The NBA’s best talent will gather at the Smoothie Center in New Orleans for the 2017 All-Star Game on Sunday.
An annual display of fast-breaks, dunks and threes, this year’s exhibition should be no different. Defensive enthusiasts may want to shield their eyes, though, as last year’s showcase finished with a 196-173 victory for the West.
Here’s a preview:
2017 NBA All-Star Game Viewing Info
Date: Sunday, February 19, 2017
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel, United States: TNT
TV Channel, Canada: SportsNet
Live Stream, Canada: SportsNet Now
F Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
F Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
F Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
G Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
G James Harden,Houston Rockets
C DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
C Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
F Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
F Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz
C DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers
G Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
G Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
F Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
F Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls
F LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
G DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
G Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
F Paul George, Indiana Pacers
F Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks (replaces Kevin Love)
G Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
F Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
G Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics
G Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets
G John Wall, Washington Wizards
Everyone wants to focus on the reunion of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, but that whole storyline is largely overblown. There are many more intriguing components to this exhibition, led by the All-Star debut for Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Greek Freak, as he is so affectionately known, is made for this game. The 6-foot-11 point guard/shooting guard/small forward/whatever position you want him to be, thanks to his incomparable amalgam of athleticism, length and ball-handling ability, is an absolute menace in the open-court.
The 22-year-old is a site to see with a full head of steam, capable of covering the majority of the floor with two dribbles:
In a game that is always wide-open, Antetokounmpo should shine.
Another player to watch is Westbrook. Not because he’s playing with Durant, but because he’s looking to become the first player in All-Star game history to win MVP three years in a row, and he’s likely going to be in vengeance mode after not being named a starter despite averaging a triple-double.
We know Westbrook can put up video-game numbers, we know he’s unstoppable in the open-court, we know he has an improved three-point shot this year, and it’s going to be fun to see what he will do with a little extra motivation.
Another not-so-sneaky MVP candidate has to be Anthony Davis. He poured in 24 points in just 15 minutes in this game last year, and he obviously has incentive to put on a show in front of the home crowd in New Orleans.
Ultimately, though, this is the best of the best. Anyone could walk away with MVP, and that’s part of what makes it so tantalizing.