Yesterday, the NBA officially announced a new format to choose teams for the All-Star Game. By doing away with the traditional East vs. West style, the top two players receiving votes will be named Team Captain and allowed to select their own squads. Fans, media, and current players will vote on the 10 starters while NBA coaches will vote on the 14 reserves.
It’s no secret that the NBA All-Star Game has needed a change for a long time now. Games haven’t been competitive, defense has been nonexistent, and there’s been no real incentive for either team to want to win the game. With the new changes, fans and players alike are all excited for it’s debut. Here’s Westbrook’s reaction when he found out:
Even CP3 made a statement:
“I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us.”
NBPA President, Chris Paul
Having two players choose their squads from the pool could serve to eliminate many of the issues plaguing the league’s beloved Midseason Classic. Captains usually choose teams that can put them in a position to win, or at the very least they pick players that’ll make the game more fun to play. Which begs the question, which Captain combinations would make for the most competitive and interesting 2018 NBA All-Star Game? Here are the top Captain match-ups that are making me want to fast forward to February.
LeBron vs KD
After winning his first NBA Championship, Kevin Durant has firmly established himself as a top player in the league. In fact, KD notably divulged that he told LeBron that they were indeed “tied-up now” as it pertains to their head to head NBA Finals record. The jury is still out on wether he’s supplanted LeBron for the top spot, but I will note that Durant has achieved enough in his career to be considered as a Team Captain for this season’s All-Star Game. Things are sure to heat up when LeBron and Durant choose their squads.
LeBron vs Curry
Prior to the emergence of Steph Curry’s greatness, there was little debate on who the best player in the world was. Once the narrative began to shift, and LeBron became an afterthought of the MVP race to the tune of “he could win it every year”, Steph Curry became the NBA’s “golden boy”. With a 1-2 NBA Finals record vs. Steph, could LeBron be out for revenge? Steph may have to enlist more than his “Superteam” to stand up to a hungry LeBron on the NBA’s 2nd most grand stage.
KD vs Russ
Everyone’s favorite family feud could rear its head once again come February. Although most of the rumors surrounding the alleged beef between these BFF’s turned enemies has pretty much died down, should Durant and Westbrook be the Captains we could see an interesting alignment of loyalty in the All-Star Game. Melo and Paul George have already taken to Westbrook since joining Oklahoma City in respective trades, and Draymond Green along with Steph Curry have embraced the addition to Durant in Golden State. This leaves several big names out that haven’t exactly chosen sides, or rather, been chosen yet. LeBron? Harden? Kawhi? It’s going to get very interesting when things in the NBA landscape get more political than C-Span.
Kyrie vs LeBron
Arguably the biggest breakup in NBA history, nobody is certain how Kyrie and LeBron’s relationship will develop going forward. Thanks to Kyrie’s cryptic commentary when asked about LeBron, and the levity with which LeBron commented on Kyrie, fans have been left to pretty much figure things out on their own and eagerly await the season opener when the Celtics come to Cleveland. If either of the two have any animosity towards each other, we’ll know based on their interaction prior to the tip-off. As it relates to the All-Star Game, Kyrie’s cult-like following is respectable enough to imagine him being named a Captain. If LeBron just so happens to be that other Captain, it’ll be hard for anyone to say that he wouldn’t want to beat Kyrie’s team.
Curry vs Kyrie
Today’s NBA has the best point guards we’ve ever seen. They are more athletic, have better handles, can score and shoot the three better than any other era at the position. A rivalry has been brewing between Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving for at least the last three seasons, all which culminated in an NBA Finals matchup against one another. Now that Kyrie has been traded to Boston, only time will tell if the two stars will continue to bring out the best in one another, and fuel the intensity in the hypothetical matchup with each player being a Captain in this years All-Star Game.
So what do you guys think? Which Captain pairing do you think will ultimately be voted in by the fans? Have another pairing you’d like to see? With such a big change in the format, one thing is for sure, excitement is back for the NBA’s All-Star Game.