Saturday, May 28, 2022

2022 NBA All-Star Game Draft results: LeBron James takes Giannis Antetokounmpo first, James Harden picked last

2022 NBA All-Star Game Draft results: LeBron James takes Giannis Antetokounmpo first, James Harden picked last

Kevin Durant picked Joel Embiid with his first pick

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After an extremely eventful deadline day, the NBA had more excitement planned for Thursday night, as the All-Star draft was held prior to the evening’s slate of games and televised on TNT. The two All-Star teams were picked by the captains, who were selected by fan vote. One player from each conference was selected to be a captain. Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant was selected out of the East, and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James represented the West. Both players were also selected as captains last season. 

The two players went back-and-forth selecting players from the All-Star pool until both rosters were full. While Durant captained and drafted one of the rosters, the Nets star won’t actually be playing in the All-Star game due to a lingering MCL sprain. He also missed the All-Star game last season due to a hamstring injury. As a result, Durant got an extra pick in the first round, since he had to draft a player to replace himself. 

As the overall leading vote-getter, James was granted the first overall pick. Here’s a look at how the draft shook out: 

Round 1: Starters

  1. Team LeBron: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks 
  2. Team Durant: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
  3. Team LeBron: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors 
  4. Team Durant: Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies 
  5. Team LeBron: DeMar DeRozan, Chicago Bulls
  6. Team Durant: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics 
  7. Team LeBron: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets 
  8. Team Durant: Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
  9. Team Durant: Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors 

Round 2: Reserves

  1. Team Durant: Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns 
  2. Team LeBron: Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks 
  3. Team Durant: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
  4. Team LeBron: Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers 
  5. Team Durant: Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls 
  6. Team LeBron: Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns 
  7. Team Durant: DeJounte Murray, San Antonio Spurs
  8. Team LeBron: Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat
  9. Team Durant: Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks 
  10. Team LeBron: Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
  11. Team Durant: LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets 
  12. Team LeBron: Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors
  13. Team Durant: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
  14. Team LeBron: James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers 

The resulting rosters look like this: 

Team LeBron

Starters:

  • LeBron James
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Stephen Curry
  • DeMar DeRozan 
  • Nikola Jokic 

Reserves:

  • Luka Doncic
  • Darius Garland 
  • Chris Paul
  • Jimmy Butler 
  • Donovan Mitchell
  • Fred VanVleet
  • James Harden

Team Durant

Starters:

Reserves:

  • Devin Booker 
  • Karl Anthony Towns 
  • Zach LaVine
  • DeJounte Murray
  • Khris Middleton 
  • LaMelo Ball
  • Rudy Gobert   

Takeaways

1. LeBron’s starting lineup is nearly the same as last year

LeBron didn’t get too creative with his first couple of picks. Last year he picked Antetokounmpo with the first overall pick and Steph Curry with his second pick, and he did the same thing this season. He also picked landed Nikola Jokic with his last pick in the first round for the second straight year. So, overall James’ starting lineup will be 80 percent the same as it was last year. The only difference is that DeMar DeRozan will replace Luka Doncic, though James still has Doncic on his bench this year. Chris Paul is also back on Team LeBron. 

Team LeBron bested Team Durant 170-150 in last year’s game, so you can’t really blame James for selecting a similar squad to the one he had then. James is 4-0 in All-Star games as a captain, so he has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to All-Star roster building.   

2. Durant really didn’t want to draft Harden

The most amusing part of the entire draft was how obvious it was that Durant didn’t want to draft his now-twice former teammate James Harden. While being egged on by the TNT analysts, along with James, Durant passed on every opportunity to select Harden. With two players left on the board, Durant selected Gobert, claiming that he needed “size.” As a result, Harden automatically went to James’ squad as the draft’s final selection. 

At the end of the day, the NBA is all about entertainment, and this year’s All-Star draft definitely provided that. The game itself will take place on Sunday, Feb. 20 in Cleveland. 

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