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If you just need some NBA action on All-Star weekend… there’s action out there for anyone who wants it.  What makes this entire weekend a success for the league and entertaining for the fan base is that the NBA players are fully engaged in the festivities, unlike other professional sporting all-star events.  This is a good thing for all, as the NBA has grown in viewership over the last two years.

There are several outlets that give the true gamer an opportunity to put some money down on Saturday’s events which include the Slam Dunk competition, the Three Point contest and the Skill Challenge.  Personally I like all three events and find them all entertaining when rolled out in succession of each other.  Some Vegas sites have placed odds on the participants of each event and I find it fascinating, because there’s going to be gamers that are going to take their shot.


The questions is, are we going to be electrified by rookies Dennis Smith Jr. or Donovan Mitchell or someone who’s been doing it for a while like Larry Nance Jr. or repeat contestant Victor Oladipo?  I think all four could win this thing, as they all bring  something unique to the table.  Oladipo (+400) is clearly the most calculated of the bunch… he can do everything already, so don’t be surprised if he pulls out his bag of tricks to reveal a perfect strategy for winning this thing.  Larry Nance Jr. (+265) is clearly the most experienced and possible the most athletic as well.  He’s been doing longer and is trustworthier than the rookies.  Donovan Mitchell (+220) has been the best rookie in the NBA not named Ben Simmons, but I’m not sure how that translates over to the Dunk Competition.  I’ll take a pass this year, but expect a strong showing tonight and in the future.  Dennis Smith Jr. (+170) has been the most electric dunker of the season by far.  He should be the favorite to win as he will surely electrify the crowd.  I’m going with Nance Jr. however as he’s happy in his new situation in Cleveland, is worry and stress free, and should be able to roll out an arsenal of dunks that the everyone will love.


The three-point