LOS ANGELES —Stephen Curry would love to be an NBA All-Star Game captain again next year, especially since the game will be in his hometown of Charlotte.
LeBron James would be OK with someone else taking his place, depending on who the top two vote-getters are, although his draft prowess led to Team LeBron beating Team Stephen, 148-145, Sunday night (Monday, Manila time).
And there’s a definite appetite for the NBA to televise the captains’ draft rather than conduct it clandestinely like it was this year.
“Televise it,” said DeMar DeRozan of Team Stephen. “Give the people what they want to see. I think everybody wants to see it. At the end of the day, every single person that gets picked, you are an All-Star, so it doesn’t matter where you really go, so I think televise it.”
Players raved about the new format of having captains draft the teams rather than the traditional format of East vs. West.
And James finally revealed his draft order: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, his former Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving and DeMarcus Cousins, who missed the game due to a season-ending injury.
“I know who I like watching and I had a draft board. I had a process,” James said. “Some of it went according to plan. A couple of them fell through, but I was satisfied and happy with the guys that I got.”
James’ original roster was dramatically altered by injuries to Cousins, John Wall, Kristaps Porzingis and Kevin Love, who all missed the game.
“Even with the four guys that got injured we were able to get four new guys that came in and played well for us.”
James was named the game’s MVP after making the go-ahead, finger-roll layup with 34.5 seconds left and scoring a game-high 29 points.
Where did he hide his draft board?
“Ain’t none of your business. You’re going too far, man,” James said with a laugh.
Curry didn’t divulge his draft order.
“As the draft kind of unfolded, you start to game plan around positions,” he said. “For me, I tried to get the best shooters. It was kind of cool to see both teams come together as me and LeBron were picking. So that part, that vibe of the format and having two guys select from your peers will be a fun show as it unfolds year after year.”
The All-Star draft led to interesting dynamics on court.
Curry chose his Golden State teammates Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, but the trio had to play against Durant. James also chose Oklahoma City duo Westbrook and Paul George to play along with Kyrie Irving, who forced a trade away from James in Cleveland just last summer.
Irving and James had no obvious friction, even laughing and joking on the bench. Neither did Durant and Westbrook, who broke up in 2016 when Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State.
Durant helped James smother Curry in the final seconds to prevent him from getting off a potential tying shot.
And then there was Toronto’s Dwane Casey coaching Team LeBron against Raptors star DeRozan.
“I think that having the captains and selecting the guys and being able to mix them up gave it a more authentic feel of kind of what us players want to be part of in an All-Star Game,” Irving said.
“It’s great to play with guys in your conference, East-West. But when you get a chance to have Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and you know they’re teammates already, and then you mix them with myself and Kemba (Walker), and LeBron, and you could see the mix and it just worked.”