All-Star Game

Antetokounmpo, James Head All-Star Starters; Embiid Falls Short

Lakers forward LeBron James tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Thursday with his 19th NBA All-Star selection. James, who currently shares the record with Abdul-Jabbar for most All-Star Games played with 18, was chosen as a starter, according to a league press release.

All of the starters were revealed on Thursday night.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic were the other starters chosen out of the Western Conference. James will serve as a team captain for the sixth straight year, since he received the most votes.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, named a team captain for the third time, heads the list of starters out of the Eastern Conference. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Nets forward Kevin Durant, Nets guard Kyrie Irving, and Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell will join him, but the league’s second-leading scorer, Sixers center Joel Embiid (33.4 PPG), didn’t garner enough votes.

The starters are selected by a weighted voting process with the fan vote accounting for half of the final outcome. The player and media portions of the vote each counted for 25 percent. Three frontcourt players and two guards were selected from each conference.

Embiid finished third in the player and media voting among Eastern Conference frontcourt players but fourth in the fan voting. All voting results can be found here.

The game will be played Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City. James and Antetokounmpo will choose their teams shortly before the game begins. James will set the league record for most All-Star appearances if he plays, since Abdul-Jabbar did not play in the 1973 game after being chosen.

The reserves, which are chosen by the league’s coaches, will be announced Feb. 2.

And-Ones: Lin, Hawks, C. Grant, All-Star Game, T. Terry

Longtime NBA guard Jeremy Lin is resuming his playing career in Taiwan after parting ways with the Guangzhou Loong Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association last month.

Lin, who appeared in a total of 480 regular season NBA games across nine seasons, announced on his Instagram account that he’s joining the Kaohsiung Steelers. The club, which competes in the P. League+, Taiwan’s top basketball league, confirmed the news in an Instagram post of its own.

Lin last played in the NBA as a member of the champion Raptors during the 2018/19 season. Since then, he has continued to play in Asia and the G League — before he suited up for Guangzhou earlier this season, the 34-year-old spent time with the Beijing Ducks in 2019/20 and ’21/22, and with the Santa Cruz Warriors in 2021.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Shams Charania of The Athletic reported last week that the Hawks were in serious talks to hire former Cavs general manager Chris Grant as a senior advisor in their front office, but ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has heard that it won’t happen. “From what I’m told, even though they were interested in bringing him in, Chris has actually pulled his name from consideration,” Windhorst said on his Hoop Collective podcast, per RealGM. “He’s going to stay with the Spurs (in a scouting role). He’s happy in San Antonio.”
  • The NBA announced this week (via Twitter) that it will have its All-Star captains pick their 12-man squads right before the All-Star Game begins, rather than days in advance. The captains will be announced tonight when the league reveals the five All-Star starters from each conference.
  • Former second-round pick Tyrell Terry, who made a surprising retirement announcement last month at age 22 for mental health reasons, spoke to Julie Kliegman of SI.com about why he opted to give up basketball and why he isn’t regretting the decision. “If you Google my name it’ll probably be, ‘Ex-Athlete Steps Away From the Game for Mental Health,'” Terry said. “But when I read some of the DMs that people have sent me – I’ve had phone call conversations with parents of athletes who are struggling – and just the kind words and the gratitude that they’ve showed me, it pushes those second thoughts to the side and makes them less relevant.”

Celtics Notes: Udoka, Stoudamire, All-Star Game, Smart

Celtics assistant coach Damon Stoudamire said he frequently checks in with suspended coach Ime Udoka, whom he’s known for 30 years. Stoudamire has tried to give him advice and keep his spirits high, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reports.

“I think that everything that happens to you, when it hits you like this it can really get overwhelming,” Stoudamire said. “So that’s what I check on him about. I check on him to make sure he’s doing all right, and make sure his son is good, and that he’s able to find some type of peace within what he has going on. As a human being when you do something, you beat yourself down. And with the success that we’re having now, it’s human nature, man. You’re sitting there; you’re watching [the team]. I just think the biggest thing is that he’s able to, in his own way, come to some kind of resolution and peace in his mind so he can move forward.”

We have more on the Celtics:

  • In the same story, Stoudamire expressed a desire to be an NBA head coach. He was a head coach at Pacific prior to joining the Celtics staff. He filled in for interim coach Joe Mazzulla when Mazzulla missed a couple of games due to eye irritation. “Of course I want to be a head coach again, but more importantly I want to be prepared when the opportunity presents itself,” Stoudamire said.
  • The Celtics will file an application to host the 2026 All-Star Game, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Boston has gone nearly 60 years without hosting it, mainly due to modest interest within the city and among the team’s ownership groups. That thinking has changed because the Celtics expect to remain in championship contention behind All-Star talents Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Having an upgraded facility, plus plenty of hotel space near the arena, has also encouraged the current owners to bid for the game.
  • Marcus Smart has been ruled out for Monday’s game in Orlando due to a sprained ankle suffered Saturday night in Toronto, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets. Malcolm Brogdon will also miss the game due to personal reasons, while Robert Williams (knee) is questionable.

