2021 NBA All-Star Game Mock Draft

March 3, 2021
Ryan Abaye and Aditya Sheth

With the NBA All-Star game fast approaching, all eyes are on superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant to draft their respective All-Star teams. 17x All-Star LeBron James has shown no signs of slowing down, averaging 26-8-8 and leading the defending champion Lakers to a 23-11 two-seed in the Western Conference. On the other hand, a nagging hamstring injury will keep former league MVP and four-time scoring champion Kevin Durant from participating in any All-Star Weekend festivities, but he will still be drafting his team. In KD’s absence, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum was promoted as a starter, while Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis earned a reserve spot. Here, we fill the roles of Durant (Aditya) and James (Ryan) to draft what we believe will be the ideal roster for both captains.

With the first pick, Team Durant (Aditya) selects…

Stephen Curry - PG, Warriors
Watch Steph Curry make 105 straight 3-pointers in Warriors practice –  Monterey Herald

After coming back from an injury that kept him out for the majority of last year, Steph Curry has been electrifying this season, producing numbers nearly identical to those in his 2016 MVP campaign. Currently averaging 30-6-5 while leading the entire league in total points, he has positioned the Warriors for a play-in game for the 8th seed. His ability to shoot from anywhere on the court in tandem with his unselfishness makes him a no brainer as the first overall pick.

With the second pick, Team LeBron (Ryan) decides to take...

Nikola Jokic - C, Nuggets
Denver Nuggets: The real reason Nikola Jokic is off to a 'slow start'

Jokic is arguably the most skilled center we have ever seen in a long time. He has the vision of a guard and is able to get buckets from all over the floor. Averaging 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists on incredible efficiency, this year has been nothing short of spectacular for him. His unique skill set allows him to body other centers, dish out no-look passes, and shoot the three-ball over any defender. Jokic has taken his game to another level this year, there is no doubt we will see some highlight plays from him during the game.

With the third pick, Team Durant (Aditya) selects…

Kawhi Leonard - SF, Clippers
Load Management For Kawhi Leonard Is Working

Leonard has arguably been one of the most consistently great players in the league for the past few years, elevating himself into superstardom after his remarkable championship run in 2019 with the Toronto Raptors. He is averaging nearly 27 points per game and is easily one of the best perimeter, if not overall, defenders in the game. Although not the most flashy, Leonard will have a great impact on both sides of the ball for Durant’s squad.

With the fourth pick, Team LeBron (Ryan) picks…

Luka Doncic - PG, Mavericks
Luka Doncic may be even better for Dallas Mavericks in 2020-21 season

Ever since entering the league in 2018, Luka Doncic has been one of the most electrifying players to watch. Despite not being the most athletic, his immense offensive skill set makes him virtually unguardable and a nightmare for opposing coaches to game plan against. Even with a rough start to the season, Doncic is averaging 29-9-8 in a year where his team has been decimated by injuries and COVID-related problems. Watching him pair with fellow European sensation Nikola Jokic will certainly be must-see TV.

With the fifth pick, Team Durant (Aditya) takes...

Giannis Antetokounmpo - F, Bucks
Giannis Antetokounmpo: 3 playmaking free agents to pair with the MVP

The 2x MVP falls to Team Durant with pick number five and is arguably one of the biggest steals in the draft. Giannis’s ability to slash into the paint whilst dragging along multiple defenders makes him one of the hardest players to guard in the league. His 6’11 242 lb frame causes defenders to bounce off him as he drives into the paint again and again, throwing down thunderous dunks. Averaging 29-12-6, Giannis has the Bucks set for yet another title run, though whether he’ll be successful this time is a mystery. Nonetheless, the reigning DPOY will look to make a difference on both sides of the court pairing with superstar Kawhi Leonard to form a formidable frontcourt.

With the sixth, pick Team LeBron (Ryan) chooses…

Bradley Beal - SG, Wizards
Wizards' asking price for Bradley Beal revealed | Yardbarker

Beal responded with his best statistical season to date after being snubbed from the All-Star game last season, leading the league in scoring with 33 points per game and adding 5 rebounds and 5 assists along with it. The Wizards’ underwhelming start to the season stirred up plenty of different trade rumors regarding a possible blockbuster trade involving Beal, but he reiterated that Washington is where he wants to stay for good. For now, he will accompany Luka Doncic in what is certainly a dynamic backcourt for Team LeBron.

