BREAKING NEWS : Allen County board appoints new health commissioner Full Story

NBA Minute: Who is Kevin Durant?

CNN catches up with Kevin Durant to discuss life after a NBA championship.

Posted: Feb 24, 2018 10:04 AM
Updated: Feb 24, 2018 10:22 AM

Forget everything you once knew about the NBA All-Star Game and how it works.

If ever you've seen it before, this Sunday's game is not going to be what you remember. Gone are the days of Eastern Conference stars facing off against their Western Conference foes.

The time when conference rivals like Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, and Larry Bird teamed up against the likes of Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, and Hakeem Olajuwon some 30 years ago are gone.

Instead, the 2018 All-Star Game, which takes place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, has implemented a draft to choose its teams.

A lot of us remember what it's like to line up and wait as two team captains choose among us to determine who will join them in competition for a pickup game in the school gym, backyard or public park.

This year, the NBA All-Stars got comfortable with that process.

The Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry, the fans' top two vote-getters, played the role of team captains, selecting from their respective peers, regardless of conference, to build competing rosters.

On paper, the game looks like yet another lopsided contest, the very thing the league hoped a draft would help avoid. Team LeBron had the "sizable" advantage, touting versatile big men like Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love, with two-way guards like Russell Westbrook, Victor Oladipo and John Wall.

The team appeared to have plenty of height while maintaining a balance of offense and defense.

'The curse'

Then, "the curse" began. Or, to borrow a phrase from the late radio legend Casey Kasem, "the hits just keep on coming."

First, New Orleans Pelicans big man Cousins went down with a ruptured left Achilles in the waning seconds of a victory over the Houston Rockets.

Two days later, James' Cleveland teammate Love suffered a nondisplaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal in his left hand.

Two days after Love went down, news broke that Washington Wizards point guard Wall was having arthroscopic surgery to remove debris in his left knee that had been causing him pain.

Then, only 12 days before the All-Star Game, New York Knicks' budding star center Porzingis tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while dunking on fellow All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo during a game at Madison Square Garden.

Finally, San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge will sit out of the All-Star Game to get treatment on his left knee during the break.

Talented replacements and extra incentive

The slew of injuries to Team LeBron might have you think that all favor had swung to Team Stephen. One might think the game could just be another uncompetitive rout.

But here's the rub: James' replacement players -- Paul George, Andre Drummond, Goran Dragic and Kemba Walker -- are all quite talented, and the NBA has sweetened the pot. To further encourage competitive play, winning players will receive $100,000, whereas players on the losing team will only get $25,000.

On Team Curry, expect a heavy dose of three-point shooting, as Steph drafted five of the top 10 shooters (including himself) based on three-point field goals per game. Curry leads the league at 4.2, but is followed closely by Houston Rockets guard James Harden (4.1), Warriors teammate Klay Thompson (3.2), Portland Blazers guard Damian Lillard (3.0), and Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who rounds out the bunch tied for eighth in the league with 2.9 threes per game.

Expect an entertaining show from Team Curry's first-time All-Star Joel Embiid, of the Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid has become a fan favorite for both his on-court play and hilarious trash talk, which frequently plays out on social media.

The game also has plenty of subplots worthy of attention, a few of which revolve around James, aka "The King."

Perhaps despite the fact that former Cleveland-teammate-turned-Boston-Celtics-superstar Kyrie Irving requested to be traded away from James and the Cavaliers, James selected him to be the starting point guard on his team for Sunday's game.

Similarly, thanks to James' picks, this will be the second straight year to see estranged former teammates Durant and Westbrook wearing the same All-Star uniform.

Preview of future teammates?

Another intriguing subplot in the Team LeBron roster: Paul George.

The Oklahoma City Thunder forward, who was selected to replace Cousins in the All-Star Game, has long been rumored to be a free agent target for the Los Angeles Lakers alongside none other than James.

