2019 NBA All-Star Weekend Preview
The NBA All-Star weekend begins Friday at Spectrum Center, home of Michael Jordan and two time All-Star Kemba Walker. This weekend marks the (approximate) halfway point of this exciting NBA season and should bring the drama of free agency and trade demands to a temporary halt - until LeBron James decided to select soon-to-be free agents with 5 of his first 6 picks in the All-Star Game Draft.
Mountain Dew Ice Rising Stars Game: Team World vs. Team USA
February 15 @ 9 p.m. ET | TNT
Jarrett Allen, Marvin Bagley III, Lonzo Ball (injured), John Collins, De'Aaron Fox, Jaren Jackson Jr., Kevin Knox, Kyle Kuzma, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Knoz
OG Anunoby, Deandre Ayton, Bogdan Bogdanović, Luka Dončić, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Rodions Kurucs, Lauri Markkanen, Josh Okogie, Cedi Osman, Ben Simmons
Reigning Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons teams up with this year’s number one pick Deandre Ayton and first year breakout star Luka Dončić to lead Team World in the Friday night main event. They will compete against the likes of sophomore standouts Kyle Kuzma, Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox and Jayson Tatum, all of whom are trying to prove they are legitimate stars in this league. With the last 3 Rising Stars games having scored 294 points per game, the 25th year of this challenge will be sure to entertain with plenty of scoring (we’ll see a trend of high scoring games this weekend).
Winner: Team USA
MVP: Kyle Kuzma
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
Saturday, February 16 @ 8 p.m ET (first event) | TNT
Mike Conley, Grizzlies; Luka Doncic, Mavericks; De'Aaron Fox, Kings; Nikola Jokic, Nuggets; Kyle Kuzma, Lakers; Jayson Tatum, Celtics; Nikola Vucevic, Magic; Trae Young, Hawks
Kicking off All-Star Saturday Night, this year’s Skills Challenge contains a mix of skilled big men and crafty guards, with De’Aaron Fox leading the way as the favorite. First time All-Star big men Nikola Jokic and Nikola Vucevic will try to showcase their skills and prove they are among the most versatile offensive players in the league.
Winner: Trae Young
Saturday, February 16 @ 8 p.m. ET (second event) | TNT
Devin Booker, Suns; Seth Curry, Trail Blazers; Stephen Curry, Warriors; Danny Green, Raptors; Joe Harris, Nets; Buddy Hield, Kings; Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers; Khris Middleton, Bucks; Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks; Kemba Walker, Hornets
Reigning champion Devin Booker will look to defend his title in the second event of All-Star Saturday Night, but not without some tough competition. Booker is joined by the best shooters in the league and will have to put up similar numbers to last year’s sharpshooting performance in order to repeat as champion. Stephen and Seth Curry will be primed to put on a shooting display in their return to hometown Charlotte, but look for someone like Joe Harris or Buddy Hield to steal the show if they get hot.
Favorite: Stephen Curry
Winner: Buddy Hield
AT&T Slam Dunk Contest
Saturday, February 16 @ 8 p.m. ET (third event) | TNT
Participants: Miles Bridges, Hornets; John Collins, Hawks; Hamidou Diallo, Thunder; Dennis Smith Jr., Knicks
This year’s Slam Dunk Contest may lack the star power of recent years, but expect to see no shortage of electrifying dunks. High fliers Miles Bridges, Dennis Smith Jr., John Collins and Hamidou Diallo will look to showcase their creativity and explosive athleticism in a contest we can only hope will be headlined by Zion Williamson in 2020.
Favorite: Dennis Smith Jr.
Winner: Dennis Smith Jr.
NBA All-Star Game
Sunday, February 17 @ 8 p.m. ET | TNT
Starters: LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard
Reserves: LaMarcus Aldridge, Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, Klay Thompson, Karl-Anthony Towns, Dwyane Wade
Head Coach: Mike Malone (DEN)
Starters: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Paul George, Kemba Walker
Reserves: Blake Griffin, Nikola Jokic, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, D’Angelo Russell, Russell Westbrook, Nikola Vucevic, Dirk Nowitzki
Head Coach: Mike Budenholzer (MIL)
Through the help of LeBron James, the first year of the All-Star Game Draft being televised produced numerous storylines heading into the weekend. LeBron used five of his first six picks on players who will be free agents this summer or, in Anthony Davis’ case, requested a trade. Coincidence or all part of his master recruiting plan? That’s for us to decide. The special addition of future Hall of Famers Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki adds sentimental value for the weekend as we will see these two all-time greats compete on the biggest stage for the final time. The All-Star Game is sure to combine new faces with old stars and will provide exciting entertainment to close off the weekend.
MVP: James Harden
Winner: Team LeBron