• Matthew Handel

All-Star Weekend Predictions

It’s one of the most exciting times of the NBA season, besides the Finals, and it’s finally here this weekend. New Orleans will play host to the 2017 All-Star Weekend and the events will kick off on Friday starting with the Celebrity All-Star Game. Composed of the West and East team, coached by Michael Smith and Jemele Hill respectively, each team has some interesting “players”. The West is headlined by owner of the Mavericks, Mark Cuban, former NBA point guard, Baron Davis, and WNBA superstar, Candace Parker. The East has some talent as well with a couple former NBA players in Oscar Schmidt and Jason Williams and also Nick Cannon who is a recording artist. I have to give the advantage and the win to the West and the MVP will be Candace Parker, nobody is guarding her down low man.

The next event on the list for Friday is the Rising Star Challenge. Two teams composed of players in their first or second year, one from the United States and the other from around the world, will go head to head. The United States team is stacked with future stars like Karl Anthony-Towns and Myles Turner and also has young guys like Devin Booker and Malcolm Brogdon who are already making a big impact in the the league. The World team, who won the game last year, is headlined by Porzingod, Kristaps Porzingis, and Nikola Jokic and has up and coming beasts like Dario Saric and Jamal Murray. I think the player of the game will be Devin Booker and the United States will avenge their lost last year, beating the World team by 5.

Then, on Saturday, the first event of a three event series is the Skills Challenge. Devin Booker, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Gordon Hayward, Nikola Jokic (injury replacement for Joel Embiid), Kristaps Porzingis, Isaiah Thomas, and John Wall will battle it out to see who has the most skills in the NBA. I like John Wall to take home this contest, but watch out for Hayward as a dark horse in this event.

The second event on Saturday is the Three-Point Contest. Eric Gordon, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, Wes Matthews, CJ McCollum, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, and Nick Young will bomb threes to see who the best long range shooter in the NBA is, well for this one day at least. My pick to win the contest is Klay Thompson, with Kyrie Irving as a close second.

The grand finale for the night is the Slam Dunk contest. Last year’s contest was so amazing, coming down to the battle between Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon. LaVine eventually came out on top, but Gordon is back to avenge his loss. LaVine won’t be participating this year, but the rest of the field is no slouch. Going up against Gordon will be DeAndre Jordan, Glenn Robinson III, and Derrick Jones Jr. Last year’s contest was one for the ages, but if Jones Jr.’s most recent pre-game dunk was any sign of what is in store, then we are in for a treat. Aaron Gordon is going to make up for that loss last year and take home this year’s contest.

The final event of the All-Star weekend is the one that everyone will be waiting for. The 66th NBA All-Star Game where absolutely no defense will be played and the score will almost reach 400 total points. The starters for the Eastern Conference are LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and DeMar Derozan. The Western Conference starters are Steph Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and New Orleans superstar Anthony Davis. The benches for both sides are also stacked; John Wall, Paul George and Isaiah Thomas headline the East, while Russell Westbrook, DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson represent the West. It’s going to be one of the best games in recent years and the West is going to come out on top. KD, Steph, Russell, and Harden are just too much to handle. The only question I have is how are Russell and KD going to survive for an entire weekend and have to play on the same team again? Maybe, it’s best served with a dozen cupcakes. There is no doubt the 2017 All-Star weekend is going to be a fun one.

#NBA #MatthewHandel #ASG #ASG2017