On 19 February 2023, the best basketball players in the world will gather once again for the NBA All-Star Game. Taking place in Salt Lake City, Utah, the game will see Eastern Conference and Western Conference teams, both comprised of elite talent like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant, go against each other.
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A look at the NBA All-Star Game
The 2023 NBA All-Star Game will follow a long annual tradition that began all the way back in 1951. Since then, it has taken the best players from the NBA’s Eastern Conference for the season and the best players from the NBA’s Western Conference for the season, and pitted them against each other. Although there’s nothing up for grabs other than bragging rights, each team plays for a charity of their choice, which helps with keeping the game competitive.
2018 saw the NBA All-Star Game receive a revamp. Based on the vote system, the player with the most votes for each conference became the respective team captain. It is then down to the captains to pick from the All-Star reserves – who are selected by NBA coaches – to put together their teams.
While there is a level of competition, the game is different to the normal NBA game. Sometimes players take up different positions than they would regularly, such as in 2007 when Kobe Bryant was a guard rather than the usual shooting guard. In addition, you won’t see too much in the way of defense, and spectacular shots are often attempted. All of this contributes to what is typically a high-scoring game. The 2022 game finished 163-160 for example.
How team line-ups are selected
Previously, the voting for the starting five line-ups for each team – three frontcourt players, two guards – was done exclusively by fans. Since 2017, it changed to a weighted process. While fan votes still account for 50% of the total votes, they also introduced both player and media voting – and these are split for 25% each of the total votes.
Who will be in the 2023 NBA All-Star teams?
Every NBA player is eligible to be selected for the NBA All-Star teams. While some are obvious picks, it can be difficult to predict who will end up in the starting five for each squad. However, the NBA keeps everyone updated on the fan voting, which helps to paint the picture about who will be selected.
LeBron James is the current leader – and heavy favorite – to be the West Frontcourt again. Kevin Durant’s spot, however, isn’t secured as the East Frontcourt. Giannis Antetokounmpo is less than 50,000 fan votes away at the time of writing, and that doesn’t account for the part the players and media play in the vote.
Stephen Curry is the current fan vote for the West Guards, while Kyrie Irving leads the way for the East Guards position.
With the West winning every NBA All-Star game since 2015, the East will be hoping they have a team that will change their fortunes.