Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving selected as All-Star Game starters

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving take in the action against the Golden State Warriors.|Art or Photo Credit: AP

BROOKLYN -- The NBA announced Thursday that Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant and guard Kyrie Irving have been selected by fans, current NBA players and a media panel to start in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, which will take place on Sunday, March 7, at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Durant and the Lakers’ LeBron James will serve as team captains for the Team Durant vs. Team LeBron matchup and draft rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference. TNT will air the 2021 NBA All-Star Draft on Thursday, March 4, at 8 p.m. ET.

Durant has been named an All-Star for the 11th time in his career and an All-Star Game starter for the ninth time. He has been selected as an All-Star for the 11th straight season that he has played (2010-21), with the lone exception being the 2020 All-Star Game after he missed the 2019-20 season due to injury. The only active player with more All-Star Game selections than Durant is LeBron James (selected for the 17th time). A two-time All-Star Game MVP (2012 and 2019) who holds the second-highest scoring average in All-Star Game history (25.0 points per game), Durant has helped lead Brooklyn to the second-best record in the Eastern Conference (18-12) while registering averages of 29.0 points (sixth in the league and third in the East), 7.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.4 blocks in 35.8 minutes per game and shooting 52.4 percent from the field, 43.4 percent from 3-point range and 86.9 percent from the free-throw line across 19 games. Durant began the 2020-21 season by scoring 20 or more points in 17 straight games, the longest stretch of 20-point games to open a season in his career and tied for the third-longest stretch at any point in a season in Nets history. Durant averaged 30.6 points per game through his first 15 games this season, joining Wilt Chamberlain (1959-60 with the Philadelphia Warriors) as the only players to average 30.0 points per game through their first 15 games with a new team in NBA history.

Irving has been named an All-Star for the seventh time in his career and has been selected as a starter for the fifth time. The 2014 All-Star Game MVP has averaged 28.3 points (seventh in the league and fourth in the East), 4.6 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.1 steals in 35.3 minutes per game while shooting 53.4 percent from the field, 44.2 percent from 3-point range and 91.8 percent from the free-throw line (seventh in the league) across 20 games. Irving is currently on pace to become just the fourth player in NBA history to average 25.0 or more points per game on 50.0 percent shooting from the field, 40.0 percent shooting from 3-point range and 90.0 percent shooting from the free-throw line, which was previously accomplished twice by Larry Bird (1986-87 and 1987-88) and once by Stephen Curry (2015-16) and Durant (2012-13). Irving is averaging career highs in points per game, field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, offensive rating (121.6), net rating (8.2) and effective field goal percentage (61.0 percent), while tallying 25 or more points 16 times this season, including seven games of 30 or more points.

Durant and Irving are the fifth and sixth Nets to ever be selected as All-Star Game starters, joining Jason Kidd (2008), Vince Carter (2005), Kenny Anderson (1994) and Derrick Coleman (1994), and just the second pair of Nets selected to start an All-Star Game together, joining Anderson and Coleman, who were selected to start the 1994 All-Star Game in Minnesota.