The starting lineups for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game have been announced, and there were some shoe-ins as well as some surprises for the February 10 contest.
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant was the leading vote recipient for the Eastern Conference, and he will be the team’s captain. However, his appearance is currently in doubt as he recovers from a sprained knee ligament.
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will join KD in the frontcourt, while Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan were voted to be the team’s backcourt.
Embiid has been having a monster run as of late, averaging 34 points in more than a past dozen games, sparking early MVP talk and if he’s supplanted Durant as the game’s best scorer right now.
Also, Derozan’s scoring has been instrumental in the Bulls’ position atop the Eastern conference for the large part of this season. In fact, his mid-range mastery (in light of today’s 3-ball happy league) has garnered him a lot of comparisons to the late Kobe Bryant.
The starting five for the Eastern Conference is as follows:
2022 NBA All-Star: Eastern Conference starters
- Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
- Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
- DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls)
Meanwhile, for the Western Conference, NBA GOAT candidate and 4x champion Lebron James earned the honor of being his team’s captain. As this year’s leading vote getter for the West, this was the 18th consecutive All-Star selection for the Los Angeles Lakers forward. The nod also makes this the second time in a row that he and good buddy Kevin Durant have been nominated captains of their respective teams.
Alongside James in the front court will be Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins and the reigning Kia MVP Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets. Wiggins, who was the 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year, turned out to be the biggest head-scratcher of the bunch. However, he undeniably has been a big contributor to his squad’s current success amid Steph Curry’s shooting woes and during Klay’s Thompson’s absence.
“I was taking my pregame nap and my girl and daughter woke me up and told me: ‘You are a starter, you are a starter.’ I thought I was dreaming for a second,” Wiggins told the press. “I was like, ‘What is going on?’ It was a good way to learn that I made it to the All-Star, and I am thankful… I have been putting in a lot of work and I have found a home here. Hopefully, I can keep it going and this is not the last one.”
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant will start in the backcourt next to Wiggins’ teammate and 3x NBA champ Steph Curry. Morant has been having a highlight reel-filled year, and he was with his two favorite ladies when he received the news. He posted a photo with them and wrote the following caption on his Twitter: “Enjoyed The Announcement With Two People I Wanted To Be With 🖤😊 Granny&Grandma 🤞🏽🥰.”
Here are your starting five for the Western Conference:
2022 NBA All-Star: Western Conference starters
- LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
- Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
- Andrew Wiggins (Golden State Warriors)
- Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
- Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
The head coach for each conference is determined by the team with the best record two weeks prior to All-Star Sunday, and that will be February 6 this year. Furthermore, head coaches cannot be considered two years in a row, which makes Doc Rivers and Quin Snyder ineligible. The list of reserves for each conference will then be chosen by the coaches.
As of today, Erik Spoelstra and Monty Williams (head coaches of the Miami Heat and the Phoenix Suns, respectively) are the likeliest ones to get those positions.
If you want the full breakdown of how this year’s started were voted for, click here.