While NBA connoisseurs usually watch the All-Star Game, that doesn’t change the fact that the event historically lacks passion, effort and has been nearly unwatchable at times due to flashiness and all the above. The 2020 All-Star Game was quite the opposite. Not only was the night full of beauty, but it was also the purest display of competition I’ve seen in the NBA outside of a playoff game.
A huge part of that may be to the credit of the youngsters. Maybe they helped bring the electricity back to a game that the best take lightly or maybe it was the new format. Whichever it is, the NBA’s next generation is as clearly defined as we’ve seen it over the last 10-12 years.
Luka Doncic, Devin Booker, Domantas Sabonis, and Jayson Tatum.
Pascal Siakam, Trae Young, Bam Adebayo, Brandon Ingram, Donovan Mitchel, and Rudy Gobert.
There were 10 first-time All-Stars this year, which equals the total amount from the last two seasons. Dually as impressive, three of them were starters in the game. Again, this just echoes that the next generation has taken over, and the end of stardom is right around the corner for others.
Lebron James played his 16th All-Star Game, Chris Paul played his 10th, Russell Westbrook played his ninth, and Kyle Lowry just played his sixth. Not to mention, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving who are both missing time due to injuries this season. Other than James, Paul, Westbrook, and Lowry, the other 22 all-stars have played in five All-Star Games or less.
While the newcomers are starting to break through and will presumably do so shortly, the elder-statesmen of the league were still the rock behind the game. The eldest, James and Paul scored 23 apiece to lift Team Lebron over Team Giannis. As for the other two aging ballers Westbrook and Lowry, they combined for 19 points. Those four outscored the 10 first-time all-stars 65-60.
As for the final third of the rosters, the second of three sub-generations currently playing in the league, they held the most weight in the game, which is common. You should expect to see guys like Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Kemba Walker, and Joel Embiid dominate the ASG because they’re the current superstars in the NBA.
This game was impressive for many reasons. There was a brand new format that wasn’t received well but ended up working better than expected. Jennifer Hudson beautifully headlined a night full of Kobe and Gianna Bryant tributes. A new era of basketball is on the horizon and the names didn’t include Zion Williamson or Ja Morant.