It’s a momentous day for fans of Dallas basketball. For those readers who have ever dropped off their child at college, ushering them out in to the world on their own for the first time, they may know the sense of pride that comes with seeing something you raised take a new and meaningful step forward in their life.
And then for those of us who haven’t we have Luka Doncic making his first NBA All-Star team!
After just missing out on making the All-Star team off of the fan vote last season, Luka easily made the grade this year, and fell just short of none other than LeBron James for the opportunity to captain the team. However, being in the pool of draft-able players did raise the question: who was going to be the one to select the Mavericks’ super star?
On the one hand, Luka grew up with LeBron James as his basketball inspiration. To be selected by your idol? Hard to top that. On the other hand... it’s never too early to start forming those bonds of familiarity with the reigning MVP and 2021 crown jewel of free agency, Giannis Antetokounmpo. No bad outcomes!
As it happens, Luka ended up being the 3rd pick taken for Team LeBron, after Laker teammate Anthony Davis and basketball android Kawhi Leonard. Below are the full teams as selected by the All-Star Captains.
Starters: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic, James Harden
Reserves: Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, Nikola Jokic, Jayson Tatum, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Domantas Sabonis
Starters: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam, Kemba Walker, Trae Young
Reserves: Khris Middleton, Bam Adebayo, Rudy Gobert, Kyle Lowry, Brandon Ingram, Donovan Mitchell
Rounding out the starting lineup for Luka and Team LeBron is the player to whom Doncic perhaps draws the most comparisons, James Harden. Giannis made it point to start his draft with a couple strong international players like Embiid and Siakam, but the overseas talent is still well represented with LeBron’s squad, as Luka is joined by Jokic and Simmons.
The biggest thing to note, and perhaps it should come as no surprise depending on how conspiratorial you skew (for me, it’s very), is that Luka will line up across from none other than Trae Young - his inescapable NBA dyad, forever linked in the league through the draft day trade they were a part of. Coincidence? On the one hand, perhaps. They both had to get taken by someone, right? But on the other hand, absolutely not. You think Adam Silver was going to let an opportunity to flesh out this story line slip by, with the two promising sophomores on the same team? Especially since Luka is apparently no longer competing in the three-point contest? Give the man some credit. He’s running a business, here.
So what are your thoughts on Luka’s teammates? Anyone you’re especially excited to see him play with during the game? I realize the Euro-connection thing can be hammered a little hard at times, but damn if I don’t want to see Luka and Jokic lumbering around the court together. It couldn’t be a starker contrast to the kind of game their fellow teammates, the otherworldly athletic Westbrook and James will play. It’ll also be fun to place bets on who attempts the longer three point shot — Luka or Dame Lillard.
The All Star game will air February 16th on TNT.