Why Stephen Curry really wants to pick Giannis Antetokounmpo in All-Star draft

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Now an All-Star captain, <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/players/4612/" data-ylk="slk:Stephen Curry">Stephen Curry</a> wants to avoid having to duck and cover again. (AP)
Now an All-Star captain, Stephen Curry wants to avoid having to duck and cover again. (AP)

Stephen Curry received the most All-Star votes in the Western Conference, and in the new format that the NBA’s trying this year to spice things up, that means he’ll be one of two captains for next month’s 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. He wasn’t the top overall vote-getter, though; that honor went to LeBron James, meaning that the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar will get the first pick from the pool of All-Star starters announced Thursday night.

Asked on Thursday which stars he might be considering with the No. 1 spot, James told reporters, “I’m not telling you,” revealing only that he is “going to try to build the best team I can” and “I’m trying to win.” Curry, on the other hand, might be taking a lighter approach to this whole thing. From Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

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Curry:I don’t know who LeBron will take with the first pick, but depending on how that goes, I may just have to go pick all guards, get the shortest team possible, have some fun with it. But who knows how it’ll play out.

As admirable as Curry’s visions of picking a hyper-smallball squad to force a Gullivers vs. Lilliputians battle might be, he admitted it’d be tough for him not to take fellow Golden State Warriors star and voted-in starter Kevin Durant with his first selection — provided, of course, LeBron doesn’t take him first. Even if KD’s off the board, though, Curry noted that he might feel compelled to go big off the bat … if only to protect his own neck:

Is there one random guy beyond LeBron, beyond your teammates you’d like to play with in this All-Star game?

Curry: Don’t know who the reserves are going to be, so I have to pick from the starters. Giannis (Antetokounmpo). He dunked on me last year, so I want to maybe get him on my team so that doesn’t happen again.

And now, in the interest of doing some very important journalistic due diligence, it is my duty to remind you of just what it looked like when Giannis first soared over Curry (who had taken cover on the ground to avoid getting posterized) …

… and then what it looked like when Giannis got his man, courtesy of Steph tragically falling asleep on a box-out:

You don’t need extra reasons to pick Antetokounmpo; you can always make a very good case for picking a 6-foot-11 superhero who’s averaging 28 points, 10 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, who is unstoppable with the ball in the open floor, who plays an incredibly fun and fan-friendly style, and will probably also try very hard, even in an exhibition. I’m just saying, though: if you’re looking for extra reasons, “not wanting to get dunked on by that guy again” seems to me like a very, very good one.

Curry also touched on the talking point of the moment: the NBA’s decision not to televise the captain’s draft, a choice that seems to fly in the face of the entire reason for doing one, which is to introduce an element of fun, spiciness and potentially even competitiveness into an exhibition that, even amid all the dunks, has felt awfully matter-of-fact for the past few years. From Mark Medina of the San Jose Mercury News:

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has declined to televise the event, if it would add intrigue to the drama surrounding the selection process. Curry supported that stance, mindful that a televised event could manufacture a soap opera and create dissent among players that were selected last.

“Being an All-Star is glorified. That’s what it’s supposed to be about,” said Curry, who has averaged 27.7 points while shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 41.8 percent from 3-point range as well as 6.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds. “It’s about the fans and players and why it’s been such a big deal. You don’t want to change the integrity of what it means to be an All-Star.”

Also, you don’t want the other guys to see you decidedly and affirmatively not pick them on national TV. That’s a recipe for exactly the kind of Froggy Fresh and Money Maker Mike action that Steph would be picking Giannis to avoid. Nobody wants those problems.

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Dan Devine is a writer and editor for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@oath.com or follow him on Twitter!

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