Joel Embiid

2021 NBA All-Star Game Starters Revealed

The NBA has revealed its 2021 All-Star Game starters. Here are those names:

Eastern Conference

After missing all of the 2019/20 season while he recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon, Durant is making his triumphant return to the All-Star Game. In his first appearance as a Brooklyn player, the 11-time All-Star will captain a team, having led the Eastern Conference in fan votes.

[RELATED: Community Shootaround: Eastern All-Stars]

This is the seventh All-Star appearance for Durant’s teammate Irving. Antetokounmpo, the reigning two-time MVP, has just made his fifth All-Star game. A frontrunner for the 2021 MVP award, Embiid is appearing in his fourth such contest. Beal will be making his first All-Star start after playing as a reserve in the 2018 and 2019 All-Star contests. The Wizards are the No. 13 seed in the East.

Western Conference

James, who was the top vote-getter in the Western Conference and the entire NBA with 5,922,554 fan votes, will again be a team captain. He will be suiting up for his 17th All-Star appearance, the third-most ever behind only fellow Laker legends Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19 appearances) and Kobe Bryant (18). James was previously tied for making the third-most cumulative All-Star contests alongside Hall of Fame Nets and Sixers wing Julius Erving, who was selected into five ABA All-Star games and 11 NBA All-Star games.

Jokic, an early top MVP contender along with James and Embiid, will earn his first All-Star start in his third appearance in the game. Curry will partake in his seventh All-Star contest, while Leonard has just been voted into his fifth All-Star game.

[RELATED: Community Shootaround: Western All-Stars]

Doncic barely edged out Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard to be the second All-Star guard next to Curry among the starters, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Despite extended absences from starters CJ McCollum, Jusuf Nurkic, and Zach Collins, the Blazers boast an 18-10 record, good for the No. 4 seed in the crowded West, largely thanks to Lillard. The Mavericks, meanwhile, are 13-15, the No. 10 seed in the West.

As was the case during the last two years, the top vote-getters of each conference will captain a team, and will be able to draft players from either conference. The “Elam Ending,” which made the conclusion of last year’s game much more entertaining than it had been in recent years, is set to return again this year.

Earlier today, the league officially announced that the 2021 All-Star Game is set to take place at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, as a one-night event on March 7. The evening will also include its three All-Star weekend mainstay events: the Skills Competition, the Three-Point Contest and the Dunk Contest.

A full list of fan voting totals is viewable at this Twitter link, courtesy of Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. The complete voting breakdown by position and conference, including media and player votes, can be found at the bottom of this press release.

The league will announce the 14 players who will comprise the All-Star reserves on Tuesday, February 22, at 7 p.m. ET, per Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter).

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Ntilikina, Rose, Quickley, Flynn

Sixers center Joel Embiid is having the best season of his career and has emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. In addition to anchoring a defense that ranks first in the Eastern Conference with a 107.4 rating, Embiid is having his best offensive season, with career highs in points per game (29.3), field-goal percentage (55.3%), and three-point percentage (39.0%), among other categories.

Even if he doesn’t earn MVP honors, Embiid is on track to be named to one of the league’s three All-NBA teams, which would bode well for his future earnings. If he earns an All-NBA spot this season, the Sixers star would become eligible to sign a super-max contract extension that would start at 35% of the 2023/24 salary cap instead of his standard limit of 30%.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina has been ruled out for Tuesday due to entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per the team (Twitter link). Ntilikina hasn’t tested positive, but is subject to contact tracing after having been in proximity to someone who tested positive, reports Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link). If Ntilikina is determined to have been a close contact of that person, he may be sidelined for the next week.
  • While there’s some concern among Knicks fans that newly-acquired point guard Derrick Rose will steal minutes from promising rookie Immanuel Quickley, the two guards have already begun to bond, as Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “First of all he gave me his number — said anything I need just hit him,” Quickley said of Rose on Tuesday. “But he sat down with me a little bit, me and Obi (Toppin) actually, just told us he’s here to help us, he’s here to help us grow and things like that.”
  • As he heads to the G League bubble to gain regular playing time and experience, Malachi Flynn is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Raptors teammate Fred VanVleet, who won an NBAGL title as a rookie before emerging as a key player for an NBA championship team two years later. Blake Murphy of The Athletic has the story.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Curry, Celtics, Raptors

Sixers star Joel Embiid is widely expected to make the All-Star team this season, but the 26-year-old wouldn’t commit to playing in the game when asked about it on Thursday, Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Embiid is currently enjoying a career-best season, averaging 29.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per contest. He’s made the All-Star Game in each of his last three campaigns.

