The Trail Blazers are old news at this point, especially after getting swept by the New Orleans Pelicans last year, but LeBron knows he’d like Lillard on both his All-Star team and his Lakers team.

Pick 5: Klay Thompson (Team Giannis)

“Thompson will be one of the most sought-after free agents in 2019. The four-time All-Star ranks third among active players in three-point shooting percentage (42%) and continues to be a lockdown defender. ” – Forbes.

One of the best players in the whole world. What else do I need to say?

Pick 6: Bradley Beal (Team LeBron)

Damn… I was really tempted to go with Klay Thompson last pick, but I went recruitment with Lillard, hoping Klay would drop. I would have loved to see the Warriors vs Durant in the All-Star game. The narrative would be more fun with Klay, but I feel like Bradley Beal has been the better player this season. Beal is stuck in a shitty situation in Washington, next to a toxic point guard who is out injured for a year on one of the fattest deals in NBA history. Beal doesn’t even like him. The poor guy will have more fun next to LeBron.

Pick 7: Karl-Anthony Towns (Team Giannis)

…and you claim to be a Minnesota Timberwolves fan, shame on you! I guess I’ll have to pick big KAT myself. I would’ve preferred Jokic obviously (or Porzingis 😢), but Towns will have to do. To be fair to him, KAT has been a beast, especially after the Timberwolves traded away notable All-Star absentee Jimmy Butler and deserves a spot on the roster. Now I’ve got Giannis, Embiid, Davis and Towns, it will literally be hard to top that.

Pick 8: Ben Simmons (Team LeBron)

Of course I’m a huge Towns fan, and there is not a single All-Star reserve I’d rather have on the Timberwolves, even Anthony Davis himself. However, I am drafting as LeBron, I want to light a fire under Towns’ ass and need flashy players for the All-Star game. Speaking of flash, why not bring in the man who thrives running up and down the court, gallopping down the lane for either a smashing dunk or a behind the back dime for an open player. Ben Simmons will thrive in this environment.

Pick 9: LaMarcus Aldridge (Team Giannis)

A lot of people doubted LaMarcus Aldridge when he first arrived at the Spurs but I always believed and he has rewarded that faith with several great performances throughout the year and deservedly is an all-star this year. We have a lot of random players in our team, but he adds much need power and tenacity!

Pick 10: Russell Westbrook (Team LeBron)

Well, I tried my best to get an angry Russ on the same team as a sulky Kevin Durant and his biggest rival Joel Embiid, but you seem hell-bent on not picking him, just like you hinted at. It’s not like Brodie isn’t a former MVP, averaging a triple-double for the third straight season(!). Angry Russ is the best Russ however… I hope. At least we also have his teammate Paul George to calm him down.

Pick 11: Khris Middleton (Team Giannis)

For the sake of the Milwaukee Bucks, I’ll have to go with Giannis’ teammate Khris Middleton here, even though there are other people left on the board that I prefer. The draft takes a little drop-off here anyway and players picked this low are probably just happy to be here. Middleton would probably be unhappy if Giannis didn’t pick him here.

Pick 12: Nikola Vučević (Team LeBron)

We need some size on this team and we’ll get it with probably the most overlooked player on the whole list. Make no mistake about it, Vooch is an All-Star this year. Great in the post, nailing threes and great at rebounding. It says everything when he’s averaging 21 points per game and 12 rebounds despite the Magic being 11th in the East. What a player.

Pick 13: D’Angelo Russell (Team Giannis)

And boy did he shut a lot of people up. I am a huge fan of him and thought he would be a part of the Lakers for a long time and boy, was I wrong. He’s now playing for the Brooklyn Nets and help make them into a play-offs team at the age of 22. Holy Moly. A lethal left hand with ice in his veins, he adds a lot of creativity and quickness to a star studded all-star team!

Pick 14: Kyle Lowry (Team LeBron)

Well.. it had to be someone. Kyle Lowry is the first last pick of the NBA All-Star draft. Technically, as we still have legends left to choose from. Either way, Lowry is an awesome NBA vet who can take it. He’s dealt with worse things, like seeing his bro DeMar DeRozan getting traded in the summer. Now, Lowry will be paired up with his new teammate Kawhi Leonard, which can be considered a consolation gift from LeBron after completely owning Toronto in the playoffs.

Legends:

Pick 1: Dwyane Wade (Team LeBron)

There’s nothing to even argue here. Not only does Wade have more left in the tank than Dirk, he’s also one of LeBron’s closest allies in the league they dominated together with the Miami Heat.

Pick 2: Dirk Nowitzky (Team Giannis)

I’m very happy to pick Dirk, who is an absolute NBA legend, the best European player of all time and is totally winning the 3 point contest on All-Star Saturday. I think it was really smart by the NBA to add him to the All-Star game. We’ll get to appreciate the legend one more time and he gets to take away the stigma of being the “last pick of the draft”. Dirk certainly has enough humor about him to take it in stride.

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