Welcome back to the Brew Hoop Round Table, where we ask that everybody use coasters and please don’t feed the pugs from the table, thanks. Today, we zoom out from our regular focus on the Milwaukee Bucks, and we talk about the biggest event of the NBA regular season: All Star Weekend!
Pretend the selection is under the old rules: who are your five Eastern Conference All Star Starters?
Kyle: Giannis, Kawhi, Embiid and Kyrie select themselves. For the second guard, I originally had Victor Oladipo, but now would say Kemba is the best of the leftover guards. Get well soon, Oladipo.
Mitchell: There are some obvious selections here: Giannis, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, and Joel Embiid. For the fifth starter, I guess I’m supposed to pick a guard, and I don’t know which Eastern Conference guard is a clear-cut All Star Starter. I suppose I’ll pick Kemba Walker, despite his recent struggles.
Adam: Unfortunately, I’m going almost the exact same as Mitchell, sans the backup guard spot. For that last slot, what the heck, let’s give it to D’Angelo Russell. I know Kemba Walker or Bradley Beal might be more appropriate, but any Nets fans hasn’t had an iota of basketball excitement in their lives for some time. Why not give them this?
Riley: I’ll zig where others have zagged and grant every anti-Middleton fan’s dream for just one night: That’s right, Bradley Beal is my fifth starter. He’s in the middle of a career year, has carried the Wiz onward past the burned-out wreck of John Wall, and will look just fine tossing Giannis alley-oops in the ASG.
Same question, different coast: who are your Western Conference All Star Starters?
Kyle: Oh man, Curry and Harden are the backcourt, that’s easy. For the front court, there’s so many options. Paul George has been great this season so let’s get him on the roster. Nikola Jokic is a dark horse MVP candidate and deserves to be rewarded with a start. The final spot is a toss up, so let’s just say LeBron.
Adam: This is far tougher than the East. I think both Curry and Harden deserve the guard spots, one for a sparkling clean season despite injury, the latter due to his Atlassian feat carrying his injured squad. The frontcourt is a crapshoot. I prefer seeing a little fresh blood in there and rewarding players who have carried teams that have exceeded expectations thus far. Durant and Lebron have had plenty of time in the sun, let’s throw Jokic, Paul George and Anthony Davis in there.
Riley: Curry, Harden, George, Jokic, and LeBron will get my nod. The first four for having individual standout seasons that either can’t be denied or are exceeding expectations, LeBron because he’s LeBron and you can’t have the ASG without LeBron.
Who are the seven best players on your bench in the East?
Adam: Yikes, the lower fringes of this is difficult. Bradley Beal and Kemba Walker, of course. Orlando deserves a nod, so let’s toss in Vucevic. Eric Bledsoe feels more deserving than Khris Middleton, for this season at least. The Celtics have been an disappointment and annoying conversation piece all season, so no reason to reward a team full of seemingly underperforming players. Ben Simmons has been solid, and his passing in an All-Star game would be sublime. This feels guard-heavy thus far, so I’ll also throw in Pascal Siakam, just because he’d be enjoyable as a funhouse mirror version of Giannis. Let’s put Blake Griffin in the other spot and call it a day.
Riley: I’ll slot in Kemba, Nikola Vucevic, Blake Griffin, Bledsoe, Simmons, D’Angelo Russell, and Khris Middleton! No, none of it makes sense, but I don’t think it a stretch to demand that the best team in all of basketball be rewarded by recognizing the three key cogs pushing the machine forward. That, and I’m loathe to give Toronto any due.
Mitchell: This has been a hostile roundtable for Brooklyn! Anyways, Bradley Beal could’ve been a starter, so he goes here. Ditto for Kyle Lowry. Nikola Vucevic has been really good. Blake Griffin can have a spot for the work he’s doing carrying Detroit on his back. Ben Simmons is talented, but I’ll actually put Eric Bledsoe above him (because I’m a homer). And because I’m also a sucker, I’ll let Dwyane Wade and Vince Carter have their lifetime achievement awards.
Which seven All Star reserves would you pick from the West?
Adam: Lebron and Durant get their slots here. Karl-Anthony Towns too, partially because I think he deserves a little love in his life after whatever it is Jimmy Butler did to that team. Dame is dope, get him on this squad. I think LaMarcus Aldridge deserves some recognition for plugging along with his two-way play this season. For the last two spots, De’Aaron Fox gets the same sort of bump I allowed D’Angelo Russell above for finally making a laughing stock team relevant. Then let’s get Westbrook in here.
Mitchell: The aforementioned PG13 and Jokic, alongside Damian Lillard. Karl-Anthony Towns is too productive to deny. I actually think Luka Doncic is that damn good. I don’t like it, but I have to give Russell Westbrook a spot. And lastly, Rudy Gobert.
Riley: Davis, Durant, the Big Meow, Dame, Russ, Tobias Harris for the requisite once-a-Buck All-Star, and Jamal Murray to reward Denver for somehow being atop the West until relatively recently.
All Star Weekend has other events too. Which Buck would be best in a team-wide Skills Competition?
Kyle: Probably Brogdon.
Adam: Brogdon would be great except for when he forgets to bounce pass through the hole in transition (hey-oh)!
Mitchell: Malcolm Brogdon feels like a shoo-in for this one.
Riley: Seems like everyone is forgetting that a certain rookie is best known as a guy who “does stuff”. Donte DiVincenzo has my vote here.
Which Buck would be win the Milwaukee internal Three-Point Contest?
Riley: Brook Lopez gets hot for five minutes and it’s game over.
Kyle: Sterling Brown is automatic from the corner, so he just has to be ok everywhere else.
Adam: I’m gonna go Khris Middleton.
Mitchell: Sign me up for Tony Snell here.
Is there any doubt about whether or not Giannis Antetokounmpo would win a Bucks-only Dunk Contest?
Adam: This man was sent to the G-League with a Coach Bud-issued license to kill rims. Watch out:
Mitchell: I feel like, if wardrobe quality was considered, D.J. Wilson would be a dark horse here.
Riley: You’re all crazy and I’m telling on you to Giannis.