“I am not sure if I am going to make it, but hopefully I get the chance to be part of it once again,” Embiid said. “I have always been conservative. I have always voiced my opinion since the pandemic started, starting with the bubble, wasn’t really all [for it] and then the season.”

Embiid isn’t the first player to seemingly voice concerns over the All-Star Game being held, with Kings star De’Aaron Fox recently opposing the decision and Lakers superstar LeBron James also speaking out against the idea on Thursday night. The game is currently set be held on March 7 in Atlanta.

Here are some other notes from the Atlantic Division:

  • Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer examines how Seth Curry‘s recovery from COVID-19 has impacted his performance. Curry was acquired by the Sixers last offseason, most recently going scoreless in the team’s loss on Thursday (0-for-1 shooting in 12 minutes). He also didn’t record a point on Wednesday, shooting 0-for-3 in nearly 29 minutes.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston explores the Celtics‘ 10 most valuable trade assets. Boston has several young players on its roster and a $28.5MM trade exception, making them a team worth watching ahead of the March 25 trade deadline. The club is currently 11-9.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic examines topics related to Raptors guard Malachi Flynn, trade scenarios and Plan B’s in his latest mailbag. Toronto has opened the season with a 9-12 record, though the team is 6-4 in its last 10 games.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Jersey Swaps, Sixers, Len

It hasn’t been a smooth transition since the Nets formed their Big Three, but Kyrie Irving remains confident that the group will eventually work, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn is 3-2 since James Harden joined the team, including a pair of losses this week in Cleveland.

“Don’t trip. It’s a long journey,” Irving posted on Instagram. “We will be on that stage. The stage where the best of the best meet. … You know. The main stage. Where those who can, do. And those who cannot talk about those that are doing. If you rolling with us, great. Let’s rock. If you’re not, you know you wanna talk about our greatness anyway.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • As promised, the NBA is cracking down on post-game interactions between players to minimize COVID-19 risks, notes Liz Roscher of Yahoo. Irving and Miami’s Bam Adebayo were interrupted by a security guard Saturday night as they attempted to exchange jerseys. “I’ll give Kyrie the jersey on my own time,” Adebayo told reporters.
  • Sixers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are committed to getting the most out of their partnership, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. They are interacting more off the court and trying to mesh their talents together on a Philadelphia team that has the East’s best record at 12-5. “We both see different things, so now for me and Jo, I think the relationship continues to grow,” Simmons said. “We talk a lot more now in terms of being on the floor and certain things we say. Knowing where he wants the ball, all the sets, and just flying, getting into the flow of the game, and just trying to read it the right way.”
  • After waiving Alex Len on Tuesday, the Raptors have a financial incentive to hope he stays with the Wizards, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. If Len remains on Washington’s roster past February 24, which is the last day to release players before their contracts become fully guaranteed, Toronto will receive a $126,029 offset on his $2.258M salary, which is still on the Raptors’ books.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Celtics, Nets, McCaw, Knicks

The Celtics and Sixers have, at times this season, found themselves shorthanded due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, which have required a number of players on both teams to quarantine for positive COVID-19 tests or contact tracing. Heading into their games on Wednesday and Friday of this week, both teams should be a little closer to whole.

As Tim Bontemps of ESPN details, Sixers center Joel Embiid, who missed Saturday’s game due to a sore right knee, is expected to be good to go on Wednesday, per head coach Doc Rivers. And while Seth Curry didn’t practice today, he’s in the final stages of the health and safety protocols and hasn’t yet been ruled out for Wednesday’s game, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said today that Kemba Walker‘s knee responded “great” after his season debut on Monday, and he practiced in full today (Twitter link via Bontemps). Robert Williams, who has been cleared following a positive COVID-19 test earlier this month, also practiced today, per Stevens, and will be available on Wednesday.

