Anthony Davis, the designated host of the 2017 All-Star weekend, will be front and center in today's big game. From his announcement one month ago on TNT shortly after being named a starter to recent comments by Steve Kerr, everything points to Davis winning the contest’s Most Valuable Player trophy.
However, things rarely go to plan, even in exhibition type of competitions. For instance, few guessed correctly that Jamal Murray, a Rising Stars Challenge reserve for the World team, would win that game’s MVP award, Kristaps Porziningis would walk away the victor of the Skills Challenge and Glenn Robinson III would beat out Aaron Gordon in the Slam Dunk Competition.
So, will Davis win this weekend’s most prominent award, or if not, who will leave New Orleans with the trophy? (Be sure to list your box score line prediction for Davis, too!)
Jason: Russell Westbrook
Anthony Davis is going to represent the Pelicans well, posting a similar observed regular season line of around 26 points, 14 rebounds and 6 assists. However, I do not believe he wins the MVP because that honor will go to Westbrook who will be looking to show out in front of Kevin Durant and his new teammates.
On a more important note, I hope Davis does a solid job recruiting some fellow All-Stars to come and join him in the Big Easy soon!
Kevin: Anthony Davis
If the West wins — which I think they will — Anthony Davis will likely be named the MVP. He'll be playing starters minutes; he'll be the guy catching most of the lobs; and his teammates will give him a little extra as a nod to his hometown and hospitality. Also, he and Kahwi Leonard are likely the only two players to really be determined to play on both ends of the floor. I'm expecting AD to put up around 35 points, grab 10 boards, block 4 shots, hit a three and to convert a bunch of lobs into a lot of crowd oohs and ahhs.
Chris: Anthony Davis
I believe AD will have a fantastic game but admit his MVP chances hinge on whether or not he will be selfish enough with the ball to get the necessary stats. The important thing for him is that he will have the tiebreaker over the rest of the field since he is playing in his "hometown" of NOLA. Also, keep in mind there isn't a player making a final appearance in an All-Star game and thereby earning a farewell legacy award of some sort.
AD will finish with a line of 32 pts, 9 boards, 5 assists and 2 three-pointers.
Jamile: Anthony Davis
Davis was pretty upset about not making All-NBA team last season, mainly because it cost him about $25 million dollars but also because previous to last season, people had been talking about him as possibly the 2nd or 3rd best player in the league. Now people seriously continue to debate whether he's better than Karl-Anthony Towns, who he routinely destroys at every opportunity. Davis knows he likely won't get the chance to show his stuff in the playoffs so this is his big opportunity. I think he seizes it and takes home his very first All-Star MVP with a line of 32 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks and 3 steals in 28 minutes.
Zach: Russell Westbrook
Davis won't win the MVP because Westbrook will go full-on crazy and keep the ball all to himself Sunday night. I'm feeling a 24 and 10 for Davis, but I don't care about how many points he scores because I just want to make sure he survives sharing a locker room with resident crazy man Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Maybe Russ should get one locker room to himself and the rest of the West shares with the East?
Oleh: Giannis Antetokounmpo
While I feel his teammates will seek to help him throughout the contest, Anthony Davis will not the MVP award despite a line of 31 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks. The reason being is simple: the East team has their own agenda, and when they prove the victor, the award will be handed to one of them, likely a big minute tallier. Considering Giannis has been the rage all season and the coaching staff will monitor the minutes of the four veterans in the starting lineup — LeBron James, DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving — the Greek Freak will wind up stealing the spotlight and the accompanying hardware.
Fernando: Russell Westbrook
Due to all the limelight, Davis will have a problem sinking jumpshots, therefore, I’m thinking he finishes with a less sparkly line than most, say something in the neighborhood of 20/12/3. This will undoubtedly open the door just enough for Westbrook who will crash right through it to seize the MVP award.
Think back to a few days ago: I’m a damn party pooper. But like Buddy, I hope the Brow puts on a show for the folks in his hometown on the national stage. He is not quite getting the attention he deserves for being the most offensively skilled big man since David Robinson. The fact that the game is in New Orleans does set the stage for a storybook MVP “comeout” of a player who should be atop everyone’s radar, but just is not garnering his full spectrum of attention due to the Pels’ overall struggles in what has been a tough season.
Enjoy the festivities and I’ll see you when REAL basketball play resumes. For what it is worth, this blogger does not enjoy exhibition season, either, but the digression is that defense matters and the sheer lack of it in All-Star games makes it a star-studded event oddly uninteresting.
Travis: James Harden
Without Chris Paul on the roster, I don't think there'll be a point guard shooting for 20 assists, and therefore, I think the Brows’ numbers won't be as gaudy as they possibly could be. Westbrook and James Harden will want to get theirs, plus all the other stars littered throughout both rosters. I'll take Harden as the ASG MVP this year, something he might follow up with a regular season MVP award, too. AD will finish with 26 points (on 14 shots), 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.