The All-Star Break is almost upon us, so we have a perfect chance to just relax, chill out and watch the best players in the world play friendly games and events for our entertainment.
Obviously there’s still some competitive spirit, but truth to be told, the All-Star Break is all about getting a breather, relax and have some fun as teams look forward to the remainder of the season.
This year’s All-Star Break features some truly interesting rosters and participants for all events. Thus, we’ll make our predictions for every single one of them right now:
2020 NBA Rising Stars
Miles Bridges (Charlotte), Wendell Carter Jr. (Chicago), Devonte’ Graham (Charlotte), Tyler Herro (Miami, inured will not play), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis), Ja Morant (Memphis), Kendrick Nunn (Miami), Eric Paschall (Golden State), Collin Sexton (Cleveland), PJ Washington (Charlotte), Zion Williamson (New Orleans), Trae Young (Atlanta)
Nickeil Alexander-Walker (New Orleans), Deandre Ayton (Phoenix), RJ Barrett (New York), Brandon Clarke (Memphis), Luka Doncic (Dallas), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City), Rui Hachimura (Washington), Svi Mykhailiuk (Detroit), Josh Okogie (Minnesota), Moritz Wagner (Washington)
This years’ Rising Stars game features one of the strongest Team U.S rosters we’ve seen in years. However, the World team’s roster led by Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can also make a lot of noise.
Nonetheless, we think this is going to be Zion Williamson’s game. He’s dominated veteran defenders since making his professional debut, so he’ll definitely bully all guys his own age.
Williamson could’ve made the All-Star roster had he been healthy to start the season, so we expect him to bring the best of his repertoire this time.
Also, team U.S features mostly starters and go-to-guys, while team World has solid prospects that are currently more of role players than stars.
Winner: Team U.S.
MVP: Zion Williamson
2020 Taco Bell Skills Challenge
• Bam Adebayo, Miami
• Patrick Beverley, LA
• Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn
• Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City
• Khris Middleton, Milwaukee
• Derrick Rose, Detroit (injured)**
• Domantas Sabonis, Indiana
• Pascal Siakam, Toronto
• Jayson Tatum, Boston
**Update: Gilgeous-Alexander will replace injured Rose
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge is perhaps the least entertaining competition of the All-Star weekend. However, this year’s challenge may be the closest we’ve seen in years.
Pascal Siakam, Bam Adebayo and Domantas Sabonis are guards trapped in the body of big men. They have very nice handles and playmaking ability and will make a decent competition.
However, we believe Spencer Dinwiddie will defend his crown after being snubbed from the All-Star Game. He was clearly upset for not making the reserves roster, and even though he eventually apologized, he’s not going to mess around and will take it personally.
Winner: Spencer Dinwiddie
2020 MTN DEW 3-Point Contest
• Davis Bertans, Washington
• Devin Booker, Phoenix
• Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte
• Joe Harris, Brooklyn
• Buddy Hield, Sacramento
• Zach LaVine, Chicago
• Duncan Robinson, Miami
• Trae Young, Atlanta
Damian Lillard won’t be able to participate in this year’s MTN DEW 3-Point Contest, so Devin Booker will take his place instead, great news considering he’s a very consistent shooter from downtown.
This year’s tournament features some true sharpshooters, with Zach LaVine extremely motivated to win an award in front of his crowd. However, he won’t have it easy with Joe Harris trying to keep the throne.
Nonetheless, we think there’s just no one that could beat Trae Young this year. He’s likely going to honor Kobe Bryant and channel his inner Mamba, and he’s got the longest range of the league right now.
It’s also worth noticing that the NBA changed the rules this year. Now, players will get two shots from 6 feet behind the three-point line which will be worth 3 points each. Also, rounds will have 27 shots instead of 25 and 70 seconds instead of 60.
Winner: Trae Young
2020 AT&T Slam Dunk
• Pat Connaughton, Milwaukee
• Aaron Gordon, Orlando
• Dwight Howard, Los Angeles
• Derrick Jones Jr., Miami
The AT&T Slam Dunk contest is what most fans look forward to during All-Star weekend. Honestly, we can’t deny it’s the most entertaining event of the festivities, even ahead of the All-Star Game.
This year’s participants have proven to be some of the sickest dunkers of the world. Pat Connaughton may be the biggest underdog, but he’s showed his hops over and over with some electrifying put-back dunks this season.
Derrick Jones Jr. will go back to the event that put him on the map in the first place. This guy can jump off the roof and has some freakish athleticism.
We all know what Aaron Gordon is capable of. Many people feel he got robbed from the trophy earlier on his career, so now he’ll have his chance to prove he’s the best dunker in the league.
However, we think this year’s trophy will go to Dwight Howard. He’s amid his comeback-redemption season. He’s one of the best dunkers in the history of the game, and he’ll also pay tribute to Kobe Bryant this time. He’ll win it for Kobe.
Winner: Dwight Howard
69th NBA All-Star Game
Starters: LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic, James Harden
Reserves: Devin Booker, Ben Simmons, Nikola Jokic, Jayson Tatum, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Domantas Sabonis
Starters: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam, Kemba Walker, Trae Young
Reserves: Khris Middleton, Bam Adebayo, Rudy Gobert, Kyle Lowry, Brandon Ingram, Donovan Mitchell
This year’s All-Star Game will have a couple of special twists to honor Kobe Bryant. For starters, LeBron James’ team will wear number 2 to pay their respects to Gianna Bryant, while Giannis Antetokounmpo’s team will wear number 24.
Also, the game will have a different format this year, where the score will go to zero after each quarter. This time, the winner of the quarter will get $100,000 in donations for a charity of their choice.
And once we get to the fourth quarter, the game clock will stop and both teams will play until they reach a target score, like we previously reported:
“In the fourth quarter, with the scores reset, both teams will work to reach the target score, which will be determined by the total points the team in the lead scored in the first three quarters plus 24, an obvious nod to Kobe Bryant who famously donned no. 24 in his tenure with the Lakers”.
This tribute to Kobe will motivate players to play some defense during the All-Star Game for the first time in a while. Both LeBron and Giannis have a lot at stake as they were pretty close to Bryant.
However, we believe LeBron and his team will come on top this time, with James taking home the All-Star MVP award and Team LeBron winning 155-151.
Winner: Team LeBron
MVP: LeBron James