NBA: Predicting event winners for All-Star Saturday night

Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

Predictions for NBA All-Star Weekend. 

NBA All-Star weekend is always jam-packed with entertaining events and games for all ages to watch. It will begin Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET with the Ruffles NBA Celebrity All-Star game and will end Sunday at 8:00 p.m. with the 71st annual NBA All-Star game.

Saturday night will feature the highly anticipated Taco Bell Skills Challenge,  MTN Dew 3-point contest, and finally the AT&T Slam Dunk contest.

Who is going to win and bring home the hardware?

The State Farm All-Star Saturday night will air on TNT and the first challenge/contest is the Taco Bells Skills Challenge. Three teams of three will be competing to try and win. Fans will see a new look and format to the challenge this year that will include four rounds and one final trio being named champs. These players include:

  • Team Rookies ( Scottie Barnes-Raptors, Cade Cunningham-Pistons, and Josh Giddey-Thunder)
  • Team Cleveland Cavaliers (Jarrett Allen, Darius Garland, and Evan Mobley)
  • Team Antetokounmpo (Giannis-Bucks, Thanasis-Bucks, and Alex-Raptors 905)

Round 1 will involve all three players from the trios testing their shooting skills. Each individual will have 30 seconds to take five shots, all from different spots on the floor while their other team members rebound for them. No shot can be repeated twice, and individual scores will be added to make an overall team score. The team with the highest score at the end of round one will win that challenge and 100 points.

Round 2 is all about passing. All three members of the trio will be competing in this challenge. The teams will have 30 seconds to complete passes into oversized moving targets that will vary in size and distance from the player. One attempt must be made at each target and individual players cannot make consecutive passes at the same target. Targets will have different point values and the team with the most points will win round 2 and 100 points.

Round 3 will include all the players again, competing in a timed relay and each player must complete the five skill course. It will begin with (1) throwing an outlet pass to a moving target on the baseline, (2) dribbling down the court through three moving pylons, (3) making a short shot in the lane, (4) making a corner 3 against an automated defender, and (5) dribbling to the opposite side of the court and make a basket (dunk, layup, jump shot). The team with the fastest time will win round 3 and 200 points.

The Final Round will involve the two remaining teams trying to make the fastest halfcourt shot. Each team will have one minute and 30 seconds to try and make the shot. All players on the team will be shooting to try and make the shot. My prediction for the two teams remaining will be Team Rookies and Team Antetokounmpo.

The pick: Give me Team Rookies to win it all.

Next up for Saturday night is the MTN Dew 3-point contest where some of the league’s best shooters will try and be the last man standing. This year a brand new champion will be crowned as nobody competing has ever won this event.

Contestants for the 3-point contest are:

  • CJ McCollum– New Orleans Pelicans
  • Trae Young– Atlanta Hawks
  • Zach LaVine– Chicago Bulls
  • Desmond Bane– Memphis Grizzlies
  • Karl-Anthony Towns– Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Fred VanVlett– Toronto Raptors
  • Luke Kennard– LA Clippers
  • Patty Mills– Brooklyn Nets

Players will have one minute and 10 seconds to try and make as many of the 27 balls as they can to have a possible maximum score of 40 points in a round. Featured again in this contest is the “DEW ZONE” where two balls worth three points will be placed between the two racks at the top of the 3-point arc. These balls will be positioned six feet behind the regulation 3-point line.

The players with the three highest scores from the opening round will make it to the finals. These three individuals will battle it out to try and win the MTN Dew 3-point contest. I’m going to say Zach LaVine, Patty Mills, and Ohio native CJ McCollum will make the final round.

The pick: Zach LaVine 

Rapping up the State Farm All-Star Saturday night will be the AT&T Slam Dunk contest. Another first-time champion will be crowned in this event. Those competing in the AT&T Slam Dunk contest are:

  • Cole Anthony– Orlando Magic
  • Juan Toscano-Anderson– Golden State Warriors
  • Obi Toppin– New York Knicks
  • Jalen Green– Houston Rockets

Next. NBA: 3 interesting things to watch on All-Star Weekend. dark

This is my personal favorite event because it’s not as repetitive as the other contests. Watching players come up with new dunks and how they entertain the crowd is the most exciting part for me. Only one competitor has previous experience in this contest and that is Obi Toppin who was the runner-up last year.

The pick: Obi Toppin to beat Jalen Green in the finals.