Community Shootaround: All-Star Teams

The NBA released its third round of fan voting on Thursday, and the results haven’t changed much from the first batch. LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo are leading the way for their respective conferences, with Kevin Durant close behind Antetokounmpo in the East.

The West’s projected starting lineup (three in the frontcourt and two backcourt players), listed in the order of fan votes received, would be James, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic and Anthony Davis. The East’s would be Antetokounmpo, Durant, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving and Donovan Mitchell.

Fan voting counts for 50% of the overall vote toward the starters, while current players and the media account for 25% apiece. The starters will be announced next Thursday on TNT.

Davis and Durant are currently injured, so they might not compete in the showcase event, though both players could return before February 19, when the game takes place. A couple other star players — Zion Williamson and Devin Booker — are currently injured as well, and it’s hard to say if they’ll be selected due to the amount of time they’ve missed, even if they would clearly be deserving if healthy (Williamson could be a starter; he trails Davis by around 78,000 votes).

Let’s assume the starters remain unchanged. The league’s coaches select the reserves, with seven players chosen from each conference.

Joel Embiid is a lock in the East, and I view Pascal Siakam and Jaylen Brown as locks as well. That leaves four spots from a crowded list of contenders that includes Tyrese Haliburton (also injured, but perhaps short term), Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, James Harden, Trae Young, Darius Garland, Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Kuzma, Jrue Holiday, Paolo Banchero, Franz Wagner, Nic Claxton, and Brook Lopez, among others.

Out West, let’s assume Williamson makes it. Ja Morant and Domantas Sabonis should be locks, in my opinion. That would leave four remaining spots from a field that includes Booker, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lauri Markkanen, Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane, De’Aaron FoxPaul George, Damian Lillard, Jerami Grant, CJ McCollum, Aaron Gordon and Anthony Edwards, among others.

Dan Devine of Yahoo Sports breaks down some of the potential first-time All-Stars into four tiers: Near locks, legit cases, the best-team effect, and long shots. Gilgeous-Alexander, Markkanen and Haliburton are near locks, according to Devine — I would go a step further and say all three should absolutely make the team. That would only leave two spots in the West and three in the East.

As for Devine’s legit cases, that’s where Fox, Brunson and McCollum land. Jackson, Bane, Gordon and Claxton fall into the “best-team effect” category, while Edwards, Grant, Wagner and Banchero are long shots, per Devine.

One of Adebayo or Butler will make it for the Heat, perhaps even both — they’re great two-way players. Butler has missed several games. Adebayo would be my pick. I think DeRozan is deserving. That leaves one spot, and for me it’s down to Brunson or Randle. I’ll take Brunson.

The last two spots in the West are really hard. Booker was awesome when healthy (the Suns are 18-10 in his full games and 3-14 with him hurt). Fox has been a monster in the clutch and the Kings have exceeded expectations. Lillard is playing as well as he ever has, but the Blazers are below .500. Jackson is arguably the frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year and the Grizzlies are 31-13. Gordon has been the second-best player on the West’s current No. 1 seed.

Fox has played 11 more games than Booker and eight more than Lillard. I’ll give him the nod. Jackson is my final pick — he has been a force on both ends since he returned from offseason foot surgery.

We want to know what you think. What would your All-Star picks be? Head to the comments and let us know what you think.

And-Ones: All-Star Voting, Moore, Sophomore Class, 2023 Mock

Superstar forwards LeBron James and Kevin Durant lead the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively, in the first round of All-Star fan voting, the NBA announced on Thursday (Twitter link). Fan voting makes up 50% of the vote for the starting lineup, with players and the media accounting for 25% each.

The projected starting lineups, based on the initial round of fan voting, would be James, Nikola Jokic and Anthony Davis in the West’s frontcourt, with Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic in the backcourt. The East’s frontcourt would be Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid, with Kyrie Irving and Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt.