Still, the Celtics aren’t at full strength yet. Jayson Tatum and Carsen Edwards both remain in the health and safety protocols and won’t play on Wednesday, though Stevens left the door open for Tatum to return as soon as Friday (Twitter link via Bontemps).

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic expects the Nets to take their time filling their open roster spots so as not to unnecessarily increase their projected luxury tax bill, which is already substantial. Hollinger also suggests that promoting Reggie Perry from his two-way contract would be a good way to fill one of those slots, since Perry – a 2020 second-round pick – would only count for the prorated rookie minimum for cap and tax purposes.
  • Raptors guard Patrick McCaw hasn’t played at all this season as he continues to recover from knee surgery, and it doesn’t sound like he’s close to returning. Head coach Nick Nurse said on Monday that he hoped McCaw would be much further along by this point, but the recovery progress has been slow (Twitter link via Josh Lewenberg of
  • The Westchester Knicks – New York’s G League affiliate – issued a press release confirming the previously-reported hiring of Jaren Jackson Sr. as an assistant coach and announcing that Ryan Borges has been promoted to assistant general manager.

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Simmons, Embiid, Knicks, Ntilikina

Nets superstar James Harden is ready to embrace the sacrifice needed for his team to succeed this season, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes.

Harden, who was acquired by Brooklyn in a massive three-team trade on Wednesday, joins a Nets team already featuring two of the league’s best offensive players in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The looming question, of course, is whether the three talents will be able to co-exist going forward.

“Chemistry. Sacrifice,” Harden said, as relayed by Lewis. “We’re all elite, so depending on the game and what’s going on throughout the course of the game, that’s going to determine who gets the ball and who makes the plays.

“We’re all unselfish, we’re all willing passers and we play basketball the right way.”

Harden is currently listed as questionable to play in Saturday’s game against Orlando, with Irving set to miss the game due to health and safety protocols. The team could have its full Big 3 available for Monday’s showdown against the defensive-minded Bucks on TNT.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division today:

  • Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer explores the fit between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, a pairing he believes is still questionable even with some added shooting. Simmons was prepared for the possibility of being traded by the Sixers in a deal centered around Harden this past week, but Houston made a deal with Brooklyn instead.
  • The Knicks considered extending the contract of Mitchell Robinson last offseason, perhaps showing how they value the 22-year-old, Ian Begley of tweets. Robinson’s game remains a work in progress, but he possesses the tools needed to be an intriguing player for the future. In 13 games this season, he’s averaged 8.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per contest.
  • Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau issued a brief injury update on Frank Ntilikina, who hasn’t seen action since Dec. 29 due to a knee sprain. “We have to be patient and let him work through that,” Thibodeau said, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link). “He’s making steady progress. It will probably be a little while longer.”

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Embiid, Johnson, Watanabe, Knicks

Ben Simmons is keeping a positive attitude — at least publicly — despite the knowledge the Sixers were willing to deal him to acquire James Harden, according to Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Simmons had a triple-double against Miami on Thursday. “I am blessed. I get to play the game I love every day at the highest level in the world, so there’s far worse things going on in the world,” he said. “So I’m in a blessed position. If you tell me I’ll never play the game again, that would be a different story.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers center Joel Embiid will miss the next two games due to right knee discomfort, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. Embiid won’t join the team during its road trip to Memphis and Oklahoma City. Embiid only played 24 minutes and was held to nine points and five rebounds against Miami on Thursday.
  • Stanley Johnson and Yuta Watanabe provided a defensive spark for the Raptors on Thursday and could be in line for bigger roles, according to TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. Johnson, who becomes a free agent after the season, played 21 minutes and Watanabe, who earned a two-way contract in training camp, played 15 against Charlotte. “They did a great job of just playing hard,” coach Nick Nurse said. “They were keeping balls alive, they were jarring balls loose on the defensive end, they were limiting them to one shot.”
  • The Knicks shouldn’t deviate from their rebuilding plan despite the splashy moves made by the cross-town Nets, Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post opines. The Knicks are playing harder under new coach Tom Thibodeau and they will get healthier and continue to improve as long as they exercise patience.

NBA Fines Sixers For Injury-Reporting Violation

The NBA has hit the Sixers with a $25K fine for violating the league’s rules on injury reporting, according to a press release.

