The NBA All-Star starters were announced on Thursday.

Despite the draft format being introduced last season, teams are still selected based on conference, as shown below.

Western Conference

Stephen Curry

James Harden

LeBron James

 
 
 
 

Kevin Durant

Paul George

Eastern Conference

Kemba Walker

Kyrie Irving

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Joel Embiid

Kawhi Leonard

Antetokounmpo and James were the respective highest vote getters and will be captains for the 7th February draft. Giannis received the most votes, so he will pick first in the opening round, when the starters are selected. LeBron will pick first in the second round, choosing the first of the reserves.

Positions are not taken into account during the draft. LeBron could select a team of backcourt players if he chose to. Conferences are also not taken into consideration. Giannis, despite representing the East, could focus on picking players from the stronger West.

The reserves, of which there will be seven from each conference, will be selected on 31st Thursday.

The game will take place at Charlotte’s Spectrum Center on 18th February. Walker, a three-time All-Star, gets the opportunity to start the game in front of his hometown fans.

Walker said, “This is an unbelievable moment in my career” when speaking on TNT after the teams were announced.

There are no first-time selections amongst the starters. Embiid is the least experienced of the showpiece game, having appeared in his first as a starter last season.

Luka Doncic and Derrick Rose were in the West’s starting five after the fan vote. Doncic was ranked eighth among Western Conference frontcourt players by fellow players and sixth by the media. Rose was sixth in the backcourt with the media and fourth in the player vote after an amazing bounce-back campaign. Both fell just short of starting as fan voting only accounts for 50%. It will be interesting to see if they make the West reserves.

Dwyane Wade, who is in the process of an epic farewell tour, was second in the backcourt fan votes in the East. Players and the media did not give the same support to Wade – he is unlikely to make the team.

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