The results of the 2021 All-Star Draft are in, and Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will suit up on opposite sides for the exhibition.
Leonard was taken with the sixth pick of the first round (the starters) by Team Durant. He will be starting alongside Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, and Joel Embiid. As the defending All-Star MVP, it’s possible to suggest that Leonard fell too low in the draft, but Kevin Durant was obliged to take his teammate Irving first, and Embiid has been the best player in the league this year.
George, however, was definitely on the board for too long. He was selected with the 10th pick of the second round (the reserves) by Team LeBron. It’s unclear why Durant didn’t select George, as he took THREE first-time participants instead of the six-time All-Star. There’s an argument to be made for Zion Williamson and Zach LaVine’s appeal in this type of showcase; not so much for Julius Randle.
LeBron James, who did end up taking George, at least made it clear that he was staying away from Clippers as part of his drafting strategy given the burgeoning rivalry between the Staples Center tenants.
Battle of L.A. continues :) pic.twitter.com/DuR7QxgQFO— Sabreena Merchant (@sabreenajm) March 5, 2021
There is some concern about George’s availability for the All-Star Game after he was a late scratch in Thursday’s loss to Washington. Ty Lue said he found out right before tip-off that George wasn’t going to play, but he didn’t get a chance to speak with George postgame. The broadcast categorized it as dizziness.
Hopefully, both Leonard and George are ready to go. It would be fun to see the two of them matched up against each other least once on Sunday.