With All-Star weekend finally here, it’s time to make some bold predictions. The All-Star Celebrity Game kicks of the festivities on Friday followed by State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, then we wrap things up with the 65th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.
It’s sure to be an entertaining weekend in the NBA. Here are some bold predictions for every event.
Team USA wins All-Star Celebrity Game
Coached by four-time All-Star Celebrity Game MVP and actor Kevin Hart, Team USA will prevail over Team Canada and Grammy Award-winning artist Drake. It will be interesting to see what retired NBA players Chauncey Billups, Muggsy Bogues, Tracy McGrady and Rick Fox have left in the tank for their respective teams, but having WNBA reigning scoring champion Elena Delle Donne gives Team USA the edge.
Prediction: USA 58, Canada 53
U.S. Team will win big over World Team in BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, Karl Anthony-Towns wins MVP
After losing to the World Team 121-112 last year, the U.S. Team looks to get even in the Rising Stars Challenge, and it will do so by double digits. Also, the MVP will be given to a Minnesota Timberwolves player for the second year in a row. Andrew Wiggins had 22 points, six rebounds and four assists to win it last year.
Prediction: U.S. 128, World 118
A Big Man will win the Taco Bell Skills Challenge
The odds of a big man winning the Skills Challenge is 50-50 since half of the participants are power forwards or centers, which is unusual for this type of competition. But with the big men of today being so much better at passing, dribbling and shooting from a distance, it would come as no surprise if no guard won.
Foot Locker Three-Point Contest: Stephen Curry sets new record for most points in a round
Defending champion Curry will one-up the previous record of 27 points in a round, which he set in 2015. With the way Curry has been stroking it from long range, he might even get to 30. The only question is: will being so close to the 3-point line negatively affect him since he has gotten so used to draining 30-foot 3-pointers during the season?
Klay Thompson upsets teammate Curry in Three-Point Contest
While Curry sets the record for most points in a round, it won’t be at the end where it matters. Thompson, the other half of the Splash Bros., made it to the championship round last year, only to score 14 points and finish in third place. But in his second year competing in the three-point contest, Thompson will capture the crown.
Zach LaVine repeats as Slam-Dunk Champion
It’s not bold to say LaVine will win the Verizon Slam-Dunk Contest, but considering only Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson have repeated as back-to-back champions, it would be quite an accomplishment for LaVine. But if there is a dark-horse candidate in the bunch, it’s Denver’s Will Barton.
Eastern Conference All-Stars beat Western Conference All-Stars, Paul George wins MVP
It’s been a long road back to the NBA for George, who suffered a gruesome leg injury during the U.S. Men’s National Team intrasquad scrimmage in August 2014. But this season he is playing like his old self again, better in fact. George is averaging a career-high 23.3 points, and he has as good a chance as any to win the game MVP, assuming the Eastern Conference All-Stars can stop the Western Conference All-Stars from winning two in a row.
Prediction: East 155, West 149
No. of times Kobe Bryant’s retirement is mentioned during All-Star Game: four or five
With this being Bryant’s last All-Star Game, and him receiving a standing ovation every night on his farewell tour, the announcers for Sunday’s game will almost certainly mention Bryant’s retirement, maybe four or five times during the course of the broadcast. The chance to honor No. 24 knows no limits.