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LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo captains as All-Star starters named

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In this edition of Kurt's Korner, Kurt Helin offers his take on the NBA's new All-Star format -- with captains picking teams live on the court -- and whether it can make the game truly compelling to fans.

LeBron James is just 157 points shy of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA all-time scoring record, which he should break early next month. But before breaking that iconic record, he tied Abdul-Jabbar for another NBA milestone.

LeBron was the leading fan vote-getter and is an NBA All-Star Game for the 19th time, tying Abdul-Jabbar for the most All-Star appearances in league history.

James and Giannis Antetokounmpo received the most fan votes in their conferences and will be the captains of the teams for the Feb. 19 All-Star Game in Salt Lake City. This is Antetokounmpo’s third time as captain, it is LeBron’s sixth — and his teams are 5-0 in his previous captaincies.

In a new twist, James and Antetokounmpo will pick their teams playground style right on the court before the game. They will choose from a pool of starters announced Thursday — selected by a vote of fans, media, and current players — and then the backups from a list of reserves selected by the coaches (which will be announced next week). Here are this year’s starters (two backcourt, three frontcourt players from each conference):

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Stephen Curry
Luka Dončić
LeBron James
Nikola Jokić
Zion Williamson

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Kyrie Irving
Donovan Mitchell
Kevin Durant
Giannis Antetokounmpo
Jayson Tatum

This is the first start for Zion Williamson and Donovan Mitchell.

The vote also squeezed Joel Embiid out of a crowded frontcourt in the East. Here is the voting breakdown, where each player’s score is weighted based on 50 percent for the fan vote, 25 percent for player vote, and 25 percent for the media vote.
Eastern Conference Frontcourt

Player (Team)Fan RankPlayer RankMedia RankWeighted Score
1. *#Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee) 1 1 2 1.25
2. *Kevin Durant (Brooklyn) 2 2 4 2.5
3. *Jayson Tatum (Boston) 3 4 1 2.75
4. Joel Embiid (Philadephia) 4 3 3 3.75
5. Jimmy Butler (Miami) 5 7 5 5.5
6. Pascal Siakam (Toronto) 6 6 5 5.75
7. Paolo Banchero (Orlando) 8 8 5 7.25
8. Bam Adebayo (Miami) 11 5 5 8.0
9. Julius Randle (New York) 9 10 5 8.25
10. Kyle Kuzma (Washington) 7 16 5 9.25

Eastern Conference Guards

Player (Team)Fan RankPlayer RankMedia RankWeighted Score
1. *Kyrie Irving (Boston) 1 1 4 1.75
2. *Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland) 2 2 1 1.75
3. Jaylen Brown (Boston) 3 3 2 2.75
4. James Harden (Philadelphia) 4 5 5 4.5
5. Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana) 8 6 3 6.25
6. DeMar DeRozan (Chicago) 6 4 10 6.5
7. Trae Young (Atlanta) 12 5 6 7.0
8. LaMelo Ball (Charlotte) 7 9 10 8.25
9. Darius Garland (Cleveland) 10 7 6 8.25
10. Jalen Brunson (Milwaukee) 12 8 9 10.25

*–Voted to start
#–Team captain

Western Conference Frontcourt

Player (Team)Fan RankPlayer RankMedia RankWeighted Score
1. *# LeBron James (Los Angeles) 1 2 2 1.5
2. *Nikola Jokic (Denver) 2 1 1 1.5
3. *Zion Williamson (New Orleans) 4 3 4 3.75
4. Anthony Davis (Los Angeles) 3 7 6 4.25
5. Lauri Markkanen (Utah) 7 4 5 5.75
6. Domantas Sabonis (Sacramento) 9 5 3 6.5
7. Paul George (L.A. Clippers) 6 6 9 6.75
8. Andrew Wiggins (Golden State) 5 19 9 9.5
9. Draymond Green (Golden State) 14 9 9 9.75
10. Kawhi Leonard (L.A. Clippers) 11 14 7 10.75

Western Conference Guards

Player (Team)Fan RankPlayer RankMedia RankWeighted Score
1. *Stephen Curry (Golden State) 1 2 2 1.5
2. *Luka Doncic (Dallas) 2 1 1 1.5
3. Ja Morant (Memphis) 3 3 3 3
4. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City) 4 4 4 4
5. Damian Lillard (Portland) 7 5 5 6.0
6. De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento) 8 5 5 6.5
7. Devin Booker (Phoenix) 10 7 5 8
8. Russell Westbrook (Los Angeles) 6 18 5 8.75
9. Anthony Edwards (Minnesota) 13 8 5 9.75
10. Klay Thompson (Golden State) 5 25 5 10

*–Voted to start
#–Team captain