-- The NBA has announced the 24 players who'll be All-Stars this season, but we still don't know which players will be playing for which team. That mystery will be solved Thursday, when the league announces the rosters after captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry make their selections in a secret draft.
Despite calls from fans, coaches and even some players for the league to televise the draft -- or at least make the pick order public after the fact -- the league hasn't budged from its stance that the All-Star draft will be conducted in private. But that doesn't mean we can't have some fun.
Using the same rules that James and Curry will follow when they draft, we've picked our teams from the pool of players to re-create what might be happening behind closed doors. For those unfamiliar with the rules of the draft, here's a quick refresher:
Since James and Curry are a bit busy with games Tuesday night, we turned to our writers to step in for them and make their draft picks. Chris Forsberg will play the role of Curry, while Kevin Arnovitz will act as James and make the first overall pick.
On to the draft!
Drafting the starters
Arnovitz: An All-Star Game MVP winner in 2012, Durant has a rightful claim as the best player on the board. And a team that can feature either LeBron or KD for 48 minutes should be indomitable. Durant said Tuesday morning about potentially playing against Curry, "I'm prepared to switch out on Steph in the pick-and-roll, force him to the rim and block his shot."
2. TEAM STEPHEN: Giannis Antetokounmpo , F, Milwaukee Bucks
Forsberg: Tasked with defending a LeBron/Durant combination, Team Curry needs Antetokounmpo's length and motivation to shine on a big stage. More importantly, Curry ensures he doesn't get dunked on by the Greek Freak two years in a row.
3. LJ: Kyrie Irving , G, Boston Celtics
Arnovitz: We're not going to let a little grudge get in the way of exhibition basketball, are we? Shotmaking is king in the All-Star game, and Irving is the game's best virtuoso finisher.
4. SC: James Harden , G, Houston Rockets
Forsberg: Curry probably doesn't desire to see Harden on the other side of the ball again this season (well, at least until the Western Conference finals). Adding six-time All-Star Harden gives Team Curry serious scoring firepower in the backcourt.
5. LJ: Joel Embiid , C, Philadelphia 76ers
Arnovitz: The NBA is hosting a game that requires no practice and is fueled by showmanship? Sounds like a job for one Joel Embiid.
6. SC: Anthony Davis , F, New Orleans Pelicans
Forsberg: Somehow the guy who scored 52 points at All-Star weekend last year, shattering the game's all-time scoring record, is still on the board.
7. LJ: DeMarcus Cousins , C, New Orleans Pelicans
Arnovitz: There's enough love in the frontcourt of Team LeBron for both Joel Embiid and Boogie Cousins, and we hope a couple of high-low specials.
8. SC: DeMar DeRozan , G, Toronto Raptors
Forsberg: Playing in New Orleans last season helped fuel Davis's scoring outburst, now Team Curry will hope a little homefield advantage can inspire Compton native and USC product DeRozan.
Drafting the reserves
9. SC: Draymond Green , F, Golden State Warriors
Forsberg: Team Stephen has to take a Warrior here and elects to beef up the defense with a primary LeBron antagonizer.
10. LJ: Klay Thompson , G, Golden State Warriors
Arnovitz: Three years ago this week, Thompson dropped 37 points in a single quarter, which is a near-perfect resume item for an All-Star Game.
11. SC: Russell Westbrook , G, Oklahoma City Thunder
Forsberg: With Durant on the other side and having been snubbed a starting spot, the reigning league MVP has no shortage of motivation to show out in the All-Star game.
12. LJ: Bradley Beal , G, Washington Wizards
Arnovitz: This is the year I fell in love with Beal's step-back jumper and various other stylings. The man is primed for an All-Star showing.
13. SC: Kristaps Porzingis , F, New York Knicks
Forsberg: Unicorn in LA! Curry and Porzingis can search Staples Center for a good spot to trade circus shots before the game.
14. LJ: Damian Lillard , G, Portland Trail Blazers
Arnovitz: For sheer stage presence and shotmaking, Lillard is as fun as any player in the league. After a two-year hiatus, he'll be rearing to go.
15. SC: Kevin Love , C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Forsberg: Team Stephen welcomes Love with open arms and no finger-pointing. They do mention how weird it is that LeBron picked Kyrie but not Love.
16. LJ: Jimmy Butler , G, Minnesota Timberwolves
Arnovitz: We pledge our faith that medical technology will improve Butler's sore knee, and have him bulldozing, hesitating and attacking at full force in Los Angeles.
17. SC: John Wall , G, Washington Wizards
Forsberg: With all the hurt feelings in the Wizards locker room, maybe it's best that Wall and Beal are on opposite sides and have an opportunity to prove who's the best guard in Washington.
18. LJ: Karl-Anthony Towns , C, Minnesota Timberwolves
Arnovitz: The multi-faceted big man loves his numbers. He's come to the right place.
19. SC: Al Horford , C, Boston Celtics
Forsberg: Horford doesn't put up gaudy scoring numbers like most in this game but Team Stephen can run its offense through him and watch him showcase his point-guard like passing skills.
20. LJ: Victor Oladipo , G, Indiana Pacers
Arnovitz: The mystery guest of the 2018 All-Star Game, Oladipo had a strong case as an Eastern Conference starter and is a nice pick up as the field thins out.
21. SC: Kyle Lowry , G, Toronto Raptors
Forsberg: Toronto would (politely) rage if word got out that both Lowry and DeRozan were default final picks among starters and reserves. Team Stephen prevents that issue by snagging a heck of a player to cap an already loaded backcourt.
22. LJ: LaMarcus Aldridge , F, San Antonio Spurs
Arnovitz: If the Spurs big man represents the bottom of the barrel in an All-Star selection process, it's fair to say that the NBA in 2018 is in a very good place.
Arnovitz: Our Team LeBron is a juggernaut propelled by a few essential features: This generation's most transcendent wing players, versatile big men who can do it all on the offensive end, and wily shot-making guards who unload without a conscience. On top of that, LeBron and Kyrie are reunited, and it feels so good.
Forsberg: With LeBron and Durant on the opposite side, Team Curry embraces its underdog status but quietly believes it has the perfect balance of talent to compete. Even beyond an embarrassment of MVP-caliber riches in a backcourt that features Curry, Harden, and Westbrook, there's elite defensive talent coming off the bench in Green, Horford, and Davis. More than anything, Team Curry has the motivation needed to excel under the new format.