With the seventh pick, Team Durant (Aditya) drafts...

Joel Embiid - C, 76ers
76ers' Joel Embiid not just raising the bar this season, he's making  history in the process - CBSSports.com

Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic have been reviving the center position in today’s era of guard-based basketball. This season, Embiid has elevated his 76ers to the top seed in the Eastern Conference, making an MVP-case alongside Jokic. His 30 ppg, 11 rpg, and shooting 41 percent from three makes Embiid nearly impossible to stop. Whether it’s a signature fadeaway, a deep three, or a posterizing dunk, the skilled center has it all in his bag. Embiid will accompany the already elite frontcourt in Giannis and Kawhi.

With the eight pick, Team LeBron (Ryan) chooses…

Jayson Tatum - F, Celtics
Boston Celtics: How Jayson Tatum found his NBA stardom

In just his fourth season, Tatum has already established himself as one of the NBA’s elite offensive players. Standing at 6 foot 8, the Celtics forward is an extremely dynamic scorer and is capable of getting a bucket on almost any player in the league. Although his 25 ppg stems from a relatively low efficiency (just 43% from the field), Tatum is almost impossible to stop whenever he gets into a rhythm. Pairing him with elite playmakers such as Jokic, LeBron, and Luka will definitely bring the best out of him.

With the final pick, Team Durant (Aditya) takes…

Kyrie Irving - G, Nets
Kyrie Irving Is Back, as if He Never Left - The New York Times

Irving falling to the last pick in the first round just shows how much talent in the league there is. Teamed up with Durant in Brooklyn, there is no doubt KD would want him to be on his All-Star squad. Kyrie has consistently proven to be a nightmare for the opposition to guard with his craftiness and ball-handling, which is easily the best in the league. On a Nets team that has Kyrie as a second/third option, he has exploded this year averaging 27 points, 6 ast, 5 reb, while shooting a blistering 51 percent from the field and 40 percent from three. Teamed with superstar Steph Curry in the backcourt, it will be interesting to see how the two gel together.

Notable Reserves

Pick 10 (Team LeBron): Damian Lillard - PG, Trail Blazers

Fans, sports media, and other NBA players were all (rightfully) shocked when Damian Lillard was not selected to be an All-Star starter. He has been averaging nearly 30 points and 8 assists per game, carrying an injury-riddled Portland team to a playoff spot in the stacked Western Conference. Having Lillard come off the bench on an All-Star team almost seems too good to be true, and it will provide a huge boost for Team LeBron in this contest.

Pick 14 (Team LeBron): Zach LaVine - G, Bulls

After seven seasons and multiple snubs, Zach LaVine has finally made his way onto an All-Star roster. The Bulls star is averaging a career-high 28.5 points per game on ridiculous efficiency (52% from the field, 43% from three on nearly 20 shot attempts per game) and has been the lone bright spot for Chicago’s rebuild. His sharpshooting ability paired with his crazy athleticism will make him a must-watch piece of this year’s game.

Pick 15 (Team KD): Zion Williamson - F, Pelicans

In a span of just one year, Williamson went from one of the most hyped college prospects of all time to an underrated superstar. Part of this is due to the fact that New Orleans is not a big market team nor have they had much success as a team, but his averages of 24 ppg and 7 rpg on 60% shooting have flown under the radar. Expect some vicious dunks and other flashy displays of his athleticism in the game this weekend.

Pick 21 (Team KD): Chris Paul - G, Suns

Chris Paul’s impact on the Phoenix Suns goes far beyond what the stats show. Since his arrival, the Suns went from a perennial bottom-feeding team to the 2nd seed in the Western Conference almost solely due to his addition. Although he won’t show many flashy plays, CP3 is almost guaranteed to keep Team Durant competitive throughout the course of the game.

Final Rosters

Team LeBron

Starters - Luka Doncic, Bradley Beal, LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Nikola Jokic

Reserves - Damian Lillard, Donavan Mitchell, Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, Devin Booker, Julius Randle, Ben Simmons

Team Durant

Starters - Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid

Reserves -  James Harden, Paul George, Zion Williamson, Domantas Sabonis, Jaylen Brown, Chris Paul, Rudy Gobert

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