A Simple Primer on the 2021 NBA All-Star Sunday

March 7th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Because of the issues of the pandemic, all of the events that would normally be in an All-Star weekend are happening all in one night on Sunday, March 7th.  The All-Star draft already had taken place on Thursday, with the captains being LeBron James and Kevin Durant.  So, this is a breakdown and a primer of each of their teams, and what to maybe expect when these events take place.

The 2021 NBA All-Star game between Team LeBron and Team Durant will take place later today on March 7th.
(Photo:
Dennis Wierzbicki/USA Today Sports, via Yardbarker)

Here are the squads for Team LeBron and Team Durant.

Team LeBron:

LeBron James made picks for Team LeBron on Thursday, just days before the 2021 NBA All-Star game is set to take place.
(Source: Twitter/@NBAonTNT)

Nikola Jokic
2021 (DEN): 36 GP, 27.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 8.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 57 FG%, 42 3PT%, 88 FT%, 31.5 PER, 8.3 WS, 3-time All-Star

He is a super skilled big man that is one of the best passers in the game, and Jokic helped lead his team to the 2020 Western Conference Finals last year. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo
2021 (MIL): 35 GP, 29.0 PPG, 11.7 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.3 SPG, 56 FG%, 28 3PT%, 66 FT%, 29 PER, 5.8 WS, 5-time All-Star

He is a superstar, point forward that has won 2 MVPs, has won a Defensive Player of the Year award, and is a tremendously skilled and athletic playmaker that can really score, facilitate, and is also a solid defender. 

He is consistently on one of the best Eastern Conference teams, the only downside is his lack of an outside shot. Still, Giannis is a superstar that is currently one of the best players in the game.

LeBron James (captain)
2021 (LAL): 36 GP, 25.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.8 APG, 1.1 SPG, 51 FG%, 36 3PT%, 69 FT%, 24.4 PER, 4.9 WS, 17-time All-Star

One of the best players to ever play the game, James is a legendary point forward that can do everything on the court to help his team rack up wins and titles.  He has won four MVPs, and he is a terrific all-around player that is arguably the best player in the game right now.

Luka Doncic
2021 (DAL): 32 GP, 28.6 PPG, 9.0 APG, 8.4 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 48 FG%, 36 3PT%, 76 FT%, 26.2 PER, 4 WS, 2-time All-Star

He is a tremendously skilled facilitator that can really score and pass the basketball.  Doncic is a do-it-all player and he has a really high basketball IQ.  Doncic is a superstar, and he is a 22-year old player that is already one of the best players in the NBA right now.

Stephen Curry
2021 (GSW): 35 GP, 29.7 PPG, 6.3 APG, 5.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 48 FG%, 41 3PT%, 93 FT%, 25.2 PER, 5 WS, 7-time All-Star

He is a tremendously skilled player that can really shoot, score, and create plays to help his team get wins.  Curry is a superstar guard that has won 2 MVPs, he’s won 3 titles, and he is a future Hall of Famer that may be arguably the greatest shooter of all-time.

Damian Lillard
2021 (POR): 34 GP, 29.8 PPG, 8.0 APG, 4.3 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 44 FG%, 38 3PT%, 93 FT%, 26.6 PER, 5.4 WS, 6-time All-Star

Lillard is a tremendously skilled point guard that also can really shoot, score, and create plays, and he is a superstar guard that can really score, and he is also the best rapper amongst active NBA players right now.  He’s also the face of the Portland Trail Blazers, and he is their franchise player as he has gotten them far into the playoffs before.

Chris Paul
2021 (PHO): 34 GP, 16 PPG, 8.8 APG, 4.7 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 49 FG%, 39 3PT%, 95 FT%, 20.2 PER, 4.3 WS, 11-time All-Star

He is a really smart, skilled playmaker that has terrific offensive skills, and Paul is one of the best point guards to have ever played the game.  He had a tremendous year with Oklahoma City last year, as he helped them get to the playoffs, and he will most likely help the Phoenix Sungs get to the playoffs this seaon as well.

Paul George
2021 (LAC): 27 GP, 23.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 50 FG%, 45 3PT%, 89 FT%, 22.7 PER, 3.3 WS, 7-time All-Star

He is a superstar forward whose versatility makes him a very good NBA player year in and year out.  He’s consistently struggled in the playoffs, but his strong all-around skills makes him a perennial All-Star that can be a tremendous contributor when he puts his mind to the task.

