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All-Star 2019

NBA All-Star Game 2019 Heat Check: Who should start this year?

george-james-leonard-all-star-ftr.jpg
Paul George, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard [NBA Getty Images]

Who should start in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game? Our staff makes their picks…

Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21):

Western Conference Eastern Conference
Guard - Stephen Curry Guard - Kyrie Irving
Guard - James Harden Guard - Ben Simmons
Frontcourt - LeBron James Frontcourt - Kawhi Leonard
Frontcourt - Kevin Durant Frontcourt - Giannis Antetokounmpo
Frontcourt - Anthony Davis Frontcourt - Joel Embiid

Hardest decision: Whether or not to reward George for having a career year or penalize either James or Davis for their recent string of injuries.

George, a five-time All-Star, has started in two of his five All-Star appearances. His averages of 27.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists this season are worthy of his third career All-Star start, but he has the unfortunate reality of being listed as a frontcourt player like Davis, Durant and James, who just so happen to be three of the best five players in the world.

Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13):

Western Conference Eastern Conference
Guard - Stephen Curry Guard - Kyrie Irving
Guard - James Harden Guard - Ben Simmons
Frontcourt - Nikola Jokic Frontcourt - Kawhi Leonard
Frontcourt - Anthony Davis Frontcourt - Joel Embiid
Frontcourt - Paul George Frontcourt - Giannis Antetokounmpo

Hardest decision: It's almost impossible to fathom a situation in which neither LeBron James nor Kevin Durant starts the All-Star Game. And yet... I think that's what should happen.

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Sure Not Now

For James, it's a simple issue of missing too many games. All things being equal, he's absolutely performed well enough to start. He's the best player in the world and this doesn't change that. But all things aren't equal and up until voting ended, he's simply not been available as much as the guys he's competing with (even though Davis is now facing the prospect of missing extended time).

For Durant, one of the prevailing storylines of this season up until recently has been the general malaise of the Warriors. A major part of that? The 11 games that Curry missed in which a Durant-led group went 5-6. I find it odd to reward a team that underachieved through the first half of the season a pair of starters.

It's not a career achievement award. I just think Davis, Jokic and George have had a bigger impact this season.

Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_):

Western Conference Eastern Conference
Guard - Stephen Curry Guard - Kyrie Irving
Guard - James Harden Guard - Victor Oladipo
Frontcourt - Paul George Frontcourt - Giannis Antetokounmpo
Frontcourt - Anthony Davis Frontcourt - Kawhi Leonard
Frontcourt - Kevin Durant Frontcourt - Joel Embiid

Hardest decision: Not selecting LeBron James, knowing he will most certainly be selected not only as an All-Star but also as a captain when the starters are announced on Thursday.

James is deserving of a starting spot, but missing 14(-plus) games is my reasoning behind giving Paul George the start over him. George has been an MVP candidate and the major reason behind the Oklahoma City Thunder's success this season. He's only missed one game and is having the best offensive season of his career while making his case for Defensive Player of the Year at the same time.

Anthony Davis is now expected to miss time with a finger injury and Victor Oladipo could potentially miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Both of these players were deserving of All-Star starting spots for their respective conferences, but will likely both have to be replaced if selected.

I'd fill in James for Davis, and Kemba Walker in for Oladipo. You could argue Ben Simmons deserves the second guard spot in the East, but without Walker, the Hornets are no where near playoff contention and they currently hold the No. 7 spot in the conference. And the Hornets are hosting the All-Star Game, so why not show their franchise player some love?

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