Giannis Antetokounmpo might want to look outside an NBA front office for his post-basketball career.
Anthony Davis goes first
James had the first pick, and to nobody’s surprise selected Los Angeles Lakers teammate Anthony Davis. Antetokounmpo then passed up Kawhi Leonard and Luka Doncic to take conference rival Joel Embiid with his first pick.
Antetokounmpo had the first selection among reserves, and, like James, declined to pass up a teammate, selecting Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton.
Trae Young was the final starter on the board, and Damontis Sabonis was the final reserve to team LeBron.
Here are the full rosters.
1: Damian Lillard, G, Portland Trail Blazers
2: Ben Simmons, G, Philadelphia 76ers
3: Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets
4: Jayson Tatum, F, Boston Celtics
5: Chris Paul, G, Oklahoma City Thunder
6: Russell Westbrook, G, Houston Rockets
7: Domontas Sabonis, C, Indiana Pacers
1: Khris Middleton, F, Milwuakee Bucks
2: Bam Adebayo, C, Miami Heat
3: Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz
4: Jimmy Butler, F, Miami Heat
5: Kyle Lowry, G, Toronto Raptors
6: Brandon Ingram, F, New Orleans Pelicans
7: Donovan Mitchell, G, Utah Jazz
So who won the draft?
There was a trend during Thursday’s draft.
James regularly ended up with the best players in each round and has a big edge over Team Giannis for the Feb. 16 game set to take place in Chicago — especially if Doncic is healthy enough to return from his sprained ankle.
An argument can be made the James ended up with the four best players available in the draft after taking Davis, Leonard, Doncic and Harden from the starter pool. He picked up last year’s NBA Finals MVP, the 2018 league MVP, a guy who’s expected to win multiple MVPs over the course of his career and arguably the most dynamic big man in the history of the game.
LeBron gets Lillard, too?
And then he landed Lillard with the first pick among the reserves. It’s really not fair. Lillard’s the league’s hottest player approaching the All-Star Break and easily among the three most dangerous scorers in the NBA.
Toss in All-NBA center Jokic with the third reserve selection and Westbrook with the next to last pick, and this thing added up to a landslide. While Antetokounmpo seemed intent on choosing familiarity, selecting Eastern Conference players with each of his starter picks, James racked up the best players in the world.
Old-school East vs. West feel
Aside from James dominating the draft, this game will look like a throwback to the East vs. West All-Star days. If Team LeBron represents the West and Team Giannis represents the East, Ben Simmons was the first player to cross conferences when James selected him with his second reserve pick.
In total, only six of the 24 All-Stars crossed over to the team dominated by the opposing conference. Simmons, Tatum and Sabonis will play with Team LeBron while Gobert, Ingram and Mitchell will play on Team Giannis.
Jokes at James Harden’s expense
It’s not an NBA All-Star draft on TNT without a shot at James Harden.
With Harden still on the board with his third starter selection, Antetokounmpo said he was deciding between Trae Young and Kemba Walker, telling Charles Barkley “I want somebody who’s going to pass the ball.”
Next weekend’s All-Star draft will take on a dramatic new format and have $500,000 at stake for charity.
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