Feb 8, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Detail view of an All-Star game jacket on sale before a game between the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Sears Shooting Stars Participants
Team BoshTeam LopezTeam Harden
Chris Bosh, MIA
Brook Lopez, BKN
James Harden, HOU
Russell Westbrook, OKC
Swin Cash, CHI
Tamika Catchings, IND
Tina Thompson, SEA
Maya Moore, MIN
Joe Bendiez: Hard to say what will happen in this event. There is a reason this is the first event of the night, and I don’t have to explain why. They’ve tried improving the event, by pushing away from city specific teams, though, that’s what made it somewhat fun when San Antonio won the competition years ago. Personally, if I had to give a prediction, I like Team Westbrook in this one, and yes, Robert Horry being a part of that team sways me toward them a bit.
Ian Dougherty: This really is the worst event there is on All Star Saturday night. I pay so little attention I can’t even name all of the current NBA players that are participating in the event. It’s awkward to watch NBA-ers have to team up with WNBA-ers who have to adjust to the size of an NBA ball for the competition, and to see old NBA players who haven’t played in who-knows-how-long. It’s a long, awkward event that is always decided by whatever group of players can make the halfcourt shot first. With all that said, I heard Muggsy Bouges is in the event, so I suppose it will be slightly entertaining to watch him hoist up halfcourters. But seriously, NBA, get rid of this event. It’s not that fun.
Joe Bendiez: This is in Houston, so the hometown player Jeremy Lin will probably actually try in this event. Other than that, Tony Parker has to be the favorite. He has the experience, and the skill set to dominate the rest of the contestants. Now, who knows if his “injury” earlier this week will affect him at all, however if it does, I’m interested to see what a Damian Lillard or a Jeff Teague can do in this one.
Ian Dougherty: Really, this is a weak field other than defending champion Tony Parker. The other contestants are Jrue Holiday, Brandon Knight, Jeff Teague, Damian Lillard, and Jeremy Lin; and while they are all good, up and coming point guards, I expect Parker to run away with this thing. The only thing I can see giving him trouble are those pesky bounce passes, which always seem to destroy someone’s hops and dreams, but even if no one messes up, Parker should have this in the bag. However, just because of his flat out speed while dribbling, I can see Teague maybe ending Parker’s title run.
Joe Bendiez: It’s awesome seeing Bonner in the contest, and I think he can really well, but something about Steve Novak makes me want to take him. It could be a fun battle between Bonner and Novak, and prediction-wise, I could see Novak winning this one. However, a Bonner win would not be shocking. He has been snubbed time after time and the Red Rocket is ready to take off in Houston. Hopefully he can justify all the campaigning and come away with a win, but I like Novak in this competition.
Ian Dougherty: Who else is there to take but Matt Bonner in this? It it his destiny to win this year. Among the critics he may be a dark horse, but he’s already showed that he’s the people’s champ with his extremely successful #LetBonnerShoot campaign on Twitter to get into the competition. Now, the easy part is for him to go out and win it. He’s the number two in the NBA this year when it comes down to 3pt FG%, and it’s time for Coach B to go out and prove that he is the best in the league. And if we’re lucky, maybe we can even get an awesome crip walk from Bonner in tribute to his good friend, and former teammate Brent Barry from when he was in the Shootout.
Joe Bendiez: Not sure the West has much of chance in this one. James White we’ll be good, Gerald Green will be good, but I like Terrence Ross to take the crown in the final event of the night. His in-game dunks are some of the best you’ll see out of anyone, and truly has the potential to do something amazing in this competition. He’s got crazy athleticism, the only thing holding him back is his name with the casual fans. Most of these guys aren’t exactly big names, but in an age where fans can vote for the winner, Ross is really going to have leave an impression.
Ian Dougherty: I expect James “Flight” White to dominate this. If you don’t know who he is, go look him up on YouTube, because his athletic ability is off the charts. He hasn’t been in the league for a while, and isn’t getting many minutes with the Knicks this year, but dunking is his best talent. I mean, there are stories of him doing windmills from the free throw line. I expect him to bring his best to the brightest stage he’ll have, and to bring back the dunk contest back from it’s Carrot Top-like reliance on props.