Jaylen Brown
2021 (BOS): 33 GP, 24.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 50 FG%, 39 3PT%, 77 FT%, 21 PER, 3.1 WS, 1-time All-Star

He is a young, rising star whom has very good all-around skills, and Brown has been having a terrific season this year.  The Boston Celtics may be struggling as a team, but they were able to get to the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals, and Brown played a big part in helping them get there, and he is a solid player on both ends of the court.

Rudy Gobert
2021 (UTA): 36 GP, 14.2 PPG, 13.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 2.7 BPG, 64 FG%, 0 3PT%, 60 FT%, 22.5 PER, 5.1 WS, 2-time All-Star

He is tremendous defensive center whose strong interior defense and shot blocking skills makes him one of the best defenders in the NBA.  He is also a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year.

He’s also led the Utah Jazz to have the best record at 27-9.  He’s a very efficient, albeit limited offensive player that can finish plays way above the rim.  Gobert may be an under-appreciated All-Star, but his strong defensive skills certainly makes him well-deserving of a trip to the All-Star game.

Domantas Sabonis
2021 (IND): 35 GP, 20.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 6.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 52 FG%, 33 3PT%, 71 FT%, 20.0 PER, 3.8 WS. 2-time All-Star

He is a very skilled big man that has terrific statistics, and his strong offensive skills certainly has earned him an invitation to be an All-Star this year.  For sure, Sabonis is a very important player on Indiana, a team that projects to make it to the playoffs once again this year.

Head coach:
Quin Snyder (Utah Jazz)
2021 (UTA): 27-9

He will be coaching Team LeBron.  Quin Snyder is a solid coach who currently has the league’s best record this year at 27-9.  He has previously coached at Missouri and in the NBA G-League with the Austin Toros, and he was an assistant coach for various NBA teams as well as at CSKA Moscow prior to being hired as the full-time NBA head coach for Utah.

Here is the court design of the 2021 NBA All-Star game that will be held in Atlanta, Georgia on March 7th.
(Source: Twitter/@NBATV)

Also below is the listed roster for Team Durant in the 2021 NBA All-Star game.

Team Durant:

Kevin Durant made his picks for Team Durant on Thursday, just days before the 2021 NBA All-Star game would take place.
(Source: Twitter/@NBAonTNT)

Zion Williamson
2021 (NOP): 34 GP, 25.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 3.4 APG, 61 FG%, 32 3PT%, 70 FT%, 26.8 PER, 4.6 WS, 1-time All-Star

He is a star forward who is a very athletic scorer and shot creator whom is a first-time All-Star in the NBA.  Williamson is having a terrific season, and he is a very talented scorer that will provide a wealth of highlight reels for years to come.

Kawhi Leonard
2021 (LAC): 30 GP, 26.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.9 APG, 1.5 SPG, 51 FG%, 39 3PT%, 87 FT%, 26.7 PER, 5.1 WS, 5-time All-Star

He is a superstar forward that is one of the best in the league, and he is a versatile, highly skilled player that does everything well when he is on the court.  He’s struggled with injuries, but he’s consistently been one of the best players in the NBA when healthy.

Jayson Tatum
2021 (BOS): 31 GP, 24.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, 44 FG%, 37 3PT%, 86 FT%, 19.7 PER, 2.6 WS, 2-time All-Star

He is a star forward whose strong all-around skill set and versatility makes him a very valuable player in the league, and he helped lead the Boston Celtics to get to the 2020 Eastern Conference Finals.

Bradley Beal
2021 (WAS): 32 GP, 32.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 48 FG%, 33 3PT%,90 FT%, 24.8 PER, 3.5 WS, 3-time All-Star

He is a superstar guard that can really score the basketball, and he is also a gifted shot creator.  Beal can really put the ball in the hoop, and he’s been a bright spot on an underachieving Wizards team this year.

Kyrie Irving
2021 (BRK): 26 GP, 27.2 PPG, 6.0 APG, 4.8 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 51 FG%, 41 3PT%, 88.7 FT%, 24.1 PER, 3.7 WS, 7-time All-Star

He is a superstar playmaker that is one of the best players in the league, and he is an elite offensive player that can really score and create plays when he is on the court.  He is also on one of the best teams in the NBA, and his team could make a run to get to the NBA Finals this year if they can stay healthy.

