Brooklyn Nets All-Star D’Angelo Russell to Team Giannis

Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Brooklyn Nets D'Angelo Russell (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

In Thursday’s NBA All-Star Draft, Brooklyn Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell — a 1st-time All-Star — was chosen 9th of the 14 reserves to Team Giannis.

D’Angelo Russell of the Brooklyn Nets will be one of the four point guards chosen Thursday by All-Star Game team captain Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Captains Antetokounmpo and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers made their picks Thursday morning, with the selections aired Thursday night on TNT’s Inside the NBA.

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In choosing the starters, James went first and selected Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant.

The first reserve off the board went to Team Giannis when he selected his Milwaukee teammate, Khris Middleton.

Russell was chosen ninth of the 14 reserves taken and will join fellow point guards Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Kemba Walker of the host Charlotte Hornets and Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors on Antetokounmpo’s squad, which will be coached by Mike Budenholzer of the Bucks.

Michael Malone of the Denver Nuggets will coach Team LeBron.

The starters for Team LeBron, in addition to James and Durant, will be Kawhi Leonard of Toronto in the frontcourt with guards Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics and James Harden of the Houston Rockets.

Team Giannis will start with Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers and Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder up front, with Curry and Walker at the guard spots.

Russell, named to the All-Star Game for the first time as an injury replacement for Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers, is putting up career-high numbers at 19.8 points and 6.5 assists per game this season, shooting career-bests of 43.7 percent overall and 38 percent from 3-point range.

Antetokounmpo’s other reserve selections were Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, Ben Simmons of the 76ers, Blake Griffin of the Dteroit Pistons and Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic.

Antetokounmpo dubbed his club “Team Length.”

James went with Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans — complete with some funny ha-ha jokes about tampering — and then took Klay Thompson of the Warriors, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, Russell Westbrook of the Thunder, LaMarcus Aldridge of the San Antonio Spurs, Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards.

Beal, who told reporters. via NBC Sports Washington, he thought the All-Star Draft being televised was “dumb.”

"“[Media and fans] are just going to make a big deal out of who’s last. I think they will get a kick out of who’s last. It doesn’t matter.”"

Beal said he didn’t care about being taken last.

"“Who gives a damn? We’re all All-Stars. It doesn’t matter.”"

Beal was … taken last, but said he had no plans to watch the draft. So maybe he won’t find out he was the last pick.

Russell’s reaction to his first selection in the NBA’s midseason classic was “awe.”

The final two picks of the draft were the special selections made by Silver to honor retiring stars Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks.

Surprising no one, James — who had the first pick of the two — took Wade … after joking that everyone knew who he was taking and then saying, “Dirk!”

Antetokounmpo was pleased with Nowitzki, quipping his team would now “be able to spread the floor.”

Much will likely be made of James selecting Davis along with free-agent-to-be Durant and likely free agents Irving and Leonard.

Team Giannis, meanwhile, leans heavily toward the international side. Every international selection for this year’s All-Star Game is on Antetokounmpo’s club. Besides the captain, that group includes Embiid, Jokic, Simmons, Vucevic and Nowitzki.

The All-Star Game will be played in Charlotte on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. Eastern, to be aired on TNT. All-Star Weekend festivities will begin on Feb. 15 with the Rising Stars Challenge — featuring Jarrett Allen and Rodions Kurucs of the Nets — at 9 p.m. Eastern on TNT.

All-Star Saturday Night will be Feb. 16, with Brooklyn’s Joe Harris competing in the Three-Point Contest. Other events on Feb. 16 will include the Slam Dunk Contest and the Skills Challenge.

Spencer Dinwiddie of the Nets won the Skills Challenge last season, but cannot defend his title due to his injured thumb. The action on Feb. 16 begins at 8 p.m. Eastern, also on TNT.

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Brooklyn’s four representatives for All-Star Weekend are an NBA-high.