By Jake Bellmer
NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte is just a couple days away, meaning the NBA drama stops and the greatest basketball players in the world on display. Michael Jordan’s Hornets are the host city for the All-Star festivities, which will be played in the Spectrum Center.
Friday, Feb. 15 @ 9 pm ET on TNT
Mountain Dew Ice Rising Stars Game: Team World vs Team USA
The game consists of the NBA’s brightest young stars that are in their freshman and sophomore year in the league. This year it’s the 25th Rising Stars game. Last year Team World dominated Team USA, 155-12 led by the Kings’ Buddy Hield and game MVP Bogdan Bogdanovic. Team World is 3-1 since the change in the game’s format back in 2015.
G Bogdan Bogdanović (Serbia) SAC Sophomore
G Luka Dončić (Slovenia) DAL Rookie
G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada) LAC Rookie
G Josh Okogie (Nigeria) MIN Rookie
G Ben Simmons (Australia) PHI Sophomore
F OG Anunoby (United Kingdom) TOR Sophomore
F Rodions Kurucs (Latvia) BKN Rookie
F Lauri Markkanen (Finland) CHI Sophomore
F Cedi Osman (Turkey) CLE Sophomore
C Deandre Ayton (Bahamas) PHX Rookie
Head Coach: Dirk Nowitzki (Germany)
G Lonzo Ball (injured): LAL Sophomore
G De’Aaron Fox: SAC Sophomore
G Donovan Mitchell: UTAH Sophomore
F Marvin Bagley III: SAC Rookie
F John Collins: ATL Sophomore
F Jaren Jackson Jr: MEM Rookie
F Kevin Knox: NYK Rookie
F Kyle Kuzma: LAL Sophomore
F Jayson Tatum: BOS Sophomore
C Jarrett Allen: BKN Sophomore
Head Coach: Kyrie Irving Boston Celtics
I see the game being similar to last year, but the Team USA will be the team dominating. Kyle Kuzma is going to win MVP as Team USA wins 157-139.
Saturday, Feb. 16 @ 8pm ET on TNT
Taco Bell Skills Challenge (1st event)
Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie won this event last year defeating Bulls’ young star Lauri Markkanen in the Finals.
Participants: (contest seedings)
G Mike Conley, Grizzlies (No. 1)
G Luka Doncic, Mavericks (No. 2)
G De’Aaron Fox, Kings (No. 4)
G Trae Young, Hawks (No. 8)
F Nikola Jokic, Nuggets (No. 3)
F Kyle Kuzma, Lakers (No. 6)
F Jayson Tatum, Celtics (No. 5)
C Nikola Vucevic, Magic (No. 7)
Prediction: Rookie stud Trae Young showed in college how skilled he was leading the nation in PPG and APG, and in his rookie season he has a 17-7 stat line. Young is my pick with Jayson Tatum being my dark horse.
Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest (2nd event)
Last year’s competition was dominated left in awe of Devin Booker’s shooting in the final round of the competition scoring 28 and winning the contest over Klay Thompson and Tobias Harris. This year’s field is headlined by the Curry brothers participating in their hometown of Charlotte, NC, and home team all-star Kemba Walker. Three participants have previously won this event: Dirk Nowitzki (2006), Steph Curry (2015) and Devin Booker (2018)
G Devin Booker, Suns
G Seth Curry, Trail Blazers
G Steph Curry, Warriors
G Danny Green, Raptors
G Joe Harris, Nets
G Buddy Hield, Kings
G Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers
G Kemba Walker, Hornets
F Khris Middleton, Bucks
F Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
Prediction: I would question myself over and over again if I didn’t choose Steph Curry to win. So, he’s my pick. We all know he’s the greatest shooter ever, being in his hometown he’s going to take his second 3-point contest trophy. I see Joe Harris coming in a close second with Danny Green as a dark horse.
AT&T Slam Dunk Contest (3rd event)
Jazz Rookie Donovan Mitchell won this contest last year in what was considered not the flashiest of dunk contests, but dunking is always fun.
Miles Bridges, Hornets
John Collins, Hawks
Hamidou Diallo, Thunder
Dennis Smith Jr., Knicks
Prediction: John Collins has been underrated all season. He’s uber-athletic and can jump out of the gym. I see him beating Miles Bridges in the Finals. Picking Collins has me picking two Hawks players winning events on the night.