The 2021 NBA All-Star Game is happening, albeit in a format that players aren’t exactly excited about that will condense two days worth of events into one on March 7 in Atlanta. Fan, media, and player voting for All-Star starters completed this week and the starting fives from both conferences were announced on Thursday night, along with the two captains who will be picking teams from the All-Star pool of players.
Unsurprisingly, Kevin Durant and LeBron James won the fan vote in their respective conferences and will be the All-Star captains, and the eight other starters were named as well, as the expected names earned positions before the coaches make the remainder of the selections.
The lone bit of “controversy” came in the West backcourt where Doncic and Damian Lillard tied, with Luka getting the tiebreaker as being second in the fan voting while Lillard was second in player and media voting. You can see the full voting breakdown below.
None of those players earning a starting spot come as a surprise, and you can pencil in a few selections that will almost assuredly be made by the coaches from here. For the West, Lillard and Donovan Mitchell seem like backcourt locks, while Anthony Davis, Rudy Gobert, and Paul George can be penciled in as frontcourt picks — with Davis almost assuredly opting out due to his Achilles injury and being replaced by a reserve selection. In the East, Jayson Tatum figures to be a frontcourt pick while teammate Jaylen Brown is a likely backcourt selection, along with James Harden and Zach LaVine.
The rest of the rosters will be up for debate, with a number of potential first-timers making strong cases this season — guys like Julius Randle, Jerami Grant, Zion Williamson, and De’Aaron Fox — and some All-Star staples needing a coaches pick to make it in. Those decisions will be made over the next week, which will surely lead to snub talk. However, given the criticism the All-Star Game has received publicly from some big names this year, we may have more opt outs than usual and there could be some more reserve picks made than we’re used to.