Last season the NBA All-Star game was switched from its East-vs.-West format to captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry drafting teams out of a pool of All-Stars.
To avoid awkwardness for the players, the NBA attempted to keep the draft secret, though it didn’t remain so for long. Eventually ESPN reported Al Horford and LaMarcus Aldridge were the final picks by Curry and James.
This year, the drafts will be televised, according to a report by the New York Times. James and Curry were the captains in 2018 because they drew the most votes in each conference.
“It all depends who’s the captains,” James said. “I think obviously there are certain personalities that can add to it. But it all depends how much the captains are going to get into it as far as their draft boards. We’ll see. I did it last year so I’m glad I didn’t have to do it again.”
After last year’s All-Star draft, James posted a message on Twitter saying it “definitely should’ve been televised.”
He doesn’t buy the potential for awkwardness.
“It’s All-Star weekend,” James said. “You got 24 of the best players in the world that’s going to make the team. It doesn’t matter if you’re first or last, you’re 24 of the best in the world at that point in time. I don’t think it’ll be bad. We’ll see.”
A long history
Entering his 18th season in the NBA, Tyson Chandler is one of the few players still in the NBA who entered the league before James.
Chandler took in his first shoot-around with the Lakers on Wednesday morning.
“You see a great player like that, you’re like, ‘I’d love to play with him,’ ” Chandler said of James. “Especially, you know we’ve had times with Team USA, you build chemistry through the summer. I’ve honestly just been in awe of what he’s been able to do and create, not only on the court, but beating all expectations and going beyond expectations. So you can’t do nothing but respect that, and if you have the opportunity, want to be a part of it.”
James and Chandler were two of the country’s most elite basketball players when they were in high school, Chandler two years ahead of James. St. Vincent St. Mary and Dominguez never played against each other, but the two ran in the same circles and were both named to the Sporting News high school All-American team in 2001.
Their careers crossed paths many times since, including 10 years later when Chandler’s Dallas Mavericks beat James’ Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
“He went on to win several more, so I can’t say nothing,” Chandler said. “He trumps my one with a whole bunch of ’em and MVPs. So I’m gonna leave that talk alone. I’m happy I got the one I got.”
Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli