SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The “last pick” of Sunday night’s All-Star Draft will be a starter.
The NBA has changed the format of Sunday’s draft, and LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo — the captains — will make their picks from the pool of reserve players first.
They’ll then choose their starting lineups, from the pool of eight other starters. The switch will ensure that no player will have to deal with the stigma of being picked last, even though that hasn’t been too much of an issue in the past.
This is the sixth year of the format where captains — determined by fan voting — choose their own All-Star rosters, but the first year in which those captains will do so on game night and basically right in front of the other All-Stars.
The 2018 draft was not shown publicly. The 2019 draft had Bradley Beal as the last pick among reserves, not including Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki — who were added to the game by Commissioner Adam Silver to commemorate their final seasons. (Nowitzki wound up being the last pick.)
In 2020, Domantas Sabonis, then of Indiana, was the last pick. In 2021, Rudy Gobert, then of Utah, was the last reserve left on the board. And last year, the final pick was James Harden — after Kevin Durant took Gobert, and didn’t choose his former Brooklyn teammate in a comical scene.