Ben Golliver and Michael Pina pick sides for Sunday's NBA All-Star Game. Ben serves as Kevin Durant and Michael serves as LeBron James, and they go through selecting their starting lineups and All-Star reserves. Should LeBron and KD draft the best overall players or the most entertaining players? Does it make sense to load up a team with two-way talent or creative ball-handlers? Is there enough room for Kyrie Irving, Luka Dončić, James Harden and Damian Lillard on the same roster? How much should age factor into this year's picks given the elder statesmen in the mix? How many snubs would have been picked over Julius Randle and Zach LaVine in this draft? And who will be the dreaded last player selected? When it's all over, the Open Floor Globe must decide the winner: Michael's Spirit of St. Louis or Ben's Coney Island Hot Dogs?
Ben Golliver: All right, with the first pick in the Open Floor 2021 NBA All-Star draft, you are on the clock. And remember, we're going to be picking from the starters group first and then we are going to be going to the reserves. And just to further complicate things—so Kevin Durant's making the picks, but there's actually going to have to be a new standard captain because he's not playing. I will name my captain shortly when it's my turn to pick, Michael. And then from there, we also have an injury replacement. Anthony Davis is not selectable because he's sidelined. So Devin Booker is into the mix on that one and same deal. Tatum has been elevated to the starter to fill KD's spot. And we also have Domantas Sabonis hopping on the bench, apparently because everybody else who was more worthy than him just decided they didn't want to go. That's my personal opinion; I don't know how he got nominated as a replacement over guys like Khris Middleton and Bam Adebayo, but we're going to let the NBA league office sort that out themselves. All right, Michael, without further ado, the No. 1 pick is ...
Michael Pina: You're going to love this. My No. 1 pick is Mr. Kawhi Leonard.
Golliver: Oh, my God. You picked the most boring player in the entire All-Star Game. You're going to have him as your No. 1 pick, Michael?
Pina: Kawhi is great. I refuse to bend to the accusation that he's a boring player. I disagree strongly. I love watching him play basketball. I love watching him defend. The fear that he puts in whoever he's guarding is real, it's tangible, it's palpable, you can see it through your TV screen. And drafting from the perspective of LeBron, which is how my mentality was through a lot of this selection process. If I'm LeBron, I'm picking Kawhi because he's the only guy out here who can guard me. So if we're in crunch time, I'm not worried about anybody else on the other team. And now that I have a guy on my side, I don't need to worry or concern myself with Kawhi's huge hands in my personal space as I'm trying to conduct a late comeback or preserve a late lead. So Kawhi is just an easy choice for me. And I know you love it.
Golliver: It's a great point, both those guys are going to need someone to talk to when they're icing their knees midway through the second quarter. So I'm glad that he's going to have an ice partner there, that's fantastic.
So we actually got this email from Juan. He writes, "I'm writing to you, especially because I think we need to use one of our Open Floor Globe mantras and talk to Ben, who likes to call himself Captain Accountability. I'm listening to this bonus episode with Haley O'Shaughnessy. And that was a great show, by the way. And I'm hearing Ben talk about how Michael had his heart broken by Kyrie and James Harden ever since Kyrie abandon his beloved Celtics. And Harden did the same when he left Houston. And at that moment I connected the dots and realize that Ben feels the exact same way about Kawhi Leonard. I can't forget when Kawhi killed the Sixers on the Raptors' title run and everyone was excited by those extra bounces Kawhi's shot took. And all Ben had to say is that Michael Jordan never needed more than one bounce. Also, I've lost count of how many times Michael has argued with Ben about Kawhi, and all Ben does is play Kawhi down. Ben, I think you need to move on and accept that Kawhi was not happy in San Antonio." Look, this is great sleuthing and detective work by Juan.
Absolutely, he's got a very fair point. I appreciate him holding me to that standard. All I'm going to say is, I think that there are some flaws in Kawhi game that don't get talked about because Kawhi never gets talked about. I'm always going to default to that as my defense. I'm curious, when you were watching that Milwaukee versus L.A. Clippers game, Michael, and I've been kind of telling you some of these issues that the Clippers have in crunch time. Kawhi gets this reputation as this big-time clutch shot maker everybody brings up the 'four bouncer' and again, I'm not even sure Michael needed one bounce, I think it's usually pretty much just swish. You know, all of his important shots that I remember were just real clean going through. But he gets that reputation. And, this year his clutch numbers are not good. I do think that he doesn't get himself going downhill nearly enough during late game situations. Same thing for Paul George. Pat Beverley isn't necessarily that guy. And so they're in a situation down three against Milwaukee where they need to get a good shot. This is one of the very best three-point shooting teams ever in the history of the NBA. And all they can get is Kawhi Leonard off the dribble from like two or three steps behind the three-point line over Pat Connaughton, who is not exactly a Kawhi stopper. And it just kind of feeds into my general feeling that like late in games, I don't trust Kawhi nearly as much as people like to hype him up in those situations. And I don't really trust the Clippers still, because it does feel like they get into this mode of deferring to the superstar level guys instead of getting people moving, getting good shots and sort of knowing what they want to do. It just grinds down. We saw that problem in last year's playoffs. I think it's going to be a continued problem for them.