NBA All-Star Mock Draft: Team Drama vs. Team Unicorn

There’s a sense of excitement around the league that’s normally not around during mid-January. The period after Christmas, before the NBA trade deadline is usually chill as teams chug along for playoff (or lottery) positioning.

This year, the NBA decided to change up the All-Star Teams selection process and that got everyone excited. Instead of the usual East vs. West, teams will be picked playground (pilian) style by two captains. Last week, the All-Star Starters Pool was announced with LeBron James and Steph Curry leading the way for their respective conferences as captains. Earlier this week, the rest of the rosters were released as the Reserve Pool was named.

Because of this new format, having a mock draft to select teams was the only way to go. Stepping in to assume the role of James is notorious drafter Jon Carlos Rodriguez. Filling the role of Curry is Polo Bustamante. 

Before we begin, just a few notes on how this mock draft and how the actual All-Star Draft will be done.

  1. There will be two rounds to the draft
  2. In the first round, the two will have to pick from the eight other players named to the Starter Pool
  3. In the second round, they will pick from the 14 players in the Reserve Pool
  4. As the top vote-getter overall, James gets the first pick in the first round
  5. As the top vote-getter of the West, Curry gets to pick first in the second round
  6. Neither player has to fulfill any positional requirements

Got it? Good. Let the draft begin!


Jon: First pick, Anthony Davis.

Polo:  Okay. I legit thought you were going to go for Spencer Dinwiddie. But thanks for leaving me… Kevin Durant!

Jon: My second pick, The Beard (James Harden).

Polo: I pick GIANNIS! (Giannis Antetokounmpo)

Jon: Shit. Mali. Third passive-aggressive pick: Kyrie Irving.

Polo: Oh wow. Kyrie and Bron back together! I’ll take Boogie (DeMarcus Cousins) with my third. Just wanna see him go up against Davis for fun.

Jon: Fourth pick, Joel Embiid.

Polo: That leaves me with DeMar DeRozan.


Team James

LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers (Captain)

Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans

James Harden – Houston Rockets

Kyrie Irving – Boston Celtics

Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers

Jon: The All-Star Game is all about entertainment and what better way to entertain than to build a LeBron James-led squad guaranteed to have a brutal meltdown.

My Team LeBron starters have all the elements of a binge-worthy telenovela: you got LeBron—The King, The Chosen One, the passive aggressive leader whom everyone takes their cue from. Then there’s Kyrie Irving, the ex who, so far, is winning the breakup.

There’s first time NBA All-Star (but long-time social media All-Star) Joel Embiid to provide the comic relief, chipping in his whole arsenal of petty jabs and snarky hashtags. Embiid will be the perfect umbrella (yes, that’s a Rihanna reference) to the brewing LeBron-Kyrie shitstorm at every possession. And, of course, you have The Beard and The Brow to play actual basketball (I predict a combined stat line of 100 points, 40 rebounds, and 25 assists) amid the drama. All said, I should’ve picked Giannis though. Add that to my long list of fantasy draft blunders.

Team Curry

Steph Curry – Golden State Warriors (Captain)

Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors

Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

DeMarcus Cousins – New Orleans Pelicans

DeMar DeRozan – Toronto Raptors

Polo: Okay. I’ll be honest. I knew Jon was going to make a questionable pick in this mock draft. I just didn’t know it would be that soon. Thanks for Giannis, Jon!

Curry would be lucky if he actually gets the team that I picked for him. He gets to surround himself with so much length and versatility. Durant, Antetokounmpo and to an extent DeRozan can all create for themselves and the rest of the team. Captain Curry can just hang around the three-point line waiting for passes from those guys. He can also be the one to run the show. Then he has the pick of Cousins and Antetokounmpo rolling to the rim while Durant and DeRozan wait in the wings.

No drama here. Just clean, safe, cherubic, basketball happiness.


Polo: I want to continue picking length (now I know how the Bucks management feel) with Kristaps Porzingis!

Jon: Oh man. Like manna from heaven, I pick Russ. (Russell Westbrook)

Polo: It’s Dame Time (Damian Lillard). Wanna see Dame opposite Russ. #PettyWarz

Jon: We need someone to set illegal screens for Russ: Dray! (Draymond Green)

Polo: I’ve had a soft spot for Bradley Beal all season long.

Jon: Speaking of soft, I pick Kevin Love. OOOOOH. Kyrie-LBJ-Love reunion!

Polo: Watch out! He might call in sick during the game. I’m gonna go for another unicorn in Karl-Anthony Towns.

Jon: The Splash Bros shouldn’t be on the same team. I pick Klay Thompson.

Polo: Damn. I wanted Klay. Guess that leaves me with Jimmy Buckets. (Jimmy Butler)

Jon: Give me the 2017-2018 Most Improved Player, Victor Oladipo.

Polo: I’ll need to break the Celtic Mind-meld I also need a glue guy like Dray. Al Horford!

Jon: Team LeBron is shaping up to be Team Drama. To offset, we need a Spur: LaMarcus Aldridge.

Polo: I wanted to deny you the only Spur in the pool. Going for John Wall who was forgotten up to this point.

Jon: He called my spirit animal JJ Barea “a midget” so you can have him. For my last pick, I pick Andre Drummond… who’s not an All-Star. Sige. Kyle Lowry nalang.


Team Curry

Steph Curry – Golden State Warriors (Captain)

Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors

Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks

DeMarcus Cousins – New Orleans Pelicans

DeMar DeRozan – Toronto Raptors

Kristaps Porzingis – New York Knicks

Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers

Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards

Karl-Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves

Jimmy Butler – Minnesota Timberwolves

Al Horford – Boston Celtics

John Wall – Washington Wizards

Polo: Okay. Bumawi si Jon sa second round.

I kinda got carried away and picked Kristaps over Russ. I figured, the Russ-KD Drama was at it’s peak last year when they were forced to be teammates. So I went with additional length instead of drama. Porzingis, Durant, Towns and Antetokounmpo for a nice back bone to my happy, non-snarky, no drama super long Unicorn team. I also have a soft spot for Dame and Beal, two guys who work their butts off every night and don’t get the same recognition as other bigger names.

The rest of my team is pretty solid. Wall is an exciting player to have in an up-and-down type of game. Horford and Butler won’t see much time on the floor, but if they do, they’re the only ones that will be playing defense. Overall, this is a solid team for Steph to lead come February.

Team James

LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers (Captain)

Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans

James Harden – Houston Rockets

Kyrie Irving – Boston Celtics

Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers

Russell Westbrook – OKC Thunder

Draymond Green – Golden State Warriors

Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers

Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors

Victor Oladipo – Indiana Pacers

LaMarcus Aldridge – San Antonio Spurs

Kyle Lowry – Toronto Raptors

Jon: Mixing in the reserves is where it gets more interesting for Team LeBron. Imagine the possibilities:

The Lineup of Petty – LeBron, Kyrie, Embiid, Westbrook, Draymond

Champs Only – LeBron, Kyrie, Love, Draymond, Klay

Efficient Lineup – AD, LeBron, Kyrie, Klay, LaMarcus

Time For A Restroom Break Lineup – Love, Klay, Oladipo, LaMarcus, Lowry

Imagine LeBron, shouting at his teammates during a timeout, imploring them to play defense. Imagine Embiid live-tweeting the meltdown. Imagine Love faking a cough. Imagine Kyrie playing Candy Crushduring the whole thing. Come for Team Steph’s 3-point barrage, stay for Team LeBron’s drama.

Photo from Getty Images

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