The NBA All-Star starters have been announced, with Andrew Wiggins’ selection particularly raising eyebrows among the basketball world.
The league on Friday morning (all times AEDT) confirmed LeBron James would captain the West starters after receiving the most votes in the conference, also featuring Wiggins, Nikola Jokic, Steph Curry and Ja Morant.
James, who’s been voted as captain in each of the five years under the current system, earned his 18 All-Star team selection, tying Kobe Bryant for second place all-time behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19).
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Meanwhile, Kevin Durant was voted the Eastern Conference captain despite his uncertainty to play due to an MCL injury, while Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Trae Young and DeMar DeRozan round out the line-up.
It marks an inaugural All-Star berth for both Morant and Wiggins, although the latter’s inclusion was met with far greater shock.
While the much-improved Wiggins had had arguably the most impact over his nine-year career for the 35-13 Warriors, it’s not quite to the level of his fellow All-Stars — maybe not even in a bench role.
The former Pick 1 has averaged 18.1 points per game — the equal second lowest return of his career — but developed into a strong two-player in an ideal supporting role behind Steph Curry.
The All-Star starters are determined by a mixture of fan vote (50 per cent), player vote (25 per cent) and media vote (25 per cent).
Reserves for the game, voted by the head coaches for each conference, will be announced on February 4. James and Durant then will pick their respective teams under the revamped format introduced in 2018.
2022 East All-Star starters:
2022 West All-Star starters: