On Sunday, 24 of the league's best players will compete in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.
Among those who will take the floor at Chicago's United Center are LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid, James Harden, Luka Doncic, Pascal Siakam, Anthony Davis and Chris Paul.
Will one of them be named the game's MVP or will someone else steal the show?
Ahead of the game, members of our NBA.com Staff give their MVP and sleeper picks for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.
Who is a sleeper to win MVP?
Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles): Damian Lillard was my first pick, but since he's no longer an option, I'm going to go with his replacement: Devin Booker.
I thought Booker should've been one of the original reserves for this season's All-Star Game. Even though the Suns are still several games out of the Western Conference playoff race, he's having a monster of a season with averages of 26.4 points, 6.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds on 49.6 percent shooting from the field and 35.8 percent from 3-point range.
One of the best scorers in the league, the All-Star Game is a perfect place for Booker to shine. And I wouldn't be surprised if he comes out gunning to prove to everyone that he belongs to be on the floor with the best players in the world.
Carlan Gay (@TheCarlanGay): I'm going with Chris Paul. I would've never thought in my wildest dreams that CP3 would be an All-Star in 2020. Yet here we are, with Paul getting his 10th appearance.
In seven of his last eight All-Star game appearances, Paul has hit double-digit scoring, and he's averaging 13.3 assists in All-Star Games. He's a lock for a double-double and if he can be on the floor in the clutch and make a winning play when the game is on the line, then count me in on a CP3 All-Star game MVP.
Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13): Trae Young. He's a perfect fit for the All-Star Game. All offense, all 3s, tons of dimes ... plus he's starting, which means he'll play a bunch of minutes and he'll be on the floor if it's tight late.
Now for the tricky part: first-time All-Stars don't win it. Not since Tom Chambers back in 1987 has a first timer gone on to win the MVP. Of course, 1987 is among the best, most competitive All-Star games of all-time, so if Young winning means we're in store for a classic, then bring it on!
Kane Pitman (@KanePitman): Russell Westbrook. I know, I know, HOW could a two-time All-Star MVP be considered a sleeper selection?
Well, let's be honest, the selection of Westbrook as a 2020 All-Star raised a few eyebrows in the first place, and the former league MVP's status as an elite player has certainly been questioned in recent times.
As always, we know Russ will go all out as he remains one of most intense players in the entire league. Last season in Charlotte, Westbrook put up 20 shots in 19 minutes, including a 1-for-8 mark from behind the 3-point line.
Westbrook is in red hot form with the small ball Rockets, and you can be guaranteed he will get his shots up. Don't count him out for the MVP in this one.
Who will win MVP?
Rafferty: I'm pretty confident that Giannis Antetokounmpo will win his first All-Star MVP.
Antetokounmpo would've won MVP in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game had his team won. In 27 minutes, he led all scorers with 38 points while grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out five assists. It's impossible to predict which team will win the All-Star Game, but there's no reason why Antetokounmpo can't put up similar numbers this year, making a lock to win MVP as long as his team wins.
Gay: The All-Star game MVP usually goes to someone who has a big scoring night, so sorry, Rudy Gobert, you're out of the running here.
With that being said, I'm rolling with Trae Young here. Yes, Young will be in his first All-Star Game, but he's not going to be out there playing nice or trying to fit in - he's going to be trying to stand out and prove to the many doubters of his past that he belongs.
Also, in an uptempo game, I want someone who's going to be able to knock down 3s and do it effortlessly. Young can do that and he isn't shy about getting them up. I mean, the dude takes 3s from the logo in a regular game. Imagine what he'll be doing in a meaningless one.
Adams: There's only one answer here: LeBron James.
Given everything that's happened over the past few weeks, this figures to be a seminal moment that brings out the very best from the very best. These are the moments that resonate with LeBron, the moments that he's built for.
He's also got by far the better team, which puts him in better position to win it.
If LeBron is engaged, it's easy to see him putting up something like 25 points and 13 assists en route to a fourth All-Star MVP, which would tie him with Kobe and Bob Pettit for the most ever.
It also undoubtedly would lead him to taking the mic for a second time to address the crowd with a heartfelt message that only he could truly deliver.
This has the chance to be one of those iconic moments we'll look back on forever. And it's LeBron's for the taking.
Pitman: Out of all the potential outcomes in all the All-Star weekend events, this is the prediction I feel most confident about.
The All-Star game MVP will be Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Giannis is old school, he really wants to win this game, and if not for a late fadeout from his squad in last year's game, he likely would have taken the award in Charlotte after pouring in 38 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
It will be a dunk fest in Chicago for Antetokounmpo, and I think this might be the first of multiple MVP awards he takes home this season.
|Scott Rafferty||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Devin Booker|
|Carlan Gay||Trae Young||Chris Paul|
|Micah Adams||LeBron James||Trae Young|
|Kane Pitman||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Russell Westbrook|
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