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As we look ahead to the 2021 All-Star game in Georgia, Team LeBron will take on Team Durant in the 70th instalment of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend!
LeBron James was named an All-Star team captain for the fourth straight year and although he cannot participate in the game, Kevin Durant was named as a team captain for the first time in his career!
Take a look at the the final 2021 NBA All-Star teams, as drafted by the two captains on Thursday:
Team LeBron (in drafted order)
1. LeBron James (Captain)
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
3. Steph Curry
4. Luka Doncic
5. Nikola Jokic
6. Damian Lillard
7. Ben Simmons
8. Chris Paul
9. Jaylen Brown
10. Paul George
11. Domantas Sabonis
12. Rudy Gobert
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) March 5, 2021
Team Durant (in drafted order)
1. Kyrie Irving
2. Joel Embiid
3. Kawhi Leonard
4. Bradley Beal
5. Jayson Tatum
6. James Harden
7. Devin Booker
8. Zion Williamson
9. Zach Lavine
10. Julius Randle
11. Nikola Vucevic
12. Donovan Mitchell
Kevin Durant (Captain) – injured
Anthony Davis – injured
Team LeBron vs Team Durant – @ 8PM ET
LeBron James’ team is headlined by the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and back to back MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, as well as the three most damaging guards in the Western Conference in Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic and Damian Lillard.
As well as that, LeBron himself is no stranger to All-Star weekend, having now been named an All-Star for the 17th consecutive year. James is also the all-time leader in All-Star points (385) and minutes (460).
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) March 5, 2021
Kevin Durant elected to keep his Brooklyn ‘Big Three’ together for All-Star weekend, selecting Kyrie Irving with his the first starting pick and James Harden with his first reservers pick.
Team Durant also features MVP contender Joel Embiid, 2020 All-Star game MVP Kawhi Leonard and three of the four All-Star game debutants (Williamson, Lavine and Randle)
Given that the 2021 All-Star Game will use the same format as 2020, meaning the first team to meet or exceed a target score (the score of the leading team after three quarters plus 24) in the final quarter will be declared the winner, defense and elite defensive players will be important assets down the stretch.
With this in mind, we think Team LeBron has the slight edge defensively with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Giannis Antetokounmpo starting, as well as the two current favorites to win the award in 2021 coming off the bench, Ben Simmons and Rudy Gobert.
The All-Star game can also be won or lost based on a team’s productivity from behind the three point line. Team LeBron has Paul George (8th), Nikola Jokic (28th) Steph Curry (35th), Jaylen Brown (74th) Chris Paul (84th) Damian Lillard (96th) all ranking in the top 100 NBA players for three point percentage.
While Team Durant has Zach Lavine (20th) Joel Embiid (29th), Julius Randle (33rd), Nikola Vucevic (34th), Kyrie Irving (36th), James Harden (57th) Kawhi Leonard (75th) and Donovan Mitchell (90th) in the top 100 of the same category.
Although the All-Star game has often not been taken too seriously, it was made evident in 2020 that those days may be over. Given that the players (namely the captains) names are attached to each team, there is an extra sense of pride involved in a win and subsequently a greater sense of embarrassment in a loss.
KD said he was nervous to talk to LeBron at the 2010 All-Star game 😂 pic.twitter.com/VzRnLlOaSH
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 5, 2021
With that in mind, it is impossible to go past Team LeBron to win their fourth consecutive All-Star game, as we feel that King James has drafted the superior defensive team, while also having arguably the three best guards in the NBA running the offense.
As well as that, Kevin Durant not participating in the game means that LeBron James will be the only player/captain in the game, with his name on the line, giving him the necessary incentive-boost to lead his team to another victory in his 17th All-Star game.
NBA Pick – Team LeBron (-170)
NBA Spread – Team Durant +3.5 (-105)
Total Points Pick – Over 311.5 (-110)
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of Bet365.