How about these for starters?

So, the Western and Eastern Conference starter pools have been announced for the NBA All-Star game and it looks exciting.

Both conferences will be captained by past veterans of Lebron James (Los Angeles Lakers) for the West and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) for the East.

It’s also the sixth time that the NBA has used the captain format for the All-Star Game. James has been captain for each of the previous five occasions and has never lost.

Likewise, Antetokounmpo will lead the Eastern All-Stars for a third time with his first two outings being in 2019 and 2020.

What’s also interesting this time round is that both team captains will decide their teams just before the game in Salt Lake City.

That’s instead of choosing them a week or two before the All-Star Weekend. It does make it a bit of a challenge if players are injured prior to the game.

So who will representing the two conferences on February 19th in Salt Lake City?

A Starter for 10

These are main three frontcourt players and two guards which will represent each conference,

They were selected with a combination of three votes which included 50% fan balloting, 25% media balloting and the last 25% were cast by players.

Western Conference Pool

Lebron James

13 December 2022, US, Los Angeles: NBA superstar LeBron James talks to journalists after Los Angeles Lakers practice. Photo: Maximilian Haupt/dpa

As mentioned before, James will be captaining the Western Conference team for his sixth time, with a five-time win-streak so far.

The Los Angeles Lakers Small Forward is also on course to become the all-time greatest NBA points scorer. He currently sits behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time record of 38,387.

At the time of writing, he’s on 38230, 157 points behind the record. He could exceed the record during the All-Star game.

Stephen Curry

CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 15: Golden State Warriors Guard Stephen Curry (30) reacts to a play during a NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and the Chicago Bulls on January 15, 2023 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Credit Image: © Melissa Tamez/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

It’s Stephen Curry’s ninth time being called up as an All-Star, each occasion as a starter. That also makes him the second-most called up Golden State Warriors player in the team’s history.

The Point Guard has played with the Warriors since his rookie year in 2009 and so far sits on an average 42.7% 3-point goal percentage, 6.2 Rebounds and 33 goals this season.

Luka Dončić

He’s considered to be a valuable addition to NBA history, notably for scoring 60 points in a single game and recording double digits in Rebounds (21) and Assists (10).

That beat the previous title-holder Wilt Chamberlain.

This will be his fourth appearance at the NBA All-Star Game, making him the second-most called up Dallas Maverick player to take part in the event. Dirk Nowitzki leads the Mavs appearances by 14.

The Point Guard is currently commanding a high of 33.8 points per game with an equally impressive high of 49.8% in shooting.

Nikola Jokic

December 16, 2022, Los Angeles, California, USA: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers defends against Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets during their NBA game on Friday December 16, 2022 at Arena in Los Angeles, California. Lakers defeat Nuggets, 126-108. JAVIER ROJAS/PI (Credit Image: © Prensa Internacional via ZUMA Press Wire)

Another returning All-Star is Nikola Jokić. The Denver Nuggets Center will be playing in his fifth All-Stars game this year.

That makes him the second Nuggets player to be selected to take part in five or more consecutive All-Star games.

He’s also experiencing a career high with an average of 25.1 Points, 11 Rebounds, 9.9 Assists and almost 2 Steals per game.

He’s leading the NBA with 15 triple doubles and currently sits as one of five players to record two-triple=double streaks in four or more games… that’s some NBA history right there.

Zion Williamson

The New Orleans Pelicans Power Forward gets his second taste of the All-Star game this year.

He’s currently averaging 26 points, seven Rebounds and almost five Rebounds and almost 61% shooting, per game, across the 29 he’s played this season.

Williamson is also the fourth New Orleans player to be selected as a starter.

Eastern Conference Pool

Giannis Antetokounmpo

CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 28: Milwaukee Bucks Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) looks on during a NBA game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Chicago Bulls on December 28, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Credit Image: © Melissa Tamez/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

Leading the Eastern Conference All-Stars in Giannis Antetokounmpo. It’s his seventh consecutive season as an All-Star starter and third as captain.

That also means he surpasses the all-time All-Star Kareen Abdul-Jabbar for most selections to the squad in franchise history.

Antetokounmpo is having a very impressive season with a career high of 31 Points, 12 Rebounds and just over 5 Assists on average, per game.

He’s also helped the Milwaukee Bucks amass an exceptional 31 – 17 performance.

His biggest score so far this year was his 55 point performance on January 3rd. Prior to that, he racked up 40+ points eight times and 30+ over 20 times.

Kevin Durant

CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 04: Brooklyn Nets Forward Kevin Durant (7) looks on during a NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls on January 4, 2023 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Credit Image: © Melissa Tamez/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

The Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant returns for his 13th time in the All-Star game and his 11th as a Starter.

He’s been All-Star Game MVP twice in his career (2012 – 2019) and continues to hold the second-highest score average in the history of the All-Star game (25 points per game).

Currently he is averaging 29.7 Points, 6.7 Rebounds, 5.3 Assists and 1.5 Blocks across 39 games this season.

Added to that, he’s recording a shooting high of 55.9%.

Kyrie Irving

CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 04: Brooklyn Nets Guard Kyrie Irving (11) looks on during a NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls on January 4, 2023 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Credit Image: © Melissa Tamez/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

Joining Durant is team-mate Kyrie Irving.

The Nets player will be making his eighth appearance as an All-Star Game and his sixth as a starter.

He’s played in 36 games this season and racked up averages of 26.8 Points, 5.1 Rebounds, 5.2 Assists and 1 Steal in roughly 37 minutes per game.

Irving is currently the leagues’ leading fourth quarter scorer and the only one to snatch 20+ points three times during a fourth quarter.

Donovan Mitchell

CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 31: Cleveland Cavaliers Guard Donovan Mitchell (45) brings the ball up court during a NBA game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls on December 31, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Credit Image: © Melissa Tamez/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

Mitchell is also making his return to the All-Star game for the fourth time in his NBA career, all in consecutive seasons.

The guard is a history maker too. He made his mark on the NBA history books by registering 71 points during Cleveland Cavaliers game against the Chicago Bulls.

It was the biggest point capture since Kobe Bryant’s 81-point capture against the Raptors in 2006.

Currently, he’s averaging 28.3 Points, 4.6 Assists, 3.8 Rebounds per game along with a 48.4 field goal average.

‘I’m definitely blessed and humbled to be a part of this… To be a part of my fourth All-Star and now to be a starter, I couldn’t be happier,’ he would tell the media.

Jayson Tatum

Last but by no means least is the Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum. It’s his third straight appearance in the exhibition and his first as a starter.

At this stage in the season, he’s managing to average of 31 Points, 7.5 Rebounds, 4.4 Assists and a 46.8% shooting average per game, during his 46 games.

What happens next?

So up next is the selection of the team’s reserves. These are players who’ll be chosen by the league’s coaches and they’ll be announced on February 2nd.

Players who are favoured for selection are: Portland’s Damian Lillard, Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Miami’s Bam Adebayo.

Posted on: 27 Jan 2023