The NBA: All-Star Weekend 2014 Predictions

Happy Valentine's Day to all but more importantly, Happy NBA All-Star weekend to basketball fans!

Let's celebrate ASW at New Orleans, Louisiana with predictions on who will win each event.

Anthony Davis will be the hometown hero
(Image by: Getty Images)
BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge

TEAM HILL
Damian Lillard (Portland, Soph.)
Bradley Beal (Washington, Soph.)
Andre Drummond (Detroit, Soph.)
Harrison Barnes (Golden State, Soph.)
Terrence Jones (Houston, Soph.)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee, Rookie)
Jonas Valanciunas (Toronto, Soph.)
Dion Waiters (Cleveland, Soph.)
Miles Plumlee** (Phoenix, Soph.)
** Plumlee replaces Atlanta's Pero Antic, who is injured

TEAM WEBBER
Anthony Davis (New Orleans, Soph.)
Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia, Rookie)
Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York, Rookie)
Trey Burke (Utah, Rookie)
Jared Sullinger (Boston, Soph.)
Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn, Rookie)
Victor Oladipo (Orlando, Rookie)
Steven Adams (OKC, Rookie)
Kelly Olynyk (Boston, Rookie)

For the Rising Stars Challenge, Chris Webber and Grant Hill acted as general managers as they drafted players into their teams. Anthony Davis was the 1st pick (Team Webber) while Damian Lillard was the 2nd pick (Team Hill).

MVP: Anthony Davis is the best player in this game and he will be the hometown favorite. If Team Webber wins and AD gets enough minutes, he should easily win the MVP. I am predicting 30-20 numbers.



The Currys are the best shooting family in NBA history
(Image from: CBS Sports)
Sears Shooting Stars

EASTERN CONFERENCE:
>Team 1: Tim Hardaway Jr. (NYK); Tim Hardaway Sr. (Legend); Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky)
> Team 2: Chris Bosh (MIA); Dominique Wilkins (Legend); Swin Cash (Chicago Sky)
WESTERN CONFERENCE:
> Team 1: Stephen Curry (GS); Dell Curry (Legend); Becky Hammon (San Antonio Stars)
> Team 2: Kevin Durant (OKC); Karl Malone (Legend); Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock)

Overall, the Western Conference teams have the better NBA shooters with Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. I expect a team from the West to win the Shooting Stars competition and it will be very difficult to beat a team with the best 3-point shooter in the league (Steph Curry) and his dad Dell, who was among the best shooters during his playing days.


Goran Dragic (right) and Reggie Jackson (left) will be teammates at the Skills Challenge
(Image from: USA Today Sports)

Taco Bell Skills Challenge

EASTERN CONFERENCE:
> Team 1: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee; DeMar DeRozan, Toronto
> Team 2: Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia; Victor Oladipo, Orlando
WESTERN CONFERENCE:
> Team 1: Trey Burke, Utah Damian Lillard, Portland
> Team 2: Goran Dragic, Phoenix; Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City

The team with the fastest time will win the Skills Challenge instead of just one player from the previous versions of the contest. Typically, natural point guards fare a lot better in this event compared to other positions due to their passing and dribbling abilities. The West has both teams composed of PGs which give them a bigger chance of winning. The combination of Goran Dragic and Reggie Jackson is my pick to win this event due to their advantage in speed and quickness over the other teams.


Kevin Love leads the NBA in double-doubles.
He also leads all PFs in threes made
(Image from: USA Today Sports)
Foot Locker Three-Point Contest

EASTERN CONFERENCE:
> Arron Afflalo, Orlando
> Bradley Beal, Washington
> Kyrie Irving, Cleveland
> Joe Johnson, Brooklyn
WESTERN CONFERENCE:
> Marco Belinelli, San Antonio
> Stephen Curry, Golden State
> Damian Lillard, Portland
> Kevin Love, Minnesota

Kyrie Irving won this event last year but he is shooting at a lower percentage this season. Meanwhile, Curry and Lillard may not be completely focused in this contest due to their participation in other events. This makes Kevin Love my predicted winner for the shootout. Overall, Love is #12 in 3-pointers made in the NBA and Top 3 in this batch after Curry and Lillard. He shoots a decent percentage (37%) and he would like to prove that he is the best PF in the West because of his outside shooting and double-doubles.  


Terrence Ross is the new "Air Canada"
Sprite Slam Dunk

EASTERN CONFERENCE:
> Paul George, Indiana Pacers
> Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors
> John Wall, Washington Wizards
WESTERN CONFERENCE:
> Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors
> Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
> Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings

The Slam Dunk contest will have star-quality contestants which makes this a success before it has even started. The East boasts of better dunkers with proven track records while the West has some less heralded participants.

Dunker of the Night: Terrence Ross won this event last year and he has constantly displayed his dunking abilities all-season long.


LeBron James is behind Kevin Durant in the regular season MVP race.
As consolation, LBJ probably has his sights set on the All-Star MVP. 
All-Star Game

EASTERN CONFERENCE:
Starters
> Paul George, Indiana Pacers
> LeBron James, Miami Heat
> Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
> Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
> Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Reserves
> DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
> John Wall, Washington Wizards
> Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
> Chris Bosh, Miami Heat
> Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers
> Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
> Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets

WESTERN CONFERENCE:
Starters
> Chris Paul, LA Clippers
> Kevin Durant, OKC Thunder
> Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
> Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
> Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers***injured
Reserves
> James Harden, Houston Rockets
> Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
> Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
> Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets
> LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trailblazers
> Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
> Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
> Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans***replaces Kobe

Even without Kobe Bryant, the West is a deeper and stronger team than the East. Kevin Durant is their best bet for All-Star MVP if the West wins again especially since Kobe isn't around to take away some shot attempts from KD and the others. However, if the East wins, look no further than LeBron James as the All-Star MVP. LBJ has been outplayed by Durant as this season's MVP and James will try to regain some traction by playing better at the ASG. The last time LBJ was All-Star MVP, the year was 2008 and the game was held at New Orleans.


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