By: Kento Kato
The NBA All-Star Weekend started last night with the celebrity all-star game and the Rising Stars Challenge in which team USA won. The festivities continue tonight and we make our prediction of who we think is going to win.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge: This is a hard event to pick because a lot of times, players sort of coast through the first round and it really depends on the effort level of the participants. The key will be the combination of shooting, speed, and passing. There are players who possess the ability to make on-point passes, players who are fast, and players who can make the jump shot. But it will come down to the player who can do all of those things. Isaiah Thomas should win this with his competitive nature, speed, and shooting. Regardless of who wins, it will be interesting to see an even that has made headlines this year with its inclusion of not one, not two, not three, but four big men. Keep an eye on how they, especially the assists leader of the Golden State Warriors, Draymond Green, fair against the guards in the compeition.
Foot Locker Three-Point Contest: Steph Curry will be the popular pick. He is on a tear and is regarded as the best shooter in the game. With seemingly everything going well for the Warriors and Steph, it would be easy to pick the defending champion or the other half of the splash brother, Klay Thompson. But looking back in history, it hasn’t always been the best shooters to take home the trophy. Take a look back at the history of the contest and you will see that underdogs like Quentin Richardson, Voshon Leonard, Kevin Love, and Marco Belinelli have won before. All it takes is for one of these shooters to catch fire and they could be the won. While J.J. Redick may not be considered an underdog, he is being overlooked by many. But I expect second best 3pt shooter in the league in terms of percentage, J.J. Redick to win it this year. I will say that besides the aforementioned shooters, Devin Booker is someone to keep an eye on as the rookie guard from Kentucky shot very during the Rising Stars Challenge last night.
Verizon Slam Dunk: This one is easy. Zach LaVine. Seemingly everyone is picking last year’s champion, and for a good reason. After several years of the contest being underwhelming, LaVine brought the hype and excitement back in to event last year with some of the more memorable dunks in the last decade. Not only were the degree of the dunks impress, it was the manner in which he did it that caught the eyes of many. The way he seemingly glides and made these dunks look easy put him and the competition back on the map. What is even more incredible is the fact that he has been on record saying that he did not even bring out his hardest dunks for last year’s competition. So in reality, we do not even know what LaVine is really capable of. Even if one of the other participants are able to challenge him, and we really hope they can, he can pull out his hardest dunks, and we hope he does. For proof of how much of a favorite he is, even Andre Drummond, one of the participants that will be facing LaVine, picked the Timberwolves guard to win it.