NBA leader Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert of Utah Jazz were the last two players selected in Sunday’s All-Star Game draft, and their availability led to a hilarious streak towards the end of the broadcast. Thursday evening on TNT.
The draft was conducted Wednesday with captain LeBron James selected for Team LeBron and Captain Kevin Durant selected for Team Durant to fill the rosters for this Sunday’s 70th All-Star Game in Atlanta.
James had the first overall pick due to the most All-Star Game votes (around 5.9 million), and he has twice selected reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Durant (5.6 million votes), who is injured and will not play in the game, snatched Brooklyn Nets teammate Kyrie Irving with his first pick.
The draft continued and each team had 11 players on the roster when TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley spoke about Jazz (27-9), and the festivities took a fun turn.
âThey have the best record in the NBA and their top two players are the bottom two,â Barkley said. “This is slander, this is slander in America.”
Durant was the next pick, and he picked Mitchell, Utah’s top performing guard. That left James with two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Gobert, to complete the roster.
Suddenly, James made a remark that will surely be remembered if the Lakers and Jazz meet in the postseason this year.
âThere is no slander against Utah Jazz,â James said. âYou have to understand, just like in video games growing up, we never played with Utah. Even with as much talent as Karl Malone and John Stockton, we would never choose these guys in video games. Never.”
The rest of the draft was less dramatic than the end.
James picked Golden State Warriors goalie Stephen Curry, Dallas Mavericks goaltender Luka Doncic and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic to start alongside Antetokounmpo.
And as you can see, Giannis was extremely confident once he found out who his teammates were.
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, Washington Wizards goaltender Bradley Beal and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum will join Irving in Team Durant’s starting lineup.
Tatum is the replacement in Durant’s starting lineup, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Durant had the Reservists’ first pick and selected his Nets teammate James Harden.
James was fine with this, as he wanted Portland Trail Blazers ranger Damian Lillard. He pointed at that watch and said, “I’m going to go with Dame Time.”
Other Reservists on Team LeBron are Philadelphia 76ers goaltender Ben Simmons, Phoenix Suns goaltender Chris Paul, Boston Celtics goaltender Jaylen Brown, Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George, Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis and Gobert.
Team Durant’s other substitutes are Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, New York Knicks forward Julius Randle, center. Orlando Magic Nikola Vucevic and Mitchell.
Booker has been added to the squad as a replacement for Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis, who is sidelined with Achilles and calf injuries.
Starters: LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks), Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
Reserves: Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns), Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics), Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz )
Starters: Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
Reserves: James Harden (Brooklyn Nets), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans), Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls), Julius Randle (New York Knicks), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic), Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
Watch the 70th NBA All-Star Game plus Dunk Contest, 3-Point Contest and Skills Challenge live from 11:30 p.m. on Sky Sports Arena this Sunday