After months of anticipation, the NBA All-Star weekend is finally here where the stars come together to give basketball fans a great show.
Unlike previous seasons, all of the events such as the Three-Point Shootout, Dunk Contest, Skills Challenge, and the All-Star Game will be condensed to a single day given the abnormal circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A mix of familiar and new faces will compete to where they can prove to the world that they are the best in what they do. And here at SBOTOP, we can’t wait to get the festivities started.
Fresh legs look to dominate in Dunk Contest, youngsters get their props in the Rising Stars
Up-and-coming stars will have their share on the spotlight this weekend.
Due to the condensed schedule, unfortunately there will be no Rising Stars Challenge game. However, the best rookies and sophomores in the league are to be given recognition nonetheless.
Last year’s top rookies in Ja Morant and Zion Williamson headline the list for Team USA, and they are being accompanied by LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Tyrese Haliburton, De’Andre Hunter, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, and Michael Porter Jr.
Team World will be bannered by RJ Barrett, Deni Avdija, Precious Achiuwa, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Facundo Campazzo, Brandon Clarke, Rui Hachimura, Luguentz Dort, Theo Maledon, and Mychal Mulder.
Meanwhile, young legs are about to rock the rim in the Slam Dunk Contest as Obi Toppin, Cassius Stanley, and Anfernee Simons get a chance to showcase their hops and produce numerous NBA 2021 highlights.
Former Dunk Contest winners Dee Brown, Josh Smith, Spud Webb, Dominique Wilkins and Josh Richardson will be the five judges for the event.
Toppin looks to be the heavy favourite according to the NBA 2021 odds, but I believe that Simons and Stanley may have some tricks up in their sleeves.
Devin Booker and Steph Curry re-join Three-Point Shootout
Buddy Hield won’t be joining this year’s Three-Point Shootout, so it is guaranteed that we will crown a new three-point champion this year.
The star-studded cast is set as Steph Curry, Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Devin Booker, and Zach LaVine all aim to assert themselves as being the best shooter in the league.
Devin Booker and Steph Curry are gunning for their second Three-Point Shootout plum, while Zach LaVine is still looking for his first after failing to win it last year.
Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum are also threats to win in this year’s competition especially with how they are shooting the ball lately.
Big men battle it out in the Skills Challenge
Julius Randle, Nikola Vucevic, Domantas Sabonis, Robert Covington, Luka Doncic, and Chris Paul are all set to compete in the Skills Challenge.
Besides Chris Paul, the rest are new to this contest and it will be interesting to see on how they’ll fare since most of the participants aren’t exactly known for their perimeter skills.
Agile big men who boast a prolific outside shot have been some of the surprise winners in recent years, which makes Nikola Vucevic, Domantas Sabonis, and Julius Randle outside threats to Chris Paul and Luka Doncic.
The Eastern Conference has been on a roll when it comes to this event, as Kristaps Porzingis, Jayson Tatum, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Bam Adebayo have won in recent years.
On the other hand, this will be the fifth time in the event for Chris Paul, who has yet to come away with a victory despite being one of the all-time great point guards in the modern era.
The playing field is set for Team LeBron and Team Durant
The main event for this weekend will be the All-Star Game led by Team LeBron and Team Durant. Captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant have already filled out their respective rosters in last night’s All-Star Draft.
Team LeBron is composed of LeBron James, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Paul George, Rudy Gobert, Jaylen Brown, Damian Lillard, Luka Doncic, Ben Simmons, Chris Paul, and Domantas Sabonis.
Kevin Durant will remain captain of his team despite being sidelined for his hamstring injury, and his squad will be led by the likes of Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, Devin Booker, Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal, Julius Randle, James Harden, Zion Williamson, Nikola Vucevic, Donovan Mitchell, and Zach LaVine.
These two loaded groups will compete to win each quarter for their respective beneficiaries. Given how last year’s event turned out, the league decided to bring back the Elam Ending to determine the winning team.
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