The NBA is changing up how All-Star Teams will be selected this year. Instead of the usual East versus West match-up, the two top vote-getters from each conference will be named Team Captains. These Team Captains will then be able to select players on their team, regardless of conference.
Because of that new wrinkle, the possibilities are now limitless! That’s why at SLAM PH, we decided to make the All-Star Teams as crazy as possible. No one knows whats going to happen when the teams are announced, so here are some fun options to think about. Who knows, we might actually see some of these teams this year.
It’s that time of the year again wherein the supposed best of best their talents against each other in a free-wheeling, no defense contest that ironically stays true to the roots of the game. After all, the team with the most points scored at the end of the game is the winner, right?
But aside from being a high-scoring festival, the All-Star event has morphed into an annual pageantry of the basketball world. It is during this time that even stars from other constellations such as those celebrities from the entertainment industry, business moguls and even from the political side of the fence take part in the celebrations and merry-making.
Given the nature of this yearly affair, it’s only right that those playing in the All-Star represent the essence of what this game is all about. Part style and Part showboating plus the glitz and the glamour of showbiz. This is what the All-Star game is all about.
In this regard, here are my choices for the teams that represent both style and grandstanding to the game that just fits the theme of this showcase. It’s the NBA’s sneaker aficionados against the League’s top shotmakers both sharing the top billing. Appropriate enough, the location for this year’s All-Star festivities is in Los Angeles, where bright lights and fortune meet. A perfect setting indeed.
TEAM SWAGGY KICKS
Nick Young (Captain)
He may not be decked in the Purple and Gold anymore, but Nick Young continues to channel his inner Laker by rocking various editions of shoes worn by his famous teammate Kobe back when he was with the three stripes, such as the Crazy 8 and EQT Top Ten 2000s. He was also seen sporting Gilbert Arenas’ joints, a mismatched pair of T-Mac’s signature sneaker during a Christmas day match and a personalized pair of Pro Models. With a platform as large as the ASG, expect Young to wear something that’s sure to capture the fancy of all those in attendance. Personally, I’d like to see him rock a personalized pair of EQT Top Ten 2010s. Those shoes hadn’t seen the light of an NBA court since the early days of Mamba and Antoine Walker, which is more than two decades ago.
Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Although his footwear of choice has been limited to the Hyperdunk line for now, it doesn’t limit Karl-Anthony Towns in having a mean shoe game albeit thru a different approach. While he may not display a treasure trove of Nikes on the hardwood, Towns instead made his kicks a walking canvas for the creativity of noted sneaker designer Kickstradomis. So far, Town’s customized HDs have him honoring his NBA squad, celebrating famed flicks and TV shows such as Halloween and Stranger Things and even giving a nod to one of Kanye West’s magnum opus. Given the magnitude of an event such as the ASG, there is little doubt that Towns and Kickstradomis will be joining forces anew in crafting a literal masterpiece on his feet come game time that’ll be the talk of the town, whether it be tinsel or not.
Being one of the League’s true sneakerheads, the ASG is the grandest stage in which PJ Tucker can display the best of the loot from his Swoosh/Jumpman arsenal. While his forte, which is on the defensive side of the floor, is considered a taboo in this event, an exemption might just be given to the Houston Rocket enforcer so that he can showcase his Nike Kobe V Aston Martins on the hardwood.
A Los Angeles native, not only was DeRozan able to successfully mimic the high-octane playing style of his childhood hero Kobe Bryant, but also stood out to be the worthy heir in ensuring that the Black Mamba’s sneaker line would continue to patrol the NBA hardwood especially in the ASG wherein DeRozan has been a constant presence in the past several seasons. Given the uniqueness of this ASG selection, DeRozan may opt to wear the Kobe 1, the pair that blazed the trail in Bryant’s swoosh line, in homage to his hero and to their hometown.
Having a reputation for changing kicks at halftime during games, Montrezl Harrell will be able to switch sneakers to his heart’s delight in this special ASG. Given his assortment of Jordans, KDs, LeBrons and everything else under (Nike’s) sun, Harrell may not have to wait until halftime to break in a pair. He’ll probably even entertain the option of subbing every five minutes of action or so just so he can show to the rest of the basketball world what lies in his sneaker closet.
TEAM SHOOT YOUR SHOT
Russell Westbrook (Captain), James Harden, Kristaps Porzingis, Devin Booker, Damian Lillard
The common denominator for this side is that aside from being potential MVP and All-NBA candidates, these five cagers have an inkling of shooting the ball at an average of almost 20 attempts per contest.
The ASG is the ideal game for them to chuck the ball without worrying about exerting effort on defense. The only thing that needs to be settled is who will get the ball to whom unless there’ll be some kind of internal arrangement wherein a given player can attempt as much as he wants for the 6 minutes before handing over the offensive reins to the next players. Say Russ chucks for the first 6 minutes of a quarter then it’ll be Kristaps in charge of the scoring for the next 6. Or we’ll probably see the get-your-own-rebound-and-race-for-fastbreak type of thing since there’s no defense being played, save for Tucker.
On paper and on the floor, it’s obvious who’ll win in this matchup. Still, with the flash and swag of an ASG, adding a bit of style serves as the rightful complement to the dazzling display of on-court moves. It’s only held once a year, so it’s only right to make it an extra special affair.
Photos c/o San Francisco Chronicle and Getty Images
READ: SLAM PH All-Star Picks