NBA All Star weekend takes place in Charlotte, North Carolina this weekend. The NBA does this the best, as the entire weekend is full of exciting, events that players enjoy participating in.
What’s fascinating about this year’s All Star game is all the talk about free agency this July and only 3 (out of 27) 2019 All Stars were signed as free agents.
Here are my predictions for each event.
- Away – Ray Allen, Bucks owner Marc Lasry, Quavo
- Home – JB Smoove, former Panthers/Ravens WR Steve Smith, ESPN’s Jay Williams
Prediction – I am going with the home team and JB Smoove, aka Leon from Curb Your Enthusiasm as the game’s MVP. I refuse to pick against a team with Steve Smith. Even if he wasn’t a basketball player, he has that competitive spirit. Jay Williams practices half court shots on ESPN’s College Gameday every week and I’d bet he hits one during this game.
Rising Stars Challenge
Winning team – USA
World has the two best players in this game, Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic, but I like Team USA’s depth more. USA roster includes John Collins, Trae Young, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma, Marvin Bagley, Jarrett Allen.
MVP – Trae Young
Despite the depth on Team USA, I like Young’s chances to go off. Hawks are never on national television, so no one has seen how good Young has been this year. As much as I personally love ripping on the Hawks for trading Doncic, Young has been very good this year, averaging 17 ppg on 40% shooting. By the way, the Hawks were dumb for trading Doncic.
Some stat-line predictions:
- Luka Doncic – 35 points, 15 assists, 12 rebounds
- Trae Young – 44 points
- John Collins – 24 rebounds
Winner – De’Aaron Fox
Like Young above, Fox is never on national television and I think he uses this platform to shine and pick up a nice win.
Slam Dunk Contest
Winner – Miles Bridges
On paper, the field is a little underwhelming. Dennis Smith Jr is likely the front runner coming in, but I am going with the hometown guy to pull off some flashy stuff and take him the trophy.
- Bridges jumps over Muggsy Bogues
- Hamidou Diallo gets a 50 on his first dunk
- Dennis Smith successfully completes a 360
- John Collins uses Trae Young as his partner on a dunk that scores a 45
Winner – Steph Curry
The NBA SHOULD make this the main event on Saturday night, but who knows if they will. The field is absolutely loaded! With 10 participants, 5 of them are All Stars, including 2 starters – Kemba Walker and Steph Curry, plus Dirk Nowitzki, Damian Lillard, and Khris Middleton.
This contest has a lot of hometown flair – my pick to win Steph Curry and his brother Seth, who is in this as well, are both from Charlotte and Kemba will represent the Hornets. I expect at least one of the Curry’s, or perhaps Kemba (or a wild card player) to come out wearing a #30 Hornets Dell Curry jersey. This would either be a way for one of the brothers to pay homage to their father or for a rival player to stir the pot.
This will be a nice showcase for young, off-the-radar guys like Buddy Hield (who is averaging 20 ppg for the Kings and the Nets’ Joe Harris. Danny Green and Devin Booker round out the field.
All Star Game
Winner – Team Giannis
Team Tamper vs Team Wingspan. I wrote extensively about Lebron and his tampering team and despite having the more talented team, I am picking Giannis.
At the end of the day, I see Lebron’s team having a little too much fun together, while guys like Giannis, Steph, Westbrook, George among others come together late in the fourth, take it seriously, and come away with the win.
Steph Curry is my MVP pick. Hometown guy who has been a bit overshadowed by the ridiculous seasons of James Harden, Paul George, and Giannis and the attention that Lebron James receives. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving’s free agency have dominated the news. I think Curry comes out firing.
Who do you think comes away victorious in the weekend’s events?