NBA

NBA All Star Weekend Preview

All Star weekend is upon us with the kickoff of events coming tomorrow night. In recent years, the All Star weekend has definitely diminished in its entertainment value due to stars not wanting to participate in the dunk contest. I think there are some young, impressive athletes participating the events this year and this should rejuvenate the excitement around NBA All Star weekend.

Friday

All Star Celebrity Game (6 PM)

This game is an obvious gimmick by the NBA to try and get more demographics and people watching their games. There are a bunch of random celebrities in this one, but I think it’ll be a good game. Brandon Armstrong, last years MVP, and Win Butler, who always dominates the glass, are on Team Clippers, so they are my favorite to win this game. I don’t know how I feel about Bubba Watson suiting up and playing basketball, but it’ll definitely be interesting. Jason Williams, a.k.a. White Chocolate, is playing again this year and put on a show with flashy passes last year. For all of you that watch Stranger Things, Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas) will be playing for Team Lakers in this one. I always like when they let younger celebrities play because there’s a chance they actually have athletic bones left in their body.

Full rosters below:

Team Clippers: Anthony Anderson (actor), Brandon Armstrong (actor, social media star, famous for NBA impersonations), Miles Brown (actor), Win Butler (Arcade Fire), Common (actor, rapper), Andre De Grasse (Olympic sprinter), Stefanie Dolson (WNBA’s Chicago Sky), Jamie Foxx (most talented man on the planet), Paul Pierce (played for Celtics, Nets and Wizards, ESPN analyst), Dascha Polanco (actress), Bubba Watson (two-time Masters champion) and Jason Williams (flashiest white basketball player I have ever seen).

Team Lakers: Sterling Brim (MTV’s “Ridiculousness”), Nick Cannon (wannabe Jamie Foxx), Terence Crawford (boxer), Rachel DeMita (NBA2KTV host), Jerry Ferrara (Turtle in Entourage), Marc Lasry (Milwaukee Bucks co-owner), Tracy McGrady (played for Magic and Raptors, current ESPN analyst), Caleb McLaughlin (Netflix’s “Stranger Things”), Candace Parker (WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks), Nate Robinson (former Bulls great), Drew Scott (HGTV’s “Property Brothers”, don’t know which one he is though) and Kris Wu (I think he’s a singer).

Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars (8 PM)

First of all, they change the sponsor of this game every year, but leave the “Rising Stars” at the end of it. They should just stick to one name and one sponsor, or change the name to fit the sponsor.

This game is probably my favorite to watch every year. It pits 1st and 2nd year NBA players against each other in a showcase for what they can do. They take this game a little more seriously than the All Star Game is taken because they guys participating are younger and may not be playing in the big game. If you are a fan of college basketball this game is fun to watch because it’s all your favorite players that left college to come to the NBA and make that money.

The teams look pretty evenly matched with a slight edge to the World team based on them having Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. I think Kyle Kuzma will be the one to take this game a little too seriously and try to play hard defense and score a lot because he will be in front of his home fans.

 

WORLD TEAM

Player (Team) 
Bogdan Bogdanovic (Kings)
Dillon Brooks (Grizzlies)
Joel Embiid (76ers)
Buddy Hield (Kings)
Lauri Markkanen (Bulls)
Jamal Murray (Nuggets)
Frank Ntilikina (Knicks)
Domantas Sabonis (Pacers)
Dario Saric (76ers)
Ben Simmons (76ers)

U.S. TEAM

Player (Team) 
Lonzo Ball (Lakers)
Malcolm Brogdon (Bucks)
Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
John Collins (Hawks)
Kris Dunn (Bulls)
Brandon Ingram (Lakers)
Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
Dennis Smith, Jr. (Mavericks)
Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
Taurean Prince (Hawks)
De’Aaron Fox (Kings)

Lonzo Ball and Malcolm Brogdon are on the rosters, but will not participate in the game due to injury.

Saturday

Taco Bell Skills Challenge (7 PM)

This event has transformed into Big Men vs Small Men. The Big Men took it home the past two years with Karl Anthony-Towns winning in 2016 and Kristaps Porzingis winning last year. The Skills Challenge is more than likely placed first in the night because it is the most boring to watch. These are just technical skills that can be displayed in a basketball game, I don’t need to watch professionals make clean, crisp bounce passes into a net. My early favorite for this event is Lauri Markkanen. No one wanted to listen to me when he was at Arizona last year when I said he was going to make a big impact on whatever team he played for in the NBA. He got drafted to the Bulls, so there’s only so much he can do, but he has performed well this season.

Participants:

Spencer Dinwiddie (Nets), Joel Embiid (76ers), Al Horford (Celtics), Lauri Markkanen (Bulls), Buddy Hield (Kings), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Andre Drummond (Pistons), and Lou Williams (Clippers).

JBL Three Point Contest (whenever first event finishes)

Buckets on buckets on buckets. This event is a little more fun to watch than the skills challenge. There is something about watching a shooter find his stroke and start to hit a rhythm that is mesmerizing. Eric Gordon, the defending champ, is competing this year and will look to retain his title. Early favorite is Gordon to repeat. I think this means a lot to Gordon just because he gets overshadowed by James Harden and Chris Paul in Houston.

Participants:

Eric Gordon (Rockets), Klay Thompson (Warriors), Bradley Beal (Wizards), Paul George (Thunder), Kyle Lowry (Raptors), Devin Booker (Suns), Wayne Ellington (Heat), and Tobias Harris (Clippers)

Verizon Slam Dunk (whenever 2nd event finishes)

The granddaddy of them all, the Verizon Slam Dunk (Contest). This event is definitely the most exciting and gif worthy. This may not seem like it’s going to be a good contest because of the lack of starpower, but the guys participating are extremely athletic and I am looking forward to seeing the dunks they put together. There is only one participant that has competed in a dunk contest before, Victor Oladipo, but Larry Nance Jr has shown he can throw down some thunderous dunks. Nance Jr’s reach and athleticism will allow him to put on a show in this one and he’s my favorite to win this year.

Participants:

Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Larry Nance Jr. (Cavaliers), Dennis Smith Jr. (Mavericks), and Donovan Mitchell(Jazz)

I know playing 2K18 shouldn’t factor into this, but Donovan Mitchell can throw down some sweet dunks on a fastbreak, so I’m looking forward to see what he comes up with for this event.

Sunday

All Star Game (7 PM)

Team LeBron vs Team Stephen. Literally everyone on Team LeBron has gotten injured since he drafted the team. This is unfortunate for the NBA because the best players will not necessarily be able to perform in front of everyone. This game isn’t taken seriously by any of the players and scoring will be abundant. I’d like to see Giannis go off in this one and dunk on LeBron a couple times. The video below probably led to Steph picking Giannis for this years game.

Full Rosters

Team LeBron: LaMarcus Aldridge, Bradley Beal, DeMarcus Cousins (injured), Anthony Davis (injured), Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Victor Oladipo, Kristaps Porzingis (injured), John Wall (injured), Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Andre Drummond, Goran Dragic, Kemba Walker

Team Stephen: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Joel Embiid, Draymond Green, James Harden, Al Horford, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, Klay Thompson, Karl-Anthony Towns

 

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