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NBA All-Star Draft: How it all works



The NBA All-Star Game, which dates back to 1951, has always been a midseason showdown between the best players from each conference. From Magic Johnson and Hakeem Olajuwon teaming up to represent the West to Allen Iverson and LeBron James joining forces to lead the East, the game has consistently showcased a copious amount of talent playing for their respective coast.

In 2017, however, the NBA decided a change to one of the league’s main events was needed. 

Following a wave of non-competitive All-Star games — including blowout victories, uninspired defense and high-scoring affairs — alternative options began to be explored. As a result, the traditional roster selection method vanished and a new format was introduced.

An NBA All-Star draft.

How it works

Two captains go back and forth drafting from a pool of 22 players that were voted as All-Stars, picking starters first and reserves next. Each selection is made without regard for conference affiliation. The captains are the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes in his conference.

The idea was initiated by NBPA president Chris Paul, who reached out to Commissioner Adam Silver about revamping the format. It became implemented during the 2018 All-Star Game.

The “backyard-basketball” style adds a different form of intrigue, balance and creativity (such as captains trading their draft picks). Teams also play for community-based organizations now, with donations directed toward outreach efforts that benefit the All-Star host city.  


LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo draft their 2019 All-Star teams, televised on TNT.


Conference affiliation still matters when it comes to voting, with 12 players from both the East and West earning spots. The 10 starters – two guards and three frontcourt players per conference – are chosen by a combination of fans (50 percent of the vote), current players (25 percent) and basketball media (25 percent). The players and media were granted a vote in 2017 – only fans selected the startling lineup before then. 

The 30 NBA coaches select the 14 reserves, voting for two guards, three frontcourt players and two players at any position in their respective conferences. 

Commissioner Silver selects the replacement for any player unable to participate in the All-Star Game, choosing a player from the same conference as the player who is being replaced. Silver’s selection would join the team that drafted the replaced player. The commissioner also has the power to create a special roster addition, which he did for the first time in 2019.

Each All-Star Game coach leads the team that includes the captain from their same conference. The way the head coaches are determined is via a best-record scenario, meaning coaches whose teams are first in their respective conferences two weeks before the All-Star Game earn the nod (a coach can’t participate for two years in a row, however). 


The draft was held off camera during its inaugural session, but became televised in 2019. James and Giannis Antetokounmpo made their selections live on TNT, and at one point, agreed to a trade. James sent Russell Westbrook to Team Giannis, while Antetokounmpo sent Ben Simmons to Team LeBron.

Past Captains

2019: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo | Full roster | Draft results: Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis
2018: LeBron James, Stephen Curry | Full roster | Draft results: Team LeBron vs. Team Steph

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Summer Standouts, Championship Game |



A look at top performers from the Summer League Tournament Finals, on Day 11 of the action in Las Vegas and Day 14 of the overall competition:


Brandon Clarke, Championship Game MVP
After being awarded the overall Summer League MVP earlier Monday, No. 21 overall pick Clarke capped a breakout performance with a Championship Game MVP, posting 15 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in 24 minutes. Playing as a smallball center, the 6-foot-7 Clarke dominated yet again on both ends, and looks to be a steal after coming over in a draft night trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder.


The Grizzlies raised the 2019 Summer League Tournament trophy.

Grayson Allen
After arriving from Utah in the trade that shipped Mike Conley Jr. to the Jazz, the 2018 No. 21 overall pick has continued to get under opponents’ skin — notably earning a double-flagrant ejection earlier in the week — and put up a team-high 17 points (6-13 FGs) and five assists. 

Bruno Cabocolo
Famously described as “two years away from being two years away” upon being drafted in 2014, Cabocolo caught on last season with the Grizzlies toward the end of last season and built on the performance throughout his time in Vegas. Still only 23, the 6-foot-9 Cabocolo dropped 15 points (3-8 3Ps), four rebounds and two blocks against Minnesota.

Dusty Hannahs
The second-year guard spent much of last season with the Memphis Hustle before earning late-season run with the senior squad. On Monday, Hannahs again showed off a sharp shooting touch, knocking down 3-of-4 shots from deep while scoring 15 points off the bench.

* * *



Kelan Martin
A sparkplug scorer for the Timberwolves throughout their Tournament run, Martin keyed a Minnesota comeback with a 16-point second half. He finished with a game-high 19 points and five rebounds off the bench, shooting 3-of-7 from 3-point range and 6-of-14 overall.

Barry Brown Jr.
Undrafted after four years at Kansas State, the 6-foot-3 guard performed well off the bench, finishing with a stunning,. game-high plus-20 mark in just 21 minutes. He finished with 12 points (5-7 FGs), three rebounds and an assist.


Barry Brown Jr. split the D for a slick reverse.


Keita Bates-Diop
Bates-Diop, drafted No. 48 overall in 2018, proved a consistent performer for the Timberwolves in Las Vegas, and hit several clutch shots along the way. Monday night, his fourth-quarter 3-pointer capped a 9-0 run that brought Minnesota within a point 24.8 seconds from the finish.


Bates-Diop put a scare in the Grizzlies late in the game.

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Game Recap: Grizzlies 95, Timberwolves 92



Zak Hanshew, RotoWire

LAS VEGAS — Brandon Clarke totaled 15 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 95-92 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Las Vegas Summer League championship game Monday night.

Memphis jumped out to a hot start behind five early three-pointers to take a 31-19 lead after the first quarter and a 56-40 halftime advantage. Minnesota stormed back with a 30-point third quarter to chip away at the lead and keep the game close all the way to the final buzzer.

Down 93-83 with just under two minutes to play, Minnesota put together a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 93-92 before a pair of clutch free throws from Keenan Evans with 10.4 seconds to play gave the Grizzlies a three-point advantage they would not relinquish. The Timberwolves had a shot to tie the game late, but they missed a three-point attempt with just seconds left on the clock and failed to inbound the ball cleanly as time expired. 

Clarke, a first-round pick out of Gonzaga, led all players in rebounding and finished his summer league campaign as MVP of both the Las Vegas Summer League and the championship game. Bruno Caboclo and Dusty Hannahs scored 15 points apiece, with Hannahs chipping in three triples for Memphis (6-1). Tyler Harvey finished with 12 points, while Evans added eight points and eight assists.

Kelan Martin paced Minnesota (6-1) with a game-high 19 points off the bench, including 16 in the second half. Jordan Murphy added 14 points and eight rebounds, Mitchell Creek finished with 13 points, Barry Brown Jr totaled 12 and Keita Bates-Diop finished with 10, as five Timberwolves scored in double figures. Undrafted rookie and summer league standout Naz Reid went for eight points on 3-of-13 shooting to go with 10 rebounds and two assists.

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Grizzlies’ Clarke headlines 2019 Summer League team



MVP Brandon Clarke of the Memphis Grizzlies headlines this year’s 2019 Summer League team, which was announced Monday by the NBA. 

Clarke averaged 14.6 points and 8.6 rebounds in five appearances heading into Monday’s title game with the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Other standout performers on this year’s team include Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen (16.4 ppg, 10.6 rpg), New Orleans Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (24.3 ppg, 6.0 apg, 2.8 spg) and New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (13.8 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3.4 bpg). 


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