The best that the NBA has to offer will soon descend on the City of Charlotte for the 2019 NB All-Star game. As far as All-Star games go, it is probably one of the more entertaining ones. There will not be much defence on display, but the fans come for the offensive fireworks anyway—so that’s okay.
LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the captains for this year’s teams. Both will have rosters featuring the best and most popular players in the NBA making it quite hard to pick who is going to win. But crowning a winner is not the purpose of this game.
The NBA wants the best players that it has to put on a show for the fans. The odds on that happening are pretty darn good.
Winner of the Slam Dunk Contest Odds
Miles Bridges will be the sentimental favorite as he tries to be the first player to win on his home court since Blake Griffin did it back in 2011. Dennis Smith, the only one of the four that has done the Contest before, should have a leg up on the competition.
Diallo is a last-minute addition to the group after an injury forced Derrik Jones Jr. out. But rookies have won three of the last five contests. If he can harness his 44.5 inch vertical, it is not hard to imagine him throwing down a couple of beasts.
RT if you've got rookie Dennis Smith Jr. winning it all at the Slam Dunk Contest. pic.twitter.com/dJqx4DUNSx— Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) February 18, 2018
However, John Collins has shown in games that he has the athleticism to throw down some monster dunks. He has also been known to put on a show from time to time.
Prediction: Many experts are going with Collins, but I am going to say, Dennis Smith, since he knows firsthand what the judges want.
Winner of the Three-Point Contest Odds
It would be easy to assume that Steph Curry is going to win since he is the premier three-point shooter in the game. But his luck has not been the greatest during the contest. He has entered five times and has won only once.
But he will be facing some pretty good competition this year—like his brother, Seth Curry, who leads the league in shot percentage from that range at 48.5 percent. Devin Booker, last year’s winner, is having a good season and would love to repeat. But there hasn’t been a repeat winner since the turn of the century.
Buddy Hield is shooting well this season (45.5 percent), and it would be foolish to overlook Kemba Walker. Then again, Walker is more accustomed to hitting shots with someone in his face. The lack of defence may throw him off.
It would be nice to see Dirk Nowitzki win it, but don’t count on it.
Prediction: Steph is the one everyone should expect to win it but don’t be shocked if Seth takes home the win instead.
Winner of the Skills Challenge Odds
It doesn’t get the attention or the acclaim that the dunk or three-point contest get, but there is more to playing basketball than slamming down dunks or knocking down three’s—like everything that makes up the skills challenge (ball-handling, passing, and shooting).
This contest is not as position specific as the others making it harder to weed out the contenders from the pretenders. But there are some patterns worth taking note of. For one, two of the last three winners (and five of the last 16) have been foreign players.
Backcourt players haven’t fared too well in recent years. Spencer Dinwiddie, last year’s winner, was the first since Patrick Beverley during the 2014-15 season.
How the players end up getting seeded will impact who wins. Some of better players could end up weeding each other out.
So—who’s going to win?
Prediction: Many of the experts are picking Doncic, but if De’Aron Fox or Kyle Kuzma can survive the first round, either one of them could win.
Rising Stars Challenge MVP Odds
Some of the best and brightest first and second-year players get a chance to showcase their skills as the country watches in Friday night’s Rising Star’s Challenge.
But there is a downside—there will be plenty of worthy players left off the rosters. However, that also means that the talent in the game is absolutely extraordinary.
Could watch Luka Doncic's best plays of the season all day tbh pic.twitter.com/3KpcILbdQs— SB Nation (@SBNation) February 11, 2019
With the guys on the Team World and Team USA rosters, it is not hard to imagine several players going home with MVP honors. However, there are some trends that can help narrow it down. Like any game that names an MVP, it will be someone from the winning side.
In three of the four years this format has been used, Team World has been coming out on top. So—who’s going to win this year? While the group of second-year players for Team USA is excellent, Team World has a ‘Big Three’ that will be tough to beat, Luka Doncic, Ben Simmons, and Bogdan Bogdanovic (last year’s MVP). Throw in Deandre Ayton, and you have a Big Four.
Team World is expected to win which will make those four the primary candidates.
Prediction: Since Doncic will likely be the primary scorer, he’ll win over Simmons.
All-Star Game MVP Odds
The fact that every player on each roster is a star can make it quite challenging to predict which star will shine brighter. But there is one thing that can be counted on—the winner is going to be one of the many superstars.
There have only been two All-Star MVP winners since the 1985-86 season that are not sure-fire Hall of Famers.
So—who is going to win it this year?
Steph Curry has yet to win one, and it would be a great way for Giannis Antetokounmpo to compliment his stellar season. But both will likely be overshadowed by two guys—LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.
James is going to want to have something to show for this season. Since the Lakers are probably not going to make the playoffs, he may have more desire to add to his legacy with a fourth All-Star MVP. Should he win it, he would become just the third player to win four. Having won it last season, he would also become the third to win it in back-to-back seasons.
As for Westbrook, he may try to win it simply because James traded him.
Prediction: Go with LeBron. Westbrook may want to win it, but he also has a playoff run to look forward to.