Fan voting ends on January 21. The next round of votes will be released on January 12.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Free agent guard E’Twaun Moore, a career 38.8% three-point shooter, believes he can still help teams. He’s working out and staying ready in case he gets a call, but he’s also making plans for his post-NBA career. “I got to be prepared if a team doesn’t want to pick me up,” he told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “Then what am I going to do?” As Vorkunov details, the 11-year veteran views fellow East Chicago, Indiana, native and former NBA player Junior Bridgeman as a role model due to his successful business ventures — Bridgeman is worth an estimated $600MM. Moore earned more than $42MM during his career, but he’s already accumulated another $40MM in various business interests after spending $6MM to acquire them, per Vorkunov. “That’s just getting started,” said Moore, who graduated from Purdue with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership. “I want to try get nine figures. I want to make way more off the court than I did playing basketball.”
  • The 2021 draft class has been largely disappointing in 2022/23, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic. That’s a stark contrast from their rookie seasons, when players like Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, Evan Mobley and Jalen Green looked like future stars. Cunningham’s second year was cut short by season-ending surgery, and while the other three have shown glimpses, they’ve been pretty inconsistent in year two, says Hollinger, who also evaluates several other players from the class.
  • In Jonathan Wasserman’s latest 2023 mock draft for Bleacher Report, Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson, twin brothers for Overtime Elite, go No. 3 and No. 4 behind Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson. Villanova’s Cam Whitmore rounds out the top five.

2023 NBA All-Star Voting To Commence Tuesday

Voting for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City will begin this coming Tuesday, December 20 at 10:00 a.m. CT, per a league press release.

Fan voting will run till Saturday, January 21 at 10:59 p.m. CT. All-Star Game starters, voted on by a combination of fans, players and media, will be unveiled during a TNT broadcast on Thursday, January 26.

All-Star reserves, as voted on by head coaches, will be subsequently revealed on Thursday, February 2.

Fans will be permitted to vote once per day, either by accessing NBA.com or the league’s new NBA App. The NBA also indicated that it will feature six days during which fan votes count for triple their normal value: December 25, January 1, January 6, January 13, January 16 and January 20.

As has been the case in recent years, fan voting will be weighed as 50% of the cumulative All-Star starter voting tally, while the other 50% will be split between players and media. Two guards and three frontcourt players will be elected starters in each conference.

The two players who receive the most votes in either conference will serve as team captains. In recent years, captains have drafted their teams during a live TNT broadcast.

All-Star Weekend will tip off in Utah on Friday, February 17, while the All-Star Game itself will take place on Sunday, February 19.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Embiid, Celtics, Griffin, Irving

In order to maximize their chances of winning a championship, the Sixers need to reinvent themselves around an injured Joel Embiid, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. Embiid is dealing with ligament damage to his thumb and will undergo surgery after the playoffs.

As we relayed, he has no intention of sitting out, but he clearly seemed bothered by the injury in Game 4. The MVP candidate still finished with 21 points and eight rebounds, but he was frequently grabbing at his hand during stoppages of play.

The Sixers have enough talent around Embiid to close out their series against the Raptors, but advancing beyond the second round without his usual level of production would be difficult. Embiid is coming off a season in which he averaged a career-high 30.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks on 50% shooting.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe takes a look at the Celtics’ hopes to bring the All-Star Game back to Boston. The Celtics are preparing a bid, Washburn notes, as Boston hasn’t hosted an All-Star Game since 1964. The team would likely look to host in 2025 or 2026.
  • Nets veteran Blake Griffin provided a lift off the bench in Game 3 against Boston, Peter Botte of the New York Post writes. Griffin played for the first time since April 2, recording eight points in nearly eight minutes. He could see action again in Game 4 on Monday.
  • A trio of ESPN hosts — Stephen A. Smith, Jalen Rose and Michael Wilbon — ripped Nets star Kyrie Irving and believe the team shouldn’t sign him to a long-term deal, as relayed by Adam Zagoria of NJ.com. Irving didn’t get vaccinated against COVID-19 and couldn’t play in home games until late March this season due to New York City’s vaccine requirement. That, combined with a midseason James Harden trade and key injuries, have harmed the Nets’ ability to build chemistry. Irving could decline a $36.5MM player option for next season and become a free agent this summer.

Jazz Notes: Mitchell, Gobert, 2023 ASG, Hernangomez

The Jazz have made the playoffs in each of the four years since Donovan Mitchell entered the NBA and are on track to do so again in 2022. However, Mitchell has yet to make it beyond the second round of the postseason and is feeling more urgency to make a deeper run this spring, as he tells Tony Jones of The Athletic.

“I think I’m really at a point now where we’ve made the second round, and we want more,” Mitchell said. “We crave it. I watched Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp in the Super Bowl; they just found ways to win. So, for me, that’s the biggest thing. The ultimate goal is for us to be the last team standing. That’s the sign of the ultimate winner.”

In addition to voicing his desire for the Jazz to “take another leap,” Mitchell once again brushed off the notion that there’s any tension between him and teammate Rudy Gobert, echoing comments he made to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports earlier this month.

