SALT LAKE CITY — There are more changes in store for the NBA All-Star team selection process.
Unlike in years past when the All-Star team captains drafted their rosters on a television simulcast from their respective cities weeks before the All-Star Game, this year’s draft will be conducted live on stage at Vivint Arena approximately 90 minutes to half an hour before tipoff Sunday, a league spokesman told ESPN.
The draft location and timing aren’t the only things changing, however. The order is, too.
Turner Sports host Ernie Johnson revealed on “Inside the NBA” on Thursday that team captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will first select reserves for their bench before divvying up the eight remaining starters after that. In this format, the last player selected would still start in the game, thus avoiding the schoolyard stigma associated with being picked last.
Every player present in Salt Lake City for the game will participate in the live draft, a league spokesman told ESPN.
In 2018, the league went away from its traditional Eastern Conference versus Western Conference format for the February festivities, introducing team captains — the most voted in each conference — that get to choose the players on their respective squads.
James has been named a captain all six years since the draft was introduced, with his teams going 5-0 thus far. This is Antetokounmpo’s third time being named captain. Kevin Durant has been a captain twice and Stephen Curry was a captain once, in 2018.