Team LeBron vs Team Giannis
The showpiece event of the 2020 NBA All-Star weekend is set to bring the festivities to a close in Chicago. For the second time in two years, Team LeBron and Team Giannis will collide in the 2020 NBA All-Star game.
On paper, Team LeBron is absolutely stacked with some of the top superstar talents in the entire league, which is why they are the favourites win the NBA All Star game.
Giannis may be the league’s reigning MVP as well as the front-runner for this year’s award, but he will need to come up with something special to avoid losing two years in a row.
Read on below for a detailed preview of this year’s NBA All-Star game.
Team LeBron is loaded
LeBron James had the advantage of drafting first for this year’s All-Star team, and he sure made it count. He assembled an outstanding team filled with four other legitimate MVP candidates.
His first pick, of course, was Lakers team-mate Anthony Davis. “The Brow” is having a brilliant season thus far, averaging 26.6 points and 9.2 rebounds and anchoring the Lakers’ outstanding defence.
Rounding out the starting line-up on Team LeBron are Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic, and James Harden. Giannis made NBA All-Star 2020 news when he passed up on Harden three times, joking that he wanted someone who will pass on his team.
His loss is LeBron’s gain as Harden is having another amazing season. The Rockets superstar is once again leading the league in scoring, averaging 35.3 points per game.
Meanwhile, Doncic has been an all-around sensation as a sophomore. The Mavs star is averaging 28.9 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 8.7 assists per game.
Not to be outdone, reigning Finals MVP Leonard is having the best statistical season of his career with 27.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 5.3 assists — all career-highs — while playing just 32.5 minutes for the Clippers.
LeBron lost another MVP candidate in Damian Lillard, who has been replaced by Devin Booker. Russell Westbrook and Jayson Tatum can deliver instant offence, while Ben Simmons, Nikola Jokic, and Chris Paul will be happy passing the ball around and setting up their superstar team-mates.
Team Giannis lacking in superstar power
In terms of sheer name recognition and star power, Giannis Antetokoumpo’s team pales in comparison to LeBron’s. While the Greek Freak has arguably the best centre in the league in Joel Embiid, the rest of his squad leaves a bit to be desired.
His other three starters are Pascal Siakam, Kemba Walker, and Trae Young. Siakam and Young are both first-timers, while Walker and Young are the two smallest players on either side.
There’s a decent chance Young will thrive in an All-Star game format where there’s hardly any defence and he can potentially get hot launching 3-pointers with abandon. But he, Siakam, and Walker are still not the scorers that Leonard, Doncic, and Harden are.
It’s a similar story with their bench. Rudy Gobert’s strengths on defence won’t be quite as valuable in this game, and fellow first-time big man Bam Adebayo could also find it tough to make an impact.
Jimmy Butler, Brandon Ingram, Donovan Mitchell, and Khris Middleton are all capable scorers. Ingram in particular is having a breakout campaign with 25 points per game with the Pelicans. But still, they don’t quite stack up to the firepower LeBron and co. possess on the bench.
It will likely take at least one of those four to have a huge game for Giannis’s guys to get within striking distance of Team LeBron.
LeBron James has been the big winner of the All-Star game’s change in format. Since that switch in 2018, Team LeBron has gone a perfect 3-0.
LeBron took home MVP honours in 2018 as his team just edged out Stephen Curry’s squad, 148-145. And last year, LeBron blew out Team Giannis, 178-164. Antetokounmpo had a team-high 38 points in a losing effort as Kevin Durant was awarded the MVP.
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