“I’m at a point now where it’s the NBA, this is what it is,” Mitchell told Jones. “People are going to write things. If I have to respond every five minutes to a story, then I’m taking away from my teammates, and I’m taking away from my happiness. I love this team, and we want to find a way to win as a group. I’m focused on my team. As long as my teammates and my coaches know my intentions, then that’s what it is. But I’m not going to allow articles to deter me from my main goal. I love this group. So, let’s find a way to do it.”

Here’s more on the Jazz:

  • Rudy Gobert, who watched 19-year veteran LeBron James hit the game-winning shot against his team in Sunday’s All-Star Game, said he’d love to be able to replicate LeBron’s longevity, as Sarah Todd of The Deseret News writes. “I’m taking great care of myself, just to trying to see how far I can go,” said Gobert, who is in his ninth season. “Whenever I feel like I either can’t play anymore or I lose that competitive edge, then I’ll probably stop it, but for sure I would love to play for 19 years.”
  • In the wake of 2022 All-Star Weekend in Cleveland, Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune looks ahead to the 2023 event, which will be hosted by the Jazz, and considers what it will mean for the Salt Lake City market. It’s the first time the All-Star Game will be played in Utah since 1993.
  • Juan Hernangomez, acquired by the Jazz at the trade deadline, is under contract through 2022/23, but his salary for next season is non-guaranteed, so he’ll likely become a free agent this summer, if not sooner. As Antigoni Zachari of Eurohoops relays, Hernangomez would like to finish this season in the NBA and could remain stateside beyond that, but he’s also expected to draw significant interest from teams in Spain, including Barcelona, according to international reports. Hernangomez played in his home country for Estudiantes for two seasons from 2014-16 before entering the NBA.

Stephen Curry Named MVP Of All-Star Game

Warriors guard Stephen Curry was named the MVP of the 2022 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland on Sunday night, following a record-setting performance in which he put up 50 points and made 16 three-pointers for Team LeBron.

Curry’s 16 three-pointers obliterated the previous All-Star record of nine and are more than any player has made in a regular season game in NBA history (Curry’s teammate Klay Thompson holds that record, with 14).

While Curry’s outside shooting stole the show for much of the night, it was his teammate – and fellow Akron, Ohio native – LeBron James who hit the game-winning shot to secure a 163-160 win for Team LeBron. Curry said after the game that it was an ideal way for an All-Star Game in Cleveland to play out.

“It was kind of a perfect ending,” Curry said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “Obviously, I got the MVP; I played well the whole night. (LeBron) hit the game winner. All the history of our series and the Akron ties, and all that kind of going into how the night went, so it was pretty — can’t really draw it up any other way. It’s right on the nose of how it should go.”

It’s the first All-Star MVP award for Curry and the fifth time in NBA history that a Warriors player has won it, with Curry joining Kevin Durant (2019), Rick Barry (1967), Wilt Chamberlain (1960), and Paul Arizin (1952).

James (24 points, eight assists, six rebounds) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (30 points, 12 rebounds) were among the other Team LeBron standouts, while Joel Embiid led the way for Team Durant with 36 points and 10 boards.

Southeast Notes: Butler, Hachimura, Heat, Carter Jr.

Heat star Jimmy Butler is honored to represent his team in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald writes. While co-star Bam Adebayo likely would’ve made the All-Star team if he stayed healthy, Butler is the lone representative this season for a Miami team tied for the Eastern Conference’s top spot.

“It’s an incredible blessing to be able to be on the court with all of these superstars and crazy talented players,” he said. “I think you’re just thankful that you get the opportunity to play basketball again because it’s not promised to anybody.

“[This weekend] is a lot, but I don’t complain about it. I think it’s an honor to be able to be an All-Star and go out there and compete with these guys.

This is Butler’s sixth All-Star season and second in Miami. He’s currently averaging 21.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game, shooting 48% from the floor and 90% from the charity stripe.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Wizards forward Rui Hachimura scored 14 fourth-quarter points to defeat the Nets on Thursday, reminding the team of his upside, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Hachimura finished with 20 points in 27 minutes off the bench, shooting 8-of-15 from the floor. “Rui, he’s just got the joy back… I can see that smile again, I can see that laugh, I can see that joy,” teammate Ish Smith said. “Rui’s a special player. He’s been a special player the first two years I was here with him and now you guys are seeing him just continue to grow and get better.”
  • The Heat‘s coaching staff are making the most of their All-Star opportunity, Anthony Chiang writes in a separate article for the Miami Herald. Head coach Erik Spoelstra and his assistants will coach Team Durant in the All-Star Game, something that’ll surely be a unique experience for all involved.
  • Stephen Noh of Sporting News examines the new and improved Wendell Carter Jr. Carter, who signed a four-year rookie scale extension prior to the season, is in the midst of a career year with the Magic, averaging 14.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per game in 29.4 minutes per contest. He’s in his second season with Orlando.