Nobody seems all that disappointed that the NBA’s All-Star weekend is upon us. For one, why would anyone? This weekend marks the time we get to see the league showcase itself, watching its best and brightest without much inhibition on the court in one of the designated loose terms for the actual sport of basketball. The other reason is that everyone can finally take a long breath and prepare for the season’s stretch run. Things are going to get much more intense from here on out, so whatever happens this weekend, it’s important to appreciate it for the spectacle of all-world talent that it truly is. That said, here are some predictions for the All-Star weekend events.
BBVA Rising Stars Challenge MVP – Kyrie Irving.
It’s unfair to expect the world of Blake Griffin in this one, and while John Wall has ample motivation to make a statement, I’m going with Irving to continue his superb rookie campaign in the same way he got to this point: By being impossible to ignore.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge Champion – John Wall.
Stephen Curry won last year, but this time around I’ll go with Wall, who will play the “Seriously You Guys, I’m Just Playing With A Bunch Of Clowns” card, using his pinpoint passes through tires as a defense against the ugliness in Washington so far.
Foot Locker Three-Point Contest Champion – Anthony Morrow.
Because no publicity is enough for the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets, and by nabbing a trophy during All-Star weekend, Morrow would do well in keeping the conversation leaning towards the Nets and, most importantly, their future. Kevin Durant seems too large for this stage, but if he’s feeling it on Saturday night, this thing could be one of the all-timers.
Sprite Slam Dunk Contest Champion – Jeremy Evans.
This contest will be decided strictly by a fan vote for the first time ever, which takes away the always-entertaining panel of judges insanely screaming and waving their “10s” after most dunks, but oh well. Evans is seldom used in real NBA action, but his raw ability is perfect for a blank canvas with little restraints like the dunk contest. All four candidates are ideal, with the combination of wanting to write their names into NBA history and the obscurity that lends the willingness to try anything, and Evans is probably the most obscure of the group.
2012 NBA All-Star Game MVP – Kevin Durant.
In the season of the young and athletic teams jumping out of the gate and remaining the most consistent thus far, Durant will raise his All-Star game to the same level, besting the usual suspects like LeBron and Kobe as well as hometowner-for-now Dwight Howard. He arguably won the Summer of Lockout 2012, and his team, along with the Heat, is definitely one of the best in the league at the break. It only makes sense that the guard continues to change at All-Star weekend.
So there you have it; guesses for meaningless events that nonetheless are a blast to watch. That’s the NBA All-Star break in a nutshell, and that’s why it’s awesome. Enjoy the weekend.
Griffin Gotta contributes to The Hoop Doctors and is a co-managing editor of Straight Outta Vancouver. The story arcs and infinite weirdness of the NBA are addictions he deals with every day. Email him at griffingotta at gmail dot com.