NBA All-Star Weekend Predictions

NBA All-Star Weekend is upon us. All 30 teams will have seven days off to rest and recover after playing the first 36 games of the season. Despite complaints by some of the players and media, we will have All-Star events performed this season. The league will create a mini-bubble within the city of Atlanta to create a COVID-friendly environment for the participants.

To review, all of the All-Star events will be held on one night, March 7th. Coverage will begin at 5 p.m. ET on TNT. The Skills Challenge will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by the 3-Point Contest. At 8 p.m. ET, the All-Star Game will begin, with the AT&T Slam Dunk squeezed in at halftime. Unfortunately, the Rising Stars Game will be nixed for this year, but the would-be participants have been announced.

NBA All-Star Weekend Predictions

Rising Stars Game

Despite the lack of a Rising Stars Game, the NBA released the participants in the same USA vs World format that would’ve been played.

NBA All-Star Weekend: Skills Challenge

The Skills Challenge will be played in the same format as always during NBA All-Star Weekend. Players will retrieve a ball, dribble around the NBA figurines, complete a pass, dribble down the court for a layup, and dribble back for a 3-point shot. Last year’s winner, Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat, will not defend his title. This event requires quickness, precision, and shooting ability, and as evidenced by last year’s win, a little bit of luck.

The history of this event doesn’t help in pointing out a winner. Since it was reformatted in 2015, three of the winners have been bigs and three of the winners have been guards/wings. Regardless, each round of this event always comes down to the three-point shot, and Chris Paul has the most reliable jump shot in this competition. As the super-skilled point guard that he is, it would be safe to bet that he builds a healthy lead on his opponents by draining that first pass and cruising into easy wins.

Prediction: Chris Paul

3-Point Contest

The 3-Point Contest will mirror last year’s Mountain Dew-themed version. As usual, players will shoot from five locations on the court, with four 1-point balls, and a 2-point moneyball on each rack. Mountain Dew has added two extra long-range “dew balls,” one from each wing, these are worth three points. Players are also allowed to choose a money rack, where all their shots for that rack will be worth two points.

It’s easy to pick Steph Curry as the winner here, but Devin Booker has won two three-point contests already and holds the record for the highest score. Looking at this season, in particular, Zach LaVine has the highest three-point field goal percentage at 43.5 percent and has the highest catch-and-shoot percentage at  48.3 percent. If he can transfer those skills to picking up off of a rack, he should walk away with a victory.

Prediction: Zach LaVine

NBA All-Star Weekend Dunk Contest

This year’s AT&T Slam Dunk Contest will be held at halftime, and the roster reflects this. There will only be three contestants participating this year. We can assume that there will be judges present to score the dunks, whether in person or via Zoom. Each player will perform two dunks in the first round, and the two highest scorers will move on to the second round for a one-dunk final. We haven’t seen any of these participants in the past, but we know two things. Big men usually don’t perform well and the judges love creativity. Anfernee Simons of the Portland Trail Blazers, with his bright personality, seems like the right pick.

Prediction: Anfernee Simons

All-Star Game

This year’s All-Star Game will be played in the same format as last season’s. The winner of each quarter will earn donations for their selected beneficiary. This year, NBA All-Star Weekend is focused on HBCUs, with Team LeBron James donating to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and Team Kevin Durant will play for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). The NBA will donate $500,000 to each fund to start the game. Then $150,000 to the winner of the first three quarters, and the winner of the game will donate $300,000. The first three quarters will be played to a certain time as usual, and the fourth quarter winner will be the first to score 24 points, as a tribute to Kobe Bryant.

For the game, Team LeBron looks much better than Team Durant. James selected Giannis Antetokounmpo with his first pick, while Durant selected Kyrie Irving with his first pick. Team LeBron has much more star power, but most of their players have found success on their respective teams by dominating the ball. Team Durant is filled out with more quick-hitting scorers like Bradley Beal and Jayson Tatum that may fit more seamlessly for the sake of NBA All-Star Weekend.

Prediction: Team Durant

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