Setting the stage
The 2023 NBA All-Star rosters were finalized Thursday night as seven members of the reserves from each conference joined the five previously unveiled starters.
will pick their rosters just a few minutes before tip-off
The NBA has been experimenting with different rules for the game over the past few years and has made another change this year, giving the game a more schoolyard feel. The change is that the team captains, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, will pick their rosters just a few minutes before tip-off.
Sports bettors can find odds on any of the skills contests leading up to the game, as well as the All-Star game itself. Here, we will take you through what that process looks like.
How to bet on the NBA All-Star Game
All major sportsbooks will offer betting lines for the NBA All-Star Game once the rosters have been picked, but because that process is not until the day of the game, it will be hard to find betting odds in the days and weeks leading up to it.
Betting lines will include the standard spreads, moneylines, totals, player props, and more.
The team captains will start by picking from a pool of eight players made up of four starters from both the Eastern and Western Conferences. Those players are:
- Luka Doncic
- Steph Curry
- Zion Williamson
- Nikola Jokic
- Kyrie Irving
- Donovan Mitchell
- Jayson Tatum
- Kevin Durant
Starters were determined by a combination of fan vote (50% of the vote), media (25%), and current players (25%). Two backcourt and three frontcourt players comprise each starting lineup.
Once the captains have finished taking turns picking their teammates in the starting lineup, they will move on to the reserves. Seven players (two backcourt, three frontcourt, and two wild cards) from each conference were selected by the league’s 30 coaches. The reserve players are:
- Ja Morant
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- Damian Lillard
- Paul George
- Domantas Sabonis
- Jaren Jackson Jr.
- Lauri Markkanen
- Jaylen Brown
- Tyrese Haliburton
- Julius Randle
- DeMar DeRozan
- Bam Adebayo
- Joel Embiid
- Jrue Holiday
How the game works
The All-Star Game has a different rule set than a standard NBA game. Rather than playing four 12-minute quarters, they play three quarters of the same length but then finish with an “Elam Ending” in a fourth and final period. In an Elam Ending, the winning team must hit a target score for the game to end, regardless of how long it takes.
24 was chosen in honor of the late Kobe Bryant, who wore #24 during his career.
This change came into effect in 2020. The league decided to make the target score 24 points more than the number of points the leading team had at the end of the third quarter. 24 was chosen in honor of the late Kobe Bryant, who wore #24 during his career.
So, if Team LeBron has 130 points at the end of the third quarter and Team Giannis has 122, the first team to hit 154 points (130+24) wins.
LeBron is 6-0 as an All-Star captain and 3-0 with the Elam Ending in effect. He hit the walk-off shot in last year’s game in his former stomping ground of Cleveland, Ohio.
Records, history, and past winners
We already mentioned that LeBron is 6-0 as team captain since the NBA introduced the pick’em style selection process. Before that, teams were decided by conference, and the Eastern Conference led the Western Conference 37 to 29.
LeBron is tied for the third-most All-Star Game MVPs with three. The full list of active All-Star Game MVP winners that are participating in this year’s game:
- 3: LeBron James
- 2: Kevin Durant
- 1: Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Only one center, Shaquille O’Neal (twice), has won All-Star Game MVP since 2000. Nine of the winners during that same period were guards and 12 were forwards.
four first-time All-Stars
This year’s game features four first-time All-Stars: Haliburton, Jackson Jr., Markkanen, and Gilgeous-Alexander. On the flip side, LeBron tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record with 19 All-Star selections.
The All-Star Game is known for a severe lack of defense. Players usually throw down highlight-reel jams or launch deep three-pointers with little resistance until the final period starts.
A couple of years ago, Curry and Lillard, two of the best long-range shooters in the game, put on a show for everyone in attendance.
Curry also set the record for most three-pointers made in an All-Star Game last year with 16. Other notable records include: most points (Anthony Davis – 52), most rebounds (Bob Petit – 27), most assists (Magic Johnson – 22), most team points (2016 Western Conference – 196), and most combined points (2017 All-Star Game – 374).
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