It’s that time of year again. Moments ago, your 2018-2019 NBA All-Star Starters were announced. Here’s the rundown of the elite talent who made the cut:
Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
29.3 PPG, 5.6 AST, 5.2 REB, 1.2 STL, 5.3 3PM, 93% FT
Death, taxes, 6 hour long Jim Boylen practices and Chef Curry starting in the All-Star game. No surprises here as the most important player on the most intimidating team receives his 6th consecutive nod as the starting point guard for the West. Curry is having his best statistical season since his unanimous MVP campaign back in 2015, and if it weren’t for a certain Greek alien and bearded machine, he’d be well on his way to another one. On pace to break his own record of 3s made in a season, Steph should be welcomed back to his hometown of Charlotte with a white-hot reception.
James Harden, Houston Rockets
36.3 PPG, 8.3 AST, 6.4 REB, 2.0 STL, 5.0 3PM, 10 FTM
The sole reason the Rockets have remained competitive in recent weeks and the man responsible for one of the greatest scoring runs the sport of basketball has ever seen, James Harden rolls into Charlotte on absolute fire. Fresh off a career high 61 points in the Garden, and netting 261 points over his last 5 games, we are witnessing something truly historic. Whine about his style of play or the step-step-step backs all you want, but Harden is close to doing something only Wilt Chamberlin and Michael Jordan have accomplished: average 36 points per game in an NBA season. 7-time All-Star sounds about right.
Lebron James, Los Angeles Lakers
27.3 PPG, 7.1 AST, 8.3 REB, 1.3 STL, 0.7 BLK, 2 3PM
Did you really think he wasn’t going to make it? His recent groin injury is evidence that the King might be human after all, but don’t let that distract you from what he’s accomplished on the court. Averaging 27/8/7 with no true B-level star for him to defer to, this is still the same superstar who has started the last 14 consecutive All-Star games. The Lakers have plummeted to the bottom of the league in offensive and defensive efficiency in James’ absence, only further solidifying his case for year number 15 as a starter. Long live the King.
Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
28.0 PPG, 6.0 AST, 7.4 REB, 0.8 STL, 1.1 BLK, 2 3PM, 90% FT
No need to worry about shady subtweets this February. Kevin Durant is quietly having his most productive season as a Golden State Warrior, averaging a career high in assists and is firmly co-captaining the ship in the Bay Area. Overshadowed by Steph’s brilliance, Draymond’s disappointment and Boogie’s return – KD continues to be KD, coming through for his team when they need him the most. We might not get 4 Warriors at all star weekend this year, but you can bank on two. Make that 10 All-Star selections for the 7 foot product out of Texas.
Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
27.0 PPG, 7.9 REB, 4.0 AST, 2.3 STL, 3.4 3PM
Russel Westbrook is out here averaging a triple double again! But nobody seems to care. Why? Because Paul George has stepped out of his familiar second fiddle role to assume control of the show in OKC. Posting career highs in points, boards, assists, steals, and threes, George has elevated his game to a level that puts him in the conversation of players who can lead a championship team. In his 6th time donning an All-Star Jersey, PG will waltz into Charlotte in the best form of his life.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
27.1 PPG, 13.2 REB, 3.6 AST, 2.0 BLK, 1.2 3PM, 80% FT
The prodigal son of Philadelphia is showing us all what it looks like when he’s fully healthy, and it’s scary. Averaging career highs in every single statistical category, Joel Embiid is shattering the narrative that his body isn’t built to last in the NBA. He might not have much competition for the starting center spot in the East, but that doesn’t diminish the impact he’s had on his team’s success this season. Count on JoJo being a fairly high pick in this year’s televised All-Star draft.
Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors
27.6 PPG, 7.9 REB, 3.1 AST, 1.9 STL, 1.8 3PM, 85% FT, 36 GP
Yeah, he’s a fun guy. He’s also a basketball robot, who has been the number one reason why the Toronto Raptors find themselves with the most wins in the National Basketball Association. After a wildly mysterious year in Texas, Kawhi (and presumably Uncle Dennis) has settled nicely into his new home North of the Border. Leonard has solidified himself as a legitimate NBA superstar and the best 2-way player in the league. Anything but a starter nod for the NBA’s best laugh would have been an absolute shock. Can you believe it’s only his 3rd All-Star selection?
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
26.5 PPG, 5.9 AST, 12.6 REB, 1.3 STL, 1.4 BLK, 58% FG
Would you bet your life that he’s 100% human? After hitting the weights and living in a gym all summer long, the Greek Freak is back with a vengeance. Playing himself in to the top tier of MVP candidates, Giannis and his absurd 58% shooting clip have willed the Bucks into first place in the East. There is no debating the 23-year-old’s worth as an All-Star starter and leading vote getter as he’s posting career bests in rebounds, assists, field goal percentage and points in 2019. But who will he draft first overall?
Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics
23.5 PPG, 6.9 AST, 4.8 REB, 1.7 STL, 2.6 3PM, 85% FT
Celtics fans have a lot to worry about lately. Tatum’s stunted development, Horford’s fall off in production and the worry that Hayward may never become the same guy we saw in Utah. The one thing not keeping them awake at night? Kyrie Irving. While his stats this season don’t rival that of years past, Irving is still the most important player in Beantown. 6 of the top 7 net rated Celtic lineups include Kyrie this year, and he always seems to be there when his team needs bailing out. Irving isn’t winning any awards for his behavior in locker rooms or media huddles, but his on court antics have been something to marvel at. Make that 6 All-Star nods for Uncle Drew.
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets
25.0 PPG, 4.2 REB, 5.7 AST, 1.3 STL, 3.2 3PM, 81%FT
In easily his best season since entering the league in 2011, Kemba Walker lit the NBA on fire with his performance in the first quarter of the season. While he’s since cooled down, Kemba remains the East’s most impressive Point Guard 50 games into the year. The Hornets have no business competing for a spot in the playoffs, but Walker’s offensive wizardry thus far has propelled Charlotte into contention in the East. That’s good for his first selection as an All-Star starter, one which the home town hive will no doubt be buzzing for.