We have a slightly new format for the All-Star Game this year. Each of the first three quarters are going to be their own games. The team that wins the quarter wins money for the charity they are representing. Then for the fourth quarter, there is a target score to hit. In honor of Kobe Bryant, the cumulative score of the team that’s ahead, plus 24 points is the winner. So if the total score of the game is 100-99 after three quarters, the first team to 124 would be the winner. This could mean a really short fourth quarter. For this reason, I think there should be more of an emphasis on playing starters in lineups.
Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
SHOWDOWN CAPTAIN’S PICKS
Set your lineups here: NBA $500K All-Star Showdown [$100K to 1st] (ASG).
Team GiannisThese are the underdogs in tonight’s game. Even though Team Giannis is expected to score slightly fewer points, I think this is where the best value lies. While LeBron built his team around high usage players, Giannis Antetokounmpo ($14,400 CP/$9,600) didn’t approach his draft with the same strategy. He said he wanted to roster players who were going to pass him the ball. This leads me to think that Giannis plans on carrying a decent workload in this game, setting him up as the best choice for captain.
The significance of Giannis drafting lower usage players is that the players on his team are a bit cheaper. Of the six most expensive players in this game, five are on Team LeBron. So outside of Antetokounmpo, who should we expect to have a significant role on his team? I am looking at Trae Young ($8,400). In general, I think it makes more sense to roster young guys rather than veterans in this kind of game. The old guys have been here before and are just trying to make it through the game without getting injured. Young is playing in his first All-Star Game and has the perfect skillset for it. He’s a great shooter, playmaker and is capable of the highlight type plays that will keep him on the court.
There is one injury here that we are going to an update on. Brandon Ingram ($6,200) missed the Pelicans’ last three games before the break, making it uncertain if he will play or not tonight. At the very least, rostering him is risky since nobody wants to chance an injury in this game. If he’s out, there are some added minutes on the wing for Team Giannis. Among value options, Donovan Mitchell ($3,400) and Khris Middleton ($3,200) could pick up some extra playing time.
Team LeBronMoving over to LeBron’s team, I think there are a couple of players we can eliminate right away. Neither Chris Paul ($3,000) nor Kawhi Leonard ($8,000) seem like players that would be all that motivated to play hard in this game. Both of them have long injury histories and the Clippers have been careful with resting Leonard this season. I doubt he’s going to play especially hard or take any chances and he’s one of the most expensive players in the game.
For some of the same reasons I like Young, Luka Doncic ($8,600) makes sense to roster. His style of play is a great fit for an All-Star Game and we just saw him play well in the Rising Stars game. Luka should challenge for MVP and I expect him to show up in the game highlights. Like Young, Luka should be a bit more motivated to play hard since this his first time in the All-Star Game.
Looking for a narrative, this is a homecoming game for Anthony Davis ($9,000). He grew up in Chicago, which is something that LeBron James ($9,400) is well aware of. In interviews during the week, he said he wants to get AD plenty of touches since he is playing back home. In 2017, Davis won the All-Star Game MVP when the gam was being played in New Orleans and we could see something similar tonight. He scored 52 points and grabbed 10 rebounds that year.
THE OUTCOMEPicking a winner is pretty difficult for an All-Star Game. Team LeBron is favored by a healthy six points and it’s hard to deny that he picked the stronger player roster. With that being said, who knows what the motivation will be like. This is a fairly wide spread for an exhibition game, so I’ll side with Team Giannis as underdogs to cover.
Final Score: Team LeBron 150, Team Giannis 145
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.