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Breaking down the starters for the Eastern Conference in the NBA All-Star Game

Giannis named captain for East in 2020 All-Star Game. We also provide predictions for the rest of the East roster.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo reacts after scoring a basket in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls at Fiserv Forum. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA announced the starters for the 2020 All-Star game out of the Eastern Conference, headlined by none other than Giannis Antetokounmpo as captain:

Trae Young, Kemba Walker, Pascal Siakam and Joel Embiid round out the starting five from the East. It should be known that the ASG format is a Captain’s draft, so these won’t necessarily be the teams we see in February. It’s the second straight season Giannis has been named captain for the East.

The biggest snub is Jimmy Butler, who is putting together a solid season for the Heat. We could see Butler get in as a replacement if Embiid (finger) opts to not play in the game. Kyrie Irving also didn’t make it in as a starter, which is somewhat of a surprise. The six-time All-Star won’t be starting, but will most likely make it in as a reserve.

Earlier, DK Nation contributor Garion Thorne had predicted Siakam wouldn’t make it in as a starter, so he’ll be a bit surprised by the news. Here’s what Thorne had to say:

“The Cameroonian’s efficiency numbers have taken a hit so far in his fourth season, yet that’s not totally shocking with his career-high 29.0% usage rate. No, the difference simply comes down to availability and playmaking. Butler logged almost 200 more minutes than Siakam entering play on Thursday and he’s done so with a career-best 28.8% assist rate. Butler’s the force behind Miami’s early success and he needs to be rewarded.”

Predictions for the Eastern Conference All-Star reserves

East Reserves

Forward: Bam Adebayo
Forward: Domantas Sabonis
Forward: Jimmy Butler
Guard: Ben Simmons
Guard: Jaylen Brown
UTIL: Kyle Lowry
UTIL: Khris Middleton

Without getting too much into the case for Young, who I feel has overwhelming enough stats despite the horrendous defense and the losses, the three hardest calls had to be Brown, Lowry and Middleton with the likes of Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum and Malcolm Brogdon also very viable candidates. When it comes to Boston’s second All-Star, there so little that separates Brown and Tatum. Both are above average defensive players, both have usage rates around 25% and both are generally relied on for the third scoring touch. However, that’s where Brown (and Middleton) really distinguish themselves from Tatum, as the California product owns a .597 true shooting percentage so far this season. As for Lowry versus Brogdon, both have kept their respective teams above water during hellacious stretches of injury and each has missed more than a few contests of their own due to ailments. Still, Lowry’s played over 200 minutes more and has the higher effective field goal rate. If you want to take a five-time All-Star’s place, you’ve got to force him out. I don’t think Brogdon’s done that.