Feb 5, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; A general view outside prior to a game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Atlanta Hawks at New Orleans Arena. The city of New Orleans will host the 2014 NBA All Star game on February 16, 2014. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

NBA All-Star Saturday Night Predictions


 

All-Star Weekend is almost here! Let’s get you prepared for All-Star Saturday Night and give some predictions for the days events.

Start Time: Saturday, Feb. 15, at 5:30 p.m. ET

TV: Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on TNT

Where: Smoothie King Arena, NOLA

Sears Shooting Stars

Eastern Conference:

Team 1: Tim Hardaway Jr. (NYK); Tim Hardaway Sr. (Legend); Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky)

Team 2: Chris Bosh (MIA); Dominique Wilkins (Legend); Swin Cash (Chicago Sky)

Western Conference:

Team 1: Stephen Curry (GS); Dell Curry (Legend); Becky Hammon (San Antonio Stars)

Team 2: Kevin Durant (OKC); Karl Malone (Legend); Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock) 

Prediction

It’s pretty cool that Tim Hardaway Jr. is going to participate with his father, Tim Hardaway Sr., in this competition; however, this is going to come down to an epic shooting competition between Stephen Curry and HIS father, Dell Curry, and Kevin Durant.

Who’s the better shooter between the younger Curry and Durant? Curry is probably the more naturally gifted shooter and has the silkiest stroke since Jesus Shuttlesworth, aka Ray Allen. Durant always steps up in the big moment. The father-son dynamic is a game changer though so I’m going to go with the Curry family and Becky Hammon.

Taco Bell Skills Challenge

Eastern Conference:

Michael Carter-Williams, Sixers

Victor Oladipo, Magic

Demar DeRozan, Raptors

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

Western Conference:

Damian Lillard, Blazers

Trey Burke, Jazz

Reggie Jackson, Thunder

Goran Dragic, Suns

Prediction

This is the first event of Damian Lillard’s insane weekend. Some media members have criticized Lillard for his decision to participate in every event; however, I applaud it. He clearly believes that All-Star weekend is something special and he wants to get the full experience. Well, he’s certainly going to get that.

The Skills Challenge all comes down to ball handling and passing accuracy. There are a ton of young players participating this year, which means I’m going to have to go with a more experienced player. My choice is the criminally underrated Goran Dragic, who has quietly become one of the five best point guards in the NBA this season.

Foot Locker Three-Point Contest

Eastern Conference:

Kyrie Irving, Cavaliers

Bradley Beal, Wizards

Joe Johnson, Nets

Arron Afflalo, Magic

Western Conference:

Stephen Curry, Warriors

Marco Belinelli, Spurs

Kevin Love, Timberwolves

Damian Lillard, Blazers

Prediction

There are some great shooters in this competition (Curry, Belinelli, Beal, Afflalo), some great scorers (Johnson, Love, Lillard) and a curious choice (Irving). Irving hasn’t developed much as a shooter and is only 36.5% from distance this season, the worst mark of his career. I have no idea why he is in the contest.

Usually pure shooters tend to dominate this event and I believe this year will be no different. My two finalists are Steph Curry and Bradley Beal and I think that Curry will take home the hardware. Curry is the best pure shooter in basketball and always rises to the moment. That’s why he’s my pick.

Sprite Slam Dunk

Eastern Conference:

Paul George, Pacers

John Wall, Wizards

Terrance Ross, Raptors (Defending Champion)

Western Conference:

Harrison Barnes, Warriors

Ben McLemore, Kings

Damian Lillard, Blazers

Prediction

The dunk contest is always one of the most exciting events of the NBA season; however, it has definitely lost some of its luster over the years. This year features a better cast of characters than most years and it should be fun to watch Damian Lillard participate in his thousandth contest of the day.

Paul George and John Wall represent two of the most talented and gifted athletes in the NBA and I would expect them to put on a major show. We saw what Terrance Ross could do last season. Harrison Barnes and Ben McLemore are kind of the wildcards. Both Barnes and McLemore are ridiculously talented, young and athletic. Who knows what they can break out?

My gut tells me to go with Paul George but somewhere deep down I believe this is John Wall’s contest to lose. Therefore, I’m going with the Wizards point guard to take home the night’s most important trophy.

Tags: 2014 All-Star NBA Slam Dunk Contest Three Point Contest Weekend

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