NBA All-Star draft: Kevin Durant goes first to Team LeBron

Yahoo Sports

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were named All-Star captains after securing the most fan votes in this year’s balloting.

Now they’ve reaped the rewards of their captaincy and picked their team’s playground-style from a pool of starters voted in by fans, players and media and reserves selected by coaches. Veteran special additions Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki were designated for the final two picks of the draft.

Draft televised for the first time

It’s the second year of the format that saw James and Stephen Curry pick their teams behind closed doors last season, to consternation of fans and players alike.

This year, the process was played out in the open with James and Antetokounmpo making their selections live on TNT Thursday night.

LeBron James selected longtime rival Kevin Durant with the first pick in the All-Star draft. (Getty)
LeBron James selected longtime rival Kevin Durant with the first pick in the All-Star draft. (Getty)

Enough with the presentation. On with the picks.

Team LeBron:

1: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
2: Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics
3: Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors
4: James Harden, Houston Rockets

1: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
2: Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
3: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
4: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder (traded to Team Giannis for Ben Simmons)
5: LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
6: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
7: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

Special addition:
1: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

Team Giannis:

1: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
2: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
3: Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
4: Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

1: Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
2: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
3: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers (Traded to Team LeBron for Russell Westbrook)
4: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
5: D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets
6: Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic
7: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

Special addition:
1: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

James selected Walker with the final pick amongst starters, while Antetokounmpo made Beal the final selection of the reserves.

Jokes aplenty around Anthony Davis-Lakers saga

After the draft, TNT analyst Charles Barkley quipped on the trade deadline that did not result in the consummation of a Los Angeles Lakers deal for Davis.

“The best way to do this is for Giannis to trade everybody on his bench for Anthony Davis,” Barkley joked, referencing the Lakers’ reported offers to the Pelicans involving much of their young core.

That proposal didn’t go down, but James and Antetokounmpo did swing a trade. James coveted Ben Simmons and convinced Antetokounmpo to work out a deal for Russell Westbrook.

LeBron ‘tampering’ with AD pick?

Giannis also had jokes about the Davis-Lakers saga.

Pump fake on Dirk

With the entire basketball world anticipating James taking old friend and championship teammate Dwyane Wade with the special selection pick, James pretended to shock the NBA at Nowitzki’s expense.

It’s a good thing for James and Wade that his verbal pick wasn’t binding.

Barring any closed-door deals, we now know All-Star lineups.

Who ya got?

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