The 2021 NBA All-Star Game arrives on Sunday, March 7 in Atlanta, and it will be a much different experience this year. In fact, Sunday houses the entirety of the league’s All-Star Weekend festivities, and that adds a bit of intrigue. For the fourth time, the rosters were selected via a draft this week, with LeBron James and Kevin Durant acting as captains for the two squads.
While our mock draft didn’t quite flow in the exact same way, the results were still quite interesting. James has been a captain each and every time the league has used the draft format, while Durant, who is not playing due to injury, was at the helm for the first time.
The draft itself took place on Wednesday, a full day before the release of the proceedings on television. As such, it wasn’t too shocking that one of the picks leaked early, with Team LeBron tabbing Giannis Antetokounmpo with the first pick.
Team LeBron vs. Team Kevin Durant draft airs on TNT tonight at 8 pm ET.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 5, 2021
From there, though, there was genuine mystery, and even more so after Durant admitted that he didn’t actually prepare for the draft itself, leaning instead on the experience of playing against this batch of players. By rule, the captains went back and forth with only the pool of starters available (and Jayson Tatum replacing Durant in the pool), and the flow went this way.
- LeBron James (Team LeBron) — Captain
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Team LeBron)
- Kyrie Irving (Team Durant)
- Stephen Curry (Team LeBron)
- Joel Embiid (Team Durant)
- Luka Doncic (Team LeBron)
- Kawhi Leonard (Team Durant)
- Nikola Jokic (Team LeBron)
- Bradley Beal (Team Durant)
- Jayson Tatum (Team Durant)
After the starting lineups were set on both sides, Durant had the first pick for the reserves, countering LeBron’s advantage as the leading overall vote-getter. Things flowed from there, with Durant tabbing his Nets teammate in James Harden, and the final picks in the draft were both members of the Utah Jazz in Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.
- James Harden (Team Durant)
- Damian Lillard (Team LeBron)
- Devin Booker (Team Durant)
- Ben Simmons (Team LeBron)
- Zion Williamson (Team Durant)
- Chris Paul (Team LeBron)
- Zach LaVine (Team Durant)
- Jaylen Brown (Team LeBron)
- Julius Randle (Team Durant)
- Paul George (Team LeBron)
- Nikola Vucevic (Team Durant)
- Domantas Sabonis (Team LeBron)
- Donovan Mitchell (Team Durant)
- Rudy Gobert (Team LeBron)
The game is scheduled for an 8:00 pm ET tip-off at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, with the national broadcast on TNT.
Here are the final rosters, in order of selection.
TEAM LEBRON: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, Chris Paul, Jaylen Brown
TEAM KD: Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, James Harden, Devin Booker, Zion Williamson, Zach Lavine, Julius Randle