With fan voting for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game well underway, the Sky Sports Heatcheck team have picked their starters for the February showpiece.
Voting began on Christmas Day for the February 20 All-Star game, the first in Cleveland since 1997, which will be shown live on Sky Sports.
Although the current format sees team captains select the line-ups from a pool of 10 starters, the voting system ensures that the starting roles remain evenly split between the two conferences.
Three-time NBA champion BJ Armstrong chose his starters from the Eastern Conference, while Mo Mooncey made selections for the Western Conference.
BJ’s Eastern Conference starters
Guard – Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
Guard – DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls)
Forward – Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
Forward – Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
Forward – Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
Why did LaVine and Harden miss out?
Armstrong explained why Trae Young and DeMar DeRozan beat in-form duo Zach LaVine and James Harden to the starting guard spots in the East.
“In the Western Conference we have the splash brothers, now in the Eastern conference, in Chicago, we’ve got the slash brothers – Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.
“We’re giving Zach LaVine love, he deserves to be an All Star, but right now I’ve got to give the people what they want, they want to see Trae Young, they want to see the master at work.
“We know what James Harden is capable of doing but right now I don’t think he’s outplayed – through the course of the season, he’s played well recently – but over the course of the season without question DeMar DeRozan has been hands down the best two-guard in the Eastern Conference.”
Mo’s Western Conference starters
Guard – Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
Guard – Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Forward – LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
Forward – Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
Forward – Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
‘Not enough Luka magic this season’
Mooncey explained why Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is not making his starters this year.
“The Dallas Mavericks, in particular with Luka Doncic, they’ve not improved since last year. Sometimes they play better basketball when he’s on the bench.
“I’m not saying he’s not the best player on the team, because he is by a clear stretch. But there have been question marks over Luka’s fitness this season, how he came into the season kind of out of shape.
“He may make it as a reserve, but I’ve not seen the same Luka magic that we have in previous seasons to the same level.”
All-Star MVP selections
Mo – LeBron James
“He’s been trapped on this Lakers team where his team-mates have been missing shot, after shot, after shot. When he’s on the court with fellow All-Stars and he’s getting assist, after assist, dunking the ball.
“He’s going to be in his element and he also knows that he’s just turned 37. I’m not saying he’s going to retire any time soon but he’s going to try to make the most of the opportunity.”
BJ – Kevin Durant
“I think KD has a lot to prove, and one of the things he has to prove is he is the best player in the league with his peers there.
“I think that will be a significant moment for him, after all of the things he’s had to battle over the last two years since sustaining that Achilles injury.”
How fans can vote:
NBA App: Access the ballot and vote through the NBA App, which is available on Android and iOS. Fans can fill out one full ballot per day (per day is defined as once every 24 hours) by selecting up to two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference when choosing starters.
NBA.com voting page at vote.NBA.com: Fill out one full ballot per day on vote.NBA.com from a desktop or mobile browser. Fans can select up to two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference when choosing starters.
Twitter: Tweet, retweet or reply with a hashtag of an NBA player’s first and last name (#FirstNameLastName) or Twitter handle, along with the hashtag #NBAAllStar. Each tweet may include only one player’s name or handle. Fans may vote for up to 10 unique players per day from December 25 – January 22.
Source : Sky Sports