The draft for the NBA All-Star Game took place last night with LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo selecting their squads, and even the most novice and least skeptical fans will have noticed a trend of sorts with the teams. The latter went with the more unsung heroes in general, selecting Joel Embiid, Paul George, Kemba Walker, and the irrepressible Stephen Curry as his starters. James took Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, and Kevin Durant. Then he followed it up by picking Anthony Davis first among the reserves list. LeBron also picked up Klay Thompson later, meaning that he has all of the free agents come season’s end on his team, as well as Davis, whom the Lakers are extremely interested in. There might not be anything to this more than him picking the best team possible in his eyes, but it still will raise eyebrows. Giannis joking about it being tampering might have been a joke, but the jackals of the media and fandom will be coming for The King nonetheless.
A few trades went down on Thursday before the deadline came and went. Perhaps the biggest saw Marc Gasol, but not Mike Conley, leave Memphis. Gasol heads to the Raptors in a big time deal. The Bucks also didn’t let the deadline pass without moving for Nikola Mirotic, making sure that they don’t get one-upped by the Raptors. The 76ers put an end to the Markelle Fultz experiment but will get a first round pick in exchange for the former #1 overall pick. There were the biggest trades to take note of currently. Note that the aforementioned Anthony Davis did NOT move. The Pelicans decided to wait, at least until summer, to trade their star man as they try to get as much leverage as they can. They have decided to play him now, apparently, for the rest of the season, so that will be well worth watching. As for the trade deadline, who are the biggest winners and losers? You have to say that the Raptors and Bucks did well. Each got a piece that will help make them better down the stretch. The Sixers did a good job as well to land Tobias Harris and to move on from the distraction of Fultz. The biggest loser? Perhaps that will prove to be the Lakers, who failed to get Davis. Now, they will have to work twice as hard to land him come the summer.
On the court, Russell Westbrook was finally able to surpass Michael Jordan, at the third time of asking. on Thursday night with his eighth triple-double in a row. Westbrook helped the OKC Thunder defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 117-95 with a typically solid performance yet again. His 15 points, 15 assists, and 13 rebounds saw him run up the longest streak of games with a triple-double in 51 years. If Westbrook, who is averaging a triple-double on the season, can do it again on Saturday against the Rockets, he will tie Wilt Chamberlain. Lofty company, Russ, lofty company indeed.