Lakers' general manager Rob Pelinka struck a trade to acquire Isaiah Thomas from the Cavaliers, a move that will free up enough salary for Lakers President Magic Johnson to try to persuade both George and James to bring their talents to the West Coast this summer.

So, Sunday night's All-Star contest could be a preview of two future teammates.

Conversely, George will be teammates with the man he replaced (via trade) on the Thunder roster: Victor Oladipo.

And while the actual All-Star draft was not televised, nor was the draft order released to the public, it's not hard to presume that James used the first overall pick to select Durant, widely regarded as his successor as the best basketball player in the world.

Durant, of course, is Curry's teammate on the defending champion Golden State Warriors, who defeated James' Cavaliers four games to one in the 2017 NBA Finals -- wherein Durant was named Finals' MVP.

That proved to be a complete role-reversal from the previous time the top two players in the sport faced off in the championship round. James' 2012 Miami Heat bested Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder four games to one, and James received the first of his three Finals MVP awards.

Now, for the first time, the world will get to see what it would look like to have the two irrefutably best basketball players of the modern era playing alongside one another.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32437

Reported Deaths: 2030
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9371546
Lake3347170
Cass15867
Allen135366
St. Joseph121834
Hendricks113567
Hamilton112391
Johnson1092104
Elkhart107028
Madison58259
Porter49521
Bartholomew48634
Clark47141
LaPorte41523
Tippecanoe3803
Howard37620
Jackson3681
Delaware35936
Hancock32327
Shelby32121
Floyd31539
Boone29335
Morgan27024
Vanderburgh2532
Montgomery23317
White2288
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19521
Noble19221
Harrison18821
Dubois1852
Henry1709
Greene16824
Warrick16528
Dearborn16421
Monroe16211
Vigo1507
Lawrence14623
Miami1391
Putnam1347
Jennings1284
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1136
Franklin1068
Kosciusko971
Carroll932
Daviess8416
Marshall801
Steuben802
Wayne755
Newton7410
Wabash732
Fayette714
Jasper621
LaGrange622
Washington521
Fulton471
Jay460
Randolph453
Rush452
Jefferson421
Whitley412
Clay411
Pulaski400
Owen341
Sullivan331
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke313
Perry260
Wells260
Huntington262
Knox250
Benton250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford202
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke180
Spencer171
Posey160
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0159

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 33439

Reported Deaths: 2044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5486243
Cuyahoga4137224
Marion262823
Hamilton2523131
Lucas2162233
Pickaway204635
Mahoning1367173
Summit1315160
Butler82626
Stark70091
Columbiana68250
Lorain65959
Montgomery61716
Trumbull54447
Belmont40312
Miami35130
Warren34419
Tuscarawas3264
Ashtabula31633
Portage31357
Medina31020
Delaware30213
Lake28712
Wood28045
Geauga26129
Wayne25650
Fairfield2484
Clark2316
Licking21811
Mercer2014
Allen20132
Clermont1975
Richland1893
Erie1635
Darke15619
Madison1447
Washington11819
Crawford1103
Morrow1041
Greene985
Ottawa9412
Putnam8714
Monroe7412
Sandusky7011
Hocking694
Ross672
Jefferson652
Auglaize643
Huron551
Williams521
Hancock481
Muskingum460
Union460
Clinton430
Hardin410
Shelby402
Wyandot372
Fayette370
Logan370
Fulton360
Coshocton340
Defiance332
Guernsey330
Preble311
Holmes291
Carroll293
Lawrence280
Champaign271
Brown251
Knox231
Highland191
Seneca192
Vinton191
Ashland190
Perry181
Athens181
Henry150
Scioto150
Paulding130
Jackson120
Harrison100
Adams81
Gallia71
Van Wert60
Pike60
Meigs60
Noble50
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 79°
Angola
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 73°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 79°
Van Wert
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 79°
Scattered Showers & Storms Friday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events