We’ve got the full list of players for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game on March 7, and now it’s time to project the draft.
On Tuesday, the league officially announced the seven reserve selections for each conference. Captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant will take turns drafting their squads from the rest of the pool of starters before moving on to the reserves.
Which player should James draft first? And what are the most interesting All-Star combos?
Here’s an All-Star mock draft, featuring a mix of which superstars LeBron and KD should and will pick.
One important caveat: It’s a little too early to know how many of these official selections will play in the actual game next weekend. For instance: Anthony Davis will need an injury replacement, and Durant has been out with a hamstring injury.
1. Team LeBron: Stephen Curry | Golden State Warriors
Curry is having one of the best seasons of his career, making 42.3% of his 11.9 3s per game. That is … ridiculous. And he has been particularly devastating from both wing areas.
Plus, there’s some extra motivation going up against his former teammate in Durant on the All-Star stage.
Curry has never won the All-Star MVP award, which just seems wrong. This could be his year.
2. Team KD: Kawhi Leonard | LA Clippers
Durant should use his first pick on Leonard, a player motivated to send a message to James.
Leonard is quietly flirting with his first 50/40/90 season while scoring 27 points per game. But he also has proved he cares about winning the All-Star Game. Just last year, he walked away with the inaugural Kobe Bryant MVP trophy after leading his team to a surprisingly thrilling victory.
3. Team LeBron: Giannis Antetokounmpo | Milwaukee Bucks
In a game full of lobs and dunks, Antetokounmpo is a dream come true. He is by far the best dunker among the starters and probably the best defensive rebounder too.
Last year’s game included 75 missed 3s and 95 boards. Antetokounmpo scored 25 points last year, trailing only Leonard in that category. Plus, Antetokounmpo wants to beat his new Eastern Conference rival in Durant.
4. Team KD: Kyrie Irving | Brooklyn Nets
Durant has to pick his teammates, and he has to pick them early. Thankfully, Irving is a perfect All-Star Game teammate.
His beautiful handles, great shooting and electric playmaking make him a solid selection this high.
5. Team LeBron: Bradley Beal | Washington Wizards
Beal leads the NBA in scoring, averaging 32.9 PPG. And James just saw firsthand how clutch Beal can be, as the Wizards’ star torched the Lakers’ defense down the stretch on Monday.
Beal is starting his first All-Star Game, ready to show the world he belongs in that prestigious role.
6. Team KD: Luka Doncic | Dallas Mavericks
Doncic is another perfect All-Star Game teammate. He is one of the most creative playmakers in the game, he can clean up missed shots and (of course) he can score.
He has had a frustrating first half, but you could easily see Doncic using the All-Star stage to remind the doubters that he is still arguably the best young player in the world.
7. Team LeBron: Joel Embiid | Philadelphia 76ers
Plodding centers like Embiid don’t thrive in modern All-Star Game environments. But Embiid is having a career campaign and — like Antetokounmpo — he’ll be eager to send a message to Durant and the Nets that the battle for the East won’t be breezy.
8. Team KD: Nikola Jokic | Denver Nuggets
Jokic could end up as the last starter picked since his quirky brand of greatness might not translate well to an environment marked by breakneck pace, lobs and high-flying dunks.
But Jokic is awesome and entertaining. There are no bad picks here.
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1. Team KD: James Harden | Brooklyn Nets
This is easy. Durant takes his superstar teammate. Next.
2. Team LeBron: Damian Lillard | Portland Trail Blazers
Lillard was picked to start this game by both the players and the media, but he was denied a starting role once again due to the fan vote. Those who doubt him do so at their own peril. I’ve got Lillard as a sleeper MVP pick.
3. Team KD: Zion Williamson | New Orleans Pelicans
Williamson is making his All-Star debut, and you know what no All-Star will do in this game? Get in the way of Williamson’s ferocious rim attacks.
He leads the NBA in points in the paint thanks to his stunning mix of size, skill and hops. He could have 10 dunks in this game.
4. Team LeBron: Ben Simmons | Philadelphia 76ers
Simmons is having a career season. Sure, he can’t shoot 3s, but he basically does everything else. Count on him providing elite perimeter defense if the game gets close down the stretch. (Oh, and he and James share an agent).
5. Team KD: Paul George | LA Clippers
George had a terrible postseason last season, but he is playing awesome right now — flirting with 50/40/90 numbers while pouring in tons of points. He has been especially awesome from downtown, sinking a ridiculous 47.1% of his 7.7 3-point attempts per game.
If Durant pairs Leonard and George up against Team LeBron, there’s a good chance those Lakers-Clippers vibes will ramp up the intensity here.
6. Team LeBron: Chris Paul | Phoenix Suns
James loves Chris Paul and picked him in last year’s draft. Paul and James have now combined to make 28 All-Star teams. That’s incredible.
7. Team KD: Donovan Mitchell | Utah Jazz
The Jazz look like the best team in the NBA right now, and thanks in part to Mitchell, their offense is absolutely humming. He is a perfect off-the-bench All-Star pick. Plus, Durant might be able to pair him up with some familiar faces …
8. Team LeBron: Jayson Tatum | Boston Celtics
Everyone remembers when Tatum dunked on James in the 2018 conference finals, but that won’t stop James from grabbing another one of Durant’s East rivals.
9. Team KD: Rudy Gobert | Utah Jazz
In a game that features very little defense until the final minutes, it is hard to assess Gobert’s value. Per Second Spectrum tracking, he leads the NBA in contested shots and ranks No. 2 in screen assists per game, neither of which are core elements of All-Star basketball.
However, if this game is close at the end, the Stifle Tower becomes a potential X factor.
10. Team LeBron: Zach LaVine | Chicago Bulls
The All-Star Game can turn into a one-on-one affair very quickly. According to Second Spectrum tracking, 36 players have averaged at least four isolations per game this season. Among that group, LaVine ranks fourth in efficiency, trailing only Irving, Harden and Lillard.
James could use some of that with his bench unit.
11. Team KD: Mike Conley (potential injury replacement)
Here’s the deal: With Anthony Davis expected to be out, the league needs to name a sub. That’s a tough choice, but it should go to Conley, who has somehow never made an All-Star team. He is one of the best players on one of the best squads in the league.
Durant now has his Nets crew and three Jazz teammates working together to beat Team LeBron.
12. Team LeBron: Nikola Vucevic | Orlando Magic
Vucevic might not be a household name, but he is one of the best shooting bigs in the NBA. He leads all shooters in 3s made at the top of the arc, and that’s a perfect complement to James.
13. Team KD: Jaylen Brown | Boston Celtics
Brown is having a fantastic season, despite Boston’s relatively mediocre first half. His overall versatility could make him a late-draft steal for Durant.
14. Team LeBron: Julius Randle | New York Knicks
Randle is the first Knicks All-Star since Kristaps Porzingis. He’ll be ready to show the basketball world he belongs in this game.
- LeBron James
- Stephen Curry
- Giannis Antetokounmpo
- Bradley Beal
- Joel Embiid
- Damian Lillard
- Ben Simmons
- Chris Paul
- Jayson Tatum
- Zach LaVine
- Nikola Vucevic
- Julius Randle
- Kevin Durant
- Kawhi Leonard
- Kyrie Irving
- Luka Doncic
- Nikola Jokic
- James Harden
- Zion Williamson
- Paul George
- Donovan Mitchell
- Rudy Gobert
- Mike Conley
- Jaylen Brown