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LeBron Or Giannis, Who Would Donovan Mitchell Prefer To Play With?

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 17: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and Team Giannis fights to keep the ball against LeBron James #23 of the LA Lakers and Team LeBron in the third quarter during the NBA All-Star game as part of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend at Spectrum Center on February 17, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Donovan Mitchell was selected for his first All-Star game last week, but unlike in decades past, he doesn’t yet know who he’ll be playing with. Rather than separating the two teams between the Eastern and Western Conference, two years ago the NBA decided to name the top vote-getter from each conference as a captain tasked with filling out the 12 man roster in a draft style format. 

This year, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks were named captains from each conference and Thursday night and will build their teams from the 22 remaining stars in the draft pool. 

Before hosting the Denver Nuggets, Mitchell was asked which superstar captain he’d prefer to play with. He answered with a curveball. 

“I’d rather just play with Rudy [Gobert], does that make sense?” Mitchell said of the opportunity to suit up with Gobert, his Jazz teammate also making his All-Star debut. 

“I don’t mean to sound corny when I say it, but seriously I think that would be cool for us to enjoy the moment together. But then if we do play against each other, I can kind of get back at him for France against USA.”

Gobert’s French National team took down the Mitchell’s Team USA in the Fifa Basketball World Cup last summer 89-79. Gobert scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, while Mitchell contributed a game-high 29 points and snared six rebounds.

The All-Star draft will be held Thursday night at 5 PM MST and televised on TNT. The first round of the draft will be made up of the other eight starters selected by fan and league voters. The second round will consist of the 14 reserves chosen by the NBA’s coaches. 

Team James will have the first pick in the draft. 

Mitchell has been so focused on the regular season, he was unaware when the All-Star draft was taking place. 

“I didn’t even know that was tomorrow,” Mitchell said of the draft, “I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but I really forget because I’m just really worried about what’s coming up.”

Despite knowing he doesn’t control his All-Star destiny, Mitchell did ultimately lean one direction for his preferred roster destination, if only slightly.

“I grew up a LeBron fan so it would be pretty special,” Mitchell said of his opportunity to play with his childhood favorite, “But there’s no one like Giannis in the league so I wouldn’t mind playing for either team.”

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