The NBA revealed the starters for the Eastern and Western Conferences leading up to All-Star Weekend, and both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard will be in Indianapolis to represent the Milwaukee Bucks:
2024 East All-Star starters:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 26, 2024
Giannis Antetokounmpo (captain)
Damian Lillard pic.twitter.com/gPec2te4qP
That Giannis would be named captain was a foregone conclusion with how large of a lead he had in fan voting the past month or so. Lillard is a bigger surprise if only because the East’s guard corps is a little more crowded — Jalen Brunson was the other major contender for one of the starting spots, but fell short in the fan vote:
Jalen Brunson finished second in media voting for All-Star starters, but ultimately he didn’t get the starting spot because he was way behind in the fan voting — ironic, given the team Brunson plays for and how active its fan base is.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 26, 2024
This will be the eighth All-Star appearance for both players, Dame’s first career start, and Giannis’ eighth consecutive appearance. In spite of the challenges of finding a consistent rhythm together on the court since Lillard’s arrival last summer, each player has had great seasons statistically. Giannis’s 31.3 points and 6.2 assists a night are both career highs, and Lillard’s 25.3 points and 6.8 assists on good efficiency has given the Bucks enough punch to lift themselves to the East’s second seed.
The two will be the first pair of Bucks to start an All-Star Game since Bob Dandridge and Brian Winters suited up together in 1976.
Interestingly, because Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla coached in last year’s All-Star Game, the Eastern Conference All-Star team will be helmed by whoever coaches the second-place team. As of this moment, that man is interim head coach Joe Prunty until the hiring of Doc Rivers is made official.
Congratulations to both players on their achievement, and good luck in Indy!