Philadelphia didn’t list Ben Simmons on its injury report for Saturday’s game vs. Denver, but held him out of the contest due to a knee issue. The NBA insists that teams be transparent in their reporting of injuries and players’ availability.

Chris Haynes and Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links) first reported that the league was investigating the 76ers’ handling of Simmons’ status and that the club would be fined for the violation.

Simmons has been ruled out for Monday’s game vs. Atlanta, as we relayed on Sunday. He’s one of eight Sixers players who will be unavailable — Terrance Ferguson is out for personal reasons, Furkan Korkmaz has a left adductor strain, and five players are sidelined due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Joel Embiid (back) and Mike Scott (knee) will be available.

Eastern Notes: LeVert, Simmons, Embiid, Lamb, Bulls

With Kevin Durant set to return on Sunday and Kyrie Irving potentially returning next week, Nets head coach Steve Nash has to figure out what to do with Caris LeVert, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Durant had been sidelined due to the league’s health and safety protocols, while Irving continues to miss time due to personal reasons.

LeVert, widely considered to be the team’s third-best offensive option behind its star duo, has averaged 18.1 points and six assists in 27.2 minutes per game this season. The 26-year-old recently acknowledged that it’s easier to get into sync as a starter, though he hasn’t been given a consistent role to date.

“Yeah, the roles are definitely different when those guys are playing,” LeVert said, naming Irving and Durant. “Yeah, I think so. But for me, just working off the ball is definitely something I’ve worked on a lot this offseason, playing off of players, playing off the ball, playing that 2-man spot, that 3-man spot. That’s where I’ve really improved, and as the season progresses, I’ll be able to show that.”

Here are some other notes from the Eastern Conference tonight:

  • Sixers star Ben Simmons will miss Monday’s game against the Hawks due to a knee injury, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. He’ll continue receiving treatment and be listed as day-to-day going forward. Meanwhile, star center Joel Embiid (back soreness) is listed as probable, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne (Twitter link).
  • Pacers guard Jeremy Lamb will travel with the team on its upcoming road trip, Michael McCleary of the Indianapolis Star writes. Lamb, who’s recently been a full-practice participant, suffered a torn ACL in February of 2020, with head coach Nate Bjorkgren waiting for the “green light” to play him. “He’s getting close,” Bjorkgren said, “he’s getting very close to playing.” Indiana has upcoming games against the Kings on Monday, Warriors on Tuesday, Blazers on Thursday and Suns on Saturday.
  • The Bulls are hoping to return several protocol-impacted players soon, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. As Schaefer notes, Chandler HutchisonTomas Satoransky, Lauri Markkanen and Ryan Arcidiacono haven’t been active in almost two weeks. “There’s nothing normal,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “Guys are pretty much just locked up in their rooms, there’s very very little anybody can do. The days are long for these guys. It’s just a lot different.”

Multiple Sixers Players Could Miss Time Due To Contact Tracing

7:34pm: Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, Danny Green, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Vincent Poirier and Paul Reed are the players listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against Denver due to health and safety protocols, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

1:46pm: The Sixers are expected to have multiple players miss time in the coming days due to the NBA’s COVID-19 contact tracing protocols, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that the club is still waiting on the results of today’s coronavirus tests.

The players affected by contact tracing are expected to be ones who were in close contact with Seth Curry, says Wojnarowski. The veteran guard, who didn’t play in Thursday’s game due to an ankle injury, was told while he was sitting on the bench that he had returned a positive COVID-19 test.

As Shams Charania of The Athletic explains (via Twitter), players are tested for the coronavirus twice on game days. Curry’s rapid test earlier in the day was negative, but the 76ers learned of his positive PCR test after their game was already underway.

It’s not yet clear which Sixers players will be forced to miss time due to contact tracing. However, we can look to the Celtics as a reference — Grant Williams and Tristan Thompson are required to quarantine for at least seven days because they were sitting beside Robert Williams – who tested positive for COVID-19 – on the bench for at least 15 minutes, per Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald (Twitter link).

At the start of Thursday’s game, Curry was sitting on the Sixers’ bench next to assistant coach Sam Cassell and All-Star center Joel Embiid, according to The New York Daily News. Embiid, who has a three-month-old son, already told ESPN that he plans to self-quarantine from his family until he has confirmed he didn’t contract the virus.