2017 All-Star weekend has come and gone for the NBA. So let’s summarize the weekend that was.
This past weekend we witnessed one of the most unamusing and arduous NBA All-Star weekends in recent memory. The most exciting event was the Skills Competition and that isn’t saying much. For some reason, the thrill of thoroughly competing against your fellow peers has diminished in the minds of players. Players used to use this weekend to prove that they’re more talented than the other guys in your position or stature. Instead, All-Star weekend is looked at as a vacation place to catch up with your old pals. As a fan of the NBA, this is a change we need to see immediately unless they move All-Star break until after the season.
Day One: Celebrity Game and Rising Stars Challenge
Celebrity All-Star Game
This game is never much to write home about. A weekend that has been taken over by comedian Kevin Hart in the recent history but this year, he was nowhere to be found. I’m sure fans got tired of seeing his face but the Celebrity game missed him dearly. Kevin Hart just brings a certain entertainment we can get from the celebrities that made an appearance. Brandon “BDot” Armstrong, the YouTube impressionist of current NBA players, won MVP with 16 points 15 rebounds and two assists.
BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge
The BBVA Compass Rising Stars challenge was the second best event of the weekend. We got to see some of the best upcoming talents go at it in a game that was a little more competitive than the All-Star Game on Sunday. Buddy Hield lit it up in the first half scoring 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting; which could of led to why the Kings wanted him from the Pelicans. In the second half, a different guard caught fire. Jamal Murray showed why he was highly touted out of college pouring in 35 points and adding 11 assists. Other players like Nikola Jokic, Frank Kaminsky, and Kristaps Porzingis put on noteworthy performances as well. Team World won the game 150-141 over Team USA
Day Two: Skills Competition, Dunk Contest, and Three-Point Shootout
NBA Saturday left a lot to be desired, to say the least. But the Skills Competition was pretty exciting to watch with this being the second year front court players can participate. And for the second straight year, a big man has won the event. Kristaps Porzingis defeated Gordon Hayward in the finale and it was close. Porzingis clutched the win in the final seconds draining a three on his first attempt while Hayward’s attempt fell just short. Porzingis said after the game he was “happy” to win and this win is “for the bigs”. Great to see some sort of competition between players
Up next was the Three-Point shootout and the defending champion wasn’t up to a defense. Former three-point contest winner Klay Thompson failed to reach the championship round opening with 18 total points. Kyrie Irving, Eric Gordon, and Kemba Walker competed in the final round but Irving and Gordon tied with 20. They faced off in a knockout round to determine and the winner and Eric Gordon just edged by Kyrie Irving finishing with 21 points. Gordon has been a three-point marksman on the Houston Rockets all season and it showed in this contest.
Being brutally honest, I could do without the Dunk Contest. Bad enough we had a name that most experts didn’t even recognize, but the execution was remedial at best. Aaron Gordon, DeAndre Jordon, Glenn Robinson III, and Derrick Jones Jr should be ashamed. Most of the dunks were uninspired and looked like dunks of the past. But the best dunk might have been by Glenn Robinson III who completed a crazy reverse finish over 3 people. Aaron Gordon, who was robbed of winning last year, was believed to be slightly injured and that affected his performance. But all-in-all, the Dunk Contest left a bad taste in the mouth of NBA fans everywhere.
Day Three: NBA All-Star Game
Sunday is looked at as the biggest draw during NBA All-Star Weekend. But after it ended, I was more thankful than disappointed. Players used to compete in these game while still allowing the freedom to pull off All-Star style plays. Now, instead of playing minimal defense until the last minutes of the fourth quarter, players just stand around and watch. We even had Steph Curry lay down on a fast break that saw Giannis Antetokounmpo coming at him full speed. Giannis repaid him by putting Steph on a poster off a nasty tip slam. Can’t blame Steph for not wanting to be dunked on but literally laying down in the paint isn’t the idea of a good time that fans have. The best should be trying to outplay the best not see who can pad their stats the best.
In this game, Anthony Davis broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 42 points in an All-Star game. Davis had 52 points plus 10 rebounds and won the game’s MVP. Westbrook added 41 points for the West while Kevin Durant had the fourth ever triple-double in ASG history. The disappointment came when LeBron was not playing down the stretch in the fourth quarter. He would have made the game a lot more competitive as players always are out to prove they’re better than him. Lebron finished 23 points, Kyrie added 22 points but Giannis Antetokounmpo led the East with 30 points. The 2017 All-Star Game was the highest rated ASG since 2012 but the effort just left more to be desired.