“2016 All-Stahhh Weekend Predictions”

Kobe
Kobe’s final All-Star appearance highlights what should be an exciting weekend! (Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY Sports)

NBA All-Star Weekend is finally here! All of the festivities in Toronto will kick off at 7:00 ET on ESPN with the Celebrity All-Star Game. It should be a fun weekend, culminating in Kobe Bryant‘s final All-Star showcase.

With six events scheduled for the weekend, check out our picks!

 

Celebrity All-Star Game

Drake
(Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports)

The most “uninspired” basketball event, the Celeb All-Star game has been “dominated” by Kevin Hart for the past 4 years. Now in a coaching role, Hart’s squad is led by former All-Star Chauncey Billups and O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton).

ON the opposite bench, you better believe Drake will do whatever it takes to secure a victory in his hometown, including making a surprise appearance late in the game. Plus, he has Tracy McGrady & Rick Fox, which could almost guarantee a win in this format!

Winner: Team Drake

 

BBVA Rising Stars

Staps
(Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports)

Team World

Bojan Bogdanovic (BKN) | Clint Capela (HOU) | Mario Hezonja (ORL) | Nikola Jokic (DEN)

Trey Lyles (UTA) | Emmanuel Mudiay (DEN) | Raul Neto (UTA) | Kristaps Porzingis (NYK)

Dwight Powell (DAL) | Andrew Wiggins (MIN)

Team USA

Jordan Clarkson (LAL) | Rodney Hood (UTA) | Zach LaVine (MIN) | Devin Booker (PHX)

Jahlil Okafor (PHI) | Jabari Parker (MIL) | Elfrid Payton (ORL) | D’Angelo Russell (LAL)

Marcus Smart (BOS) | Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)

The Team USA v. Team World format makes an appearance for the second consecutive year. In the inaugural event last season, Andrew Wiggins took home MVP honors in a blowout victory.

My money’s on Kristaps Porzingis, everyone’s favorite Latvian sensation, to turn heads. Rumor has it, Porzingis will spend some time at the 3!

Don’t sleep on Team USA’s Rodney Hood, however. Utah’s emerging swingman is averaging 20.4 points in his last 10 games and is deadly enough to cash triples and exploit mismatches in this one.

Winner: Team World | MVP: Kristaps Porzingis

 

Taco Bell Skills Challenge 

Dray
(Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

Participants

Emmanuel Mudiay (DEN) | DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) | Draymond Green (GSW)

Anthony Davis (NOP) | CJ McCollum (POR) | Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)

Isaiah Thomas (BOS) | Jordan Clarkson (LAL)

In a three-round, tourney style match up, it’s bigs v. smalls! This event is always super unpredictable but somehow, I feel Draymond Green will dazzle and come away with the victory – while showing he’s THE MOST SKILLED PLAYER IN THE UNIVERSE!

Winner: Draymond Green

 

Foot Locker Three-Point Contest

Steph
(USA TODAY Sports)

Participants

Stephen Curry (GSW) | James Harden (HOU) | Klay Thompson (GSW)

Khris Middleton (MIL) | Kyle Lowry (TOR) | JJ Redick (LAC) | Devin Booker (PHX)

CJ McCollum (POR) *Bosh’s injury replacement*

Now THAT is a field that could easily headline NBA All-Star Saturday Night. With Curry, Klay and JJ Redick as the favorites, Booker as the wild card and someone like Middleton, McCollum, Lowry, or Harden primed to steal the show, there will be plenty of fireworks throughout.

Conventional wisdom says Curry will repeat as champion, since well, you know, he doesn’t lose much of anything these days. But instead of riding the popular choice, I suspect Khris Middleton to shock the masses and produce a strong shooting display.

Middleton has the quick release, poise and consistent stroke to win. But will it be enough to vault to the top of the bunch and dethrone Steph?

Winner: Khris Middleton

 

Sprite Slam Dunk

Zach
(Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)

Participants

Zach LaVine (MIN) | Aaron Gordon (ORL) | Will Barton (DEN) | Andre Drummond (DET)

This year’s dunk contest could be the best overall competition in years. Everyone has their own intrigue:

LaVine: BUILT for any sort of dunking extravaganza; rumored to have a previously unreleased bag of tricks ready to be unleashed; 2015 Champ

Gordon: THE most athletic, young forward in the Association; former amateur dunk champ with the personality and aerial artistry to break out

Barton: His nickname is THRILL; Barton may seem like more of a “game dunker” but he’s a gifted athlete with a ton of flair and creativity

Drummond: Token “big man”; could steal the show in the mold of a young Dwight Howard or Amar’e Stoudemire; utilizing various props (and teammates) is his best strategy

Barring any missed dunks, Zach LaVine’s showmanship will push him to another trophy, with Barton breathing down his neck in a tight finish.

Winner: Zach LaVine

 

65th NBA All-Star Game 

Kobe-LeBron
(USA TODAY Sports)

The West

Kobe Bryant (LAL) | Stephen Curry (GSW) | Kevin Durant (OKC) | Kawhi Leonard (SAS)

Russell Westbrook (OKC) | Draymond Green (GSW) | Klay Thompson (GSW)

Chris Paul (LAC) | James Harden (HOU) | DeMarcus Cousins (SAC)

LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS) | Anthony Davis (NOP)

The East

Carmelo Anthony (NYK) | Paul George (IND) | LeBron James (CLE) | Kyle Lowry (TOR)

Dwyane Wade (MIA) | Jimmy Butler (CHI) *injured* | John Wall (WAS)

Andre Drummond (DET)Chris Bosh (MIA) *injured* | DeMar DeRozan (TOR)

Paul Millsap (ATL)Isaiah Thomas (BOS) | Al Horford (ATL)

Kobe says he’s not going for the MVP. But all of us want him to get it. In the Black Mamba’s FINAL All-Star Game, we’re betting a few special moments are in store.

For the sake of a storybook ending and unofficial capper of Kobe’s illustrious career, look for the MVP trophy to fall into his hands for the the fifth time.

Winner: West | MVP: Kobe Bryant

#DOFGAME #DOG

-Jabari J.

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