All-Star Saturday Night is one of my favorite nights of the year because, if done right, you can see some pretty spectacular stuff. Of the four major North American sports, the NBA unquestionably has the best All-Star show. Tonight’s a main reason why.
So what do you say we add a little more excitement to tonight’s show? Who ya got?
Degree Shooting Stars
- Team Bosh (Chris Bosh, Swin Cash, Dominique Wilkins) +$25
- Team Curry (Sue Bird, Stephen Curry, Dell Curry) -$250
- Team Millsap (Elena Delle Donne, Paul Millsap, Scottie Pippen) -$100
- Team Westbrook (Tamika Catchings, Penny Hardaway, Russell Westbrook) -$50
The Shooting Stars event has always been the most random of the four events. What exactly are we trying to prove again? What random team comprised of a current NBA player, a former NBA player and a WNBA player can best make shots from varying places and distances? Is that something we as consumers are curious to find out?
I didn’t know this about myself, thanks NBA. The Shooting Stars event is the breadsticks and salad of the night; it’s that random Coca-Cola movie trivia stuff you see in theatres before the trailers start. It’s there, it probably has a purpose for some, but it’s quickly forgotten once the real show starts.
If you’re looking for a winner here’s a hint: go with the team that has anyone named Curry.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
- Patrick Beverley +$225
- Trey Burke (Defending Champion) -$125
- Brandon Knight +$75
- Kyle Lowry -$150
- Elfrid Payton+$300
- Dennis Schroder+$400
- Jeff Teague -$200
- Isiah Thomas +$100/p>
Why do we have the skills challenge with skilled point guards? Where's the fun in watching natural ball handlers compete in something that emphasizes ball handling? Instead how about we keep the format except we replace the competitors with most awkward guys the NBA has to offer. Now THAT'S something people would watch. Are you telling me that if you take this format and replace the competitors with Omer Asik, Timofey Mozgov, Kendrick Perkins, and Nikola Vucevic the subsequent ratings wouldn't blow the Super Bowl's out the water?
I give the NBA this, I like the change in format to an eight-man bracket. That adds a little more competition to it. But we can do better. We can be clumsier. Don't be afraid to embrace radical change, Commissioner Silver.
What’s more random about this year’s contest: the roster itself or Trey Burke being the defending champion? I go defending champion Trey Burke because those are words you won’t hear too often. I arbitrarily have Teague as the betting favorite, but I think I’m going Lowry tonight.
Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
- Marco Belinelli +$35
- Stephen Curry -$500
- James Harden -$100
- Kyrie Irving -$325
- Kyle Korver -$500
- Wesley Matthews +$100
- J.J. Reddick +$50
- Klay Thompson -$500
The Three-Point Contest is unquestionably the best event of All-Star Saturday. It’s beautifully subtle and that goes a long ways. It doesn’t need tinkering or gimmicks. I love the Three-Point Contests simplicity: here’s a rack of balls, see how many shots you can make. Never change, Three Point Contest.
This event also has the best roster of the night. It’s hard to pick against either of the Splash Brothers or Kyle Korver. And you can never count out someone off the radar getting out of their mind hot (gut feeling that it’s Kyrie Irving) and stealing the title from one of the three favorites.
Sprite Slam Dunk Contest
- Giannis Antetokounmpo -$300
- Zach LaVine -$300
- Victor Oladipo +$250
- Mason Plumlee +$500
The Slam Dunk Contest is returning to its traditional form which is great because last year’s format was a confusing atrocity.
I am really excited about The Greek Freak going up against Zach LaVine. Tonight’s going to be between the two of them, count on it. Come on now, does anyone really expect Oladipo or Plumlee to win tonight? I’m not about to discount one of those two having a "NOBODY BELIEVES IN ME" type of nights, but this is a two horse race tonight and they ain’t a part of it.
Anyway it’s hard to pick a winner between Giannis and LaVine. The Greek Freak has those Inspector Gadget-esque arms and can probably tomahawk a dunk with the ball down by his ankles. But LaVine is a YouTube sensation. I think I’m leaning towards LaVine because I think he has a little more showmanship than Antetokounmpo. Sometimes putting on the better show tops the better dunker.