James Harden
2021 (HOU/BRK): 31 GP, 25.3 PPG, 11.1 APG, 7.8 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 48 FG%, 40 3PT%, 86 FT%, 24.8 PER, 5.4 WS, 9-time All-Star

Harden is a superstar guard that can really score and make plays on offense, and he is a tremendously skilled player that put up huge numbers when he was with Houston.  He is a one-time MVP, and he could help Durant and Kyrie go very far in the playoffs this year.

Donovan Mitchell
2021 (UTA): 34 GP, 24.7 PPG, 5.4 APG, 4.7 RPG, 1.0 SPG, 42 FG%, 38 3PT%, 82 FT%, 19.0 PER, 3.2 WS, 2-time All-Star

He is a superstar guard who is a very athletic scorer on the Utah Jazz, who currently holds the league’s best record at 27-9.  Mitchell may be an under-appreciated All-Star, but he is also one of the league’s most dynamic playmakers right now.

Zach LaVine
2021 (CHI): 34 GP, 28.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 5.1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 52 FG%, 43 3PT%, 86 FT%, 22.8 PER, 3 WS, 1-time All-Star

He is a star guard who is a very athletic scorer and playmaker whom is a first-time All-Star in the NBA.  LaVine is a two-time dunk champ, and he is a very talented scorer that will provide a wealth of highlight reels for years to come.

Julius Randle
2021 (NYK): 37 GP, 23.2 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 5.5 APG, 48 FG%, 41 3PT%, 80 FT%, 20.8 PER, 4.5 WS, 1-time All-Star

He is an athletic, skilled big man that has been having a very impressive season on an over-achieving New York Knicks’ team.  Randle has been the embodiment of the Knicks’ overachieving season, and he is a versatile, do-it-all forward that has put up terrific numbers this year.  He’s certainly earned his trip to All-Star night, and he is a star forward that may be on the rise.

Nikola Vucevic
2021 (ORL): 36 GP, 24.6 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 48 FG%, 41 3PT%, 85 FT%, 24.2 PER, 4 WS, 2-time All-Star

He is a very skilled big man that has strong offensive skills, and Vucevic put forth an excellent performance that helped his team win Game 1 in a series against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.  Although they would end up losing that series, Vucevic has proven that he is a star center that has consistently played well out in the East.

Mike Conley
2021 (UTA): 29 GP, 16.1 PPG, 5.7 APG, 3.5 RPG, 1.4 SPG, 44 FG%, 42 3PT%, 83 FT%, 19.2 PER, 3.4 WS, 1-time All-Star

He is a smart, steady veteran playmaker that consistently runs the team well, and it is about time that his strong play gets rewarded with a trip to All-Star night.

Head coach:
Doc Rivers (Philadelphia 76ers)
2021 (PHI): 24-12

He will be coaching Team Durant, and he coaches the Philadelphia 76ers.  The 76ers hold the best record in the East at 24-12, and they have surpassed expectations by far, and Doc has built his team to be a formidable title contender this year.

Injured All-Stars:

Kevin Durant (captain) – injured

2021 (BRK): 19 GP, 29.0 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.4 BPG, 52 FG%, 43 3PT%, 87 FT%, 25.2 PER, 2.7 WS, 11-time All-Star

He is a superstar forward that is one of the best to play the game, and he is a strong all-around player that possesses tremendous shooting and scoring skills.  He has won an MVP in 2014, and he has won two titles with the Golden State Warriors.  He’s injured though, and he won’t be able to play in this game.

Anthony Davis (injured)

2021 (LAL): 23 GP, 22.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 3 APG, 1.8 BPG, 1.3 SPG, 53 FG%, 29 3PT%, 72 FT%, 24.7 PER, 3.2 WS, 8-time All-Star

He is a superstar big man that has strong all-around skills, and he is a tremendous defender that can really lock down the paint.  He had a terrific season in 2020, and he helped the Lakers win the title.  He’s injured though, and he won’t be able to play in this game.

Devin Booker (injured)

2021 (PHO): 31 GP, 24.9 PPG, 4.4 APG, 3.6 RPG, 50 FG%, 36 3PT%, 84 FT%, 18.6 PER, 2.3 WS, 2-time All-Star

He is a star guard that has strong shooting and scoring skills, and it is about time that he was named an All-Star this year.  He’s injured though, and he won’t be able to play in this game.

Also Out (due to COVID-19 protocols):

This news just literally happened hours ago.
(Source: Twitter/@ShamsCharania)

Joel Embiid
2021 (PHI): 30 GP, 30.2 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.4 BPG, 1.2 SPG, 52 FG%, 42 3PT%, 86 FT%, 31.1 PER, 5.8 WS, 4-time All-Star

He is a superstar center that is one of the best in the game right now, and he is a tremendously skilled big man that is an elite scorer from anywhere on the floor, and he is also an impact defender that can really shut down opponents. 

Ben Simmons
2021 (PHI): 31 GP, 16.1 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 7.6 APG, 1.6 SPG, 58 FG%, 29 3PT%, 67 FT%, 19.9 PER, 3.7 WS, 3-time All-Star

He is a very skilled, all-around superstar point forward that can play any position on the court, and he also can guard any position on the floor.  He is a tremendously versatile player who may be one of the most underrated and best defenders in the game.  He lacks a three-point shot, but he does everything else really well.

Just to let you guys know, the festivities start at 6:30 PM EST on March 7th on TNT.

Also, Devin Booker is being replaced by Mike Conley in the 2021 Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest.
(Source: Twitter/@TheSteinLine)

Here are the participants in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge:

Chris Paul
Luka Doncic
Julius Randle
Nikola Vucevic
Domantas Sabonis
Robert Covington

Here are the participants in the Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest:
Stephen Curry
Mike Conley
Zach LaVine
Jayson Tatum
Jaylen Brown
Donovan Mitchell

Here are the participants in the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest:
Cassius Stanley
Anfernee Simons
Obi Toppin

Here are my predictions:

Taco Bell Skills Challenge:

Predicted Winner – Chris Paul

Robert Covington may have the longest odds to win, as he is the only non-All-Star that is participating in the skills challenge.  That may also make him the most intriguing player to pick, but he’s more known for his 3 and D skills than his playmaking abilities in the NBA.

The obvious favorites look to be either Chris Paul or Luka Doncic, as they are really skilled playmakers that likely would be favored to win.  Nikola Vucevic could be a sneaky pick, as he can pass, shoot, and handle the basketball. Domantas Sabonis is also similarly talented.  Julius Randle also could be an interesting pick, as he may be the most athletic big man in this contest, but there may be a concern that he might be prone to rushing, which could hurt him in the accuracy department.  It’s a tough one to decide, though.

Montain Dew 3-Point Contest:

Predicted Winner – Stephen Curry

Any one of these guys could win it, but to me, Curry has been arguably the best shooter in the game for a while, and it feels like this is his contest to lose.  That also could be an argument to pick the other players too, though.

AT&T Slam Dunk Contest:
Predicted Winner – Cassius Stanley

New York Knicks’ rookie forward, Obi Toppin may be the favorite based on his name recognition, and he’s been known to throw down dunks.  While I have been impressed by some of his dunks, he’s given me the impression that he may be more of a game dunker, and I get the feeling that he might end up getting 8s and 9s rather than 10s in this dunk contest.

Historically, smaller players have usually won more dunk titles recently, and judges can be swayed by style points, so that could favor Portland Trail Blazers’ guard, Anfernee Simons. 

For me though, I’ll go with Indiana Pacers’ rookie guard, Cassius Stanley as the predicted 2021 dunk contest champion, as he’s been known to throw down some really good and creative dunks when I saw him play at the collegiate level, and he also has tremendous athletic gifts and dunking skills that could enable him to pull down 50s in this dunk contest. Though Stanley has not actually made a dunk in the NBA this year, he may be the best bet because he has extraordinary athleticism. Specifically, Stanley broke Zion Williamson’s vertical leap record at Duke with a very impressive 46 inch max vertical leap.

2021 NBA All-Star Game:
Predicted Winner – Team LeBron

Without Kevin Durant playing in this game, this looks to be an easy one to call, and LeBron certainly seemed to pick players to win this contest.  We’ll see though, and one thing is for sure, it’ll be a fun night regardless of what happens.

Thanks for reading, and hope you guys will have fun watching the 2021 NBA All-Star Sunday night.

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