NBA All-Star Festivities begin in only a few days as the league honors some of the best players so far this season this upcoming weekend! This year’s festivities are in Salt Lake City, Utah where the Utah Jazz call home.
While it will be awesome to watch two Bucks players play with and against the best in the actual All-Star Game on Sunday and not to mention see Post Malone perform his heart out prior to the game, the real fun for most NBA fans remains on Saturday night!
State Farm All-Star Saturday Night features three events; the Kia Skills Challenge, the Starry 3-Point Contest, and the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest!
Now let’s dive into each event and leave a prediction on who will bring home the hardware!
Kia Skills Challenge
This year the Skills Challenge will feature three teams made up of three players competing in a four-round competition that tests their shooting, passing and dribbling skills. The teams include:
Alex- Wisconsin Herd “G-League”
Jabari Smith Jr.- Rockets
Paolo Banchero- Magic
Jaden Ivey- Pistons
Ultimately I believe “Team Rooks” will come out on top. They truly have the best overall range of skills out of the three teams specializing in athleticism, solid shooting and not to mention youth! I can see Team Antetokounmpo struggling with the shooting aspect of the event unfortunately. And, I believe for Team Jazz, Walker Kessler is not the most mobile center so I think that will slow them down. Leading the hardware to the newcomers in Team Rooks!
Starry 3-Point Contest
What is turning into the main event of All-Star Saturday night for most fans has become the 3-Point Contest and there is a loaded lineup this season!
Julius Randle- Knicks
Buddy Hield- Pacers
Damian Lillard- Blazers
Jayson Tatum- Celtics
Kevin Huerter- Kings
Tyler Herro- Heat
Tyrese Hailburton- Pacers
While most fans are going to select the familiar names in the field like Lillard and Tatum to win the contest, I’m going to go with the hometown player in Markkanen.
Markkanen right now ranks 9th in three pointers made this season while shooting 41.2% from three as well. Last season’s winner was a 7-footer in Karl-Anthony Towns from the Timberwolves so why not have another 7-footer take it home this year on their home floor in Markkanen. The crowd will be rocking in Salt Lake if their hometown player can hold the hardware at the end of this event!
AT&T Slam Dunk Contest
Lastly the main event still according to the schedule is once again the Slam Dunk Contest. The Slam Dunk Contest has been extremely underwhelming the past few seasons and it is a bit difficult for fans to remain excited for it. But, the field certainly has some potential!
Kenyon Martin Jr.- Rockets
Mac McClung- 76ers
Jericho Sims- Knicks
Trey Murphy III- Pelicans
While these participants mainly are unknown to most NBA fans, I will be selecting to go with the player who has shown the insane ability to put on a show with his dunking skills, and that would be Mac McClung.
McClung has shown his insane athletic ability since being a highly regarded recruit coming out of High School, so I think that will reign come Saturday night!
As we can hope the Dunk Contest can be a edge of your seat type event, the problem with the dunk contest remains to be the type of players the league has participate. Bringing in a household name or two to complete would bring in a lot more entertainment for fans. Imagine Ja Morant or Zion Williamson bringing the house down in Utah!
The Excitement is Alive!
Regardless, as a huge NBA fan myself, I’m extremely excited to see the stars shine this weekend in Utah and even see a few hometown players from the Milwaukee Bucks shine as well!
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