The NBA All-Star Weekend is here. Our three guests today on Around The League talk about: their favorite All-Star moments, give their predictions for NBA All-Star Weekend and discuss what teams we should keep an eye on, heading in to the homestretch of the NBA season.
Our guest: Justin Jett (Vice Sports and Dime on UPROXX) , Ryan Magdziarz (Lineups & 4SZNS) and Kory Waldron (Off The Glass Basketball)
Photo Credit: Associated Press via NBCSports.com
Question: All-Star Weekend is upon us. What are your predictions for the 3-Point Contest, Slam Dunk Contest and the Skills Challenge? Who is your prediction to win the NBA All-Star Game MVP?
Justin Jett (Vice Sports and Dime on UPROXX):
Three Point Contest: Buddy Hield
Slam Dunk Contest: Miles Bridges
Skills Challenge: De'Aaron Fox
All-Star Game MVP: Steph Curry
Ryan Magdziarz (Lineups & 4SZNS):
Three Point Contest: LOADED. Steph is winning it in front of his hometown crowd.
Slam Dunk Contest: DSJ because of size and creativity. All other contestants are better in-game dunkers.
Skills Challenge: No question, Luka in a landslide.
All Star Game MVP: Huge weekend for Steph. MVP of the All-Star game to go along with his 3 point champ trophy.
Kory Waldron (Off The Glass Basketball):
Three Point Contest: Buddy Hield
Slam Dunk Contest: Miles Bridges
Skills Challenge: Luka Doncic
All-Star Game MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Photo Credit: (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images ; John Swart/AP; Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images; Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images)
Question: "What is your favorite NBA Slam Dunk Contest and why?"
Justin Jett (Vice Sports and Dime on UPROXX): "As the years go by, dunks get better, training gets better, and players simply get more innovative. Zach LaVine's second slam dunk championship has a special place in my heart because that is where I believe we saw the most special dunks."
Ryan Magdziarz (Lineups & 4SZNS): "Dunks get better, more athletic, and more creative every year, but from an entertainment and aura stand point, Vince Carter in 2000 was an absolute showmen. Revolutionized dunking for all NBA fans. raised the bar for dunk contests from the point forward."
Kory Waldron (Off The Glass Basketball): "My favorite NBA Slam Dunk contest is 2009, Nate Robinson vs Dwight Howard. Robinson in the all green kryptonite uniform, I remember being with all of my buddies watching. It was an event, this may have been the last dunk contest I was impressed by prior to the Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon showdown a couple years ago."
Photo Credit: NBAonTNT via YouTube
Question: "What are your thoughts on the All-Star Draft, and if you could change anything, what would it be?"
Justin Jett (Vice Sports and Dime on UPROXX): "I love The Starters idea of having the captains make their picks live at the game. This way, it would feel even more like a fun pick-up game and emotions would be fresh so the intensity would be raised."
Ryan Magdziarz (Lineups & 4SZNS): "I loved the All-Star draft. It makes you feel closer to the action, and gets you more familiar with the players personalities. I would change the setting of the live draft to be more of a banquet. All players live in person at the banquet/show, getting loose on some wine/ champagne (something classy). Almost like an award show. They would be able to joke more with one another, and it wouldn't feel so uptight. Earnie and the TNT boys would still host, but more of the attention needs to be on the players that our draft and their reactions"
Kory Waldron (Off The Glass Basketball): "I enjoy the new format I think playing for charity and allowing captains to put together their own teams gives it a fresh new take. I can’t say at the moment there is anything I’d change."
Photo Credit: Getty Images via SportingNews
Question: "How do you see the bottom of the Western Conference Playoff Race playing out, after the All-Star Break?"
Justin Jett (Vice Sports and Dime on UPROXX): "I have been a firm believer in the Sacramento Kings chances of making the playoffs. They have a fantastic backcourt, a good PNR big man, shooters on the wings, and they just got a real small forward, even though that real small forward is just Harrison Barnes. I think they snatch either the 7th or the 8th seed. They also have the 10th easiest schedule after the All-Star break. This leaves the Spurs, Clippers, and Lakers. The Clippers are feisty and have deep talent without a big star, although Danilo Gallinari has been great when on the court. The Spurs and Lakers, meanwhile, have a coach and player that essentially never miss the playoffs. Ultimately, I believe LeBron simply will not be able to miss the playoffs and will get this team into the playoffs.
Ryan Magdziarz (Lineups & 4SZNS): "I think the Spurs and the Clippers slide out of the playoffs, while Sacramento gets a huge playoff appearance, and the Lakers barely squeak in as well."
Kory Waldron (Off The Glass Basketball): "The Western Conference remains basically a 14 team deep conference. I expect the Clippers to take a step back. Even still, I think it’ll be a close race between the Clippers, Kings and Lakers for the eighth seed. Lakers with LeBron James leading the way, more than likely secure that spot."
Photo Credit: USA Today Sports - Troy Taormina
Question: "What is one team that everyone is overlooking, that could make some noise in the playoffs?"
Justin Jett (Vice Sports and Dime on UPROXX): "The Houston Rockets have a lot of bad players, James Harden may have another MVP season ripped from him, and they do not play defense. That being said, they are going to be finally healthy after the All-Star break, contain a player who is having a historic season, and play in such a volatile manner because of how many threes they take. They could steal games and series with a hot James Harden night and an insane shooting performance. Plus, they still have four of their five starters from last season which was a team that pushed the Golden State Warriors to the brink. They have a good chance of being bounced from the playoffs early but I could easily see them making a run."
Ryan Magdziarz (Lineups & 4SZNS): "Not so much everyone is overlooking, but no one is taking the Thunder serious as far as being a threat to the Warriors, and I think thats a mistake. OKC is very big, long, and dangerous. Very switchable defenders, PG13 is playing like a MVP, and pass first Westbrook has made an appearance every now and again this year. Making noise in this years playoffs is the OKC Thunder's middle name."
Kory Waldron (Off The Glass Basketball): "The only team that comes to mind would have to be the Indiana Pacers in the East. Victor Oladipo went down for the season and with that the Pacers were written off. If Myles Turner elevates his game to the next level while the team remains unified I think they match up fairly well with any team in the East. Wesley Matthews was a huge signing off of the waiver wire, which makes them even closer to shocking people with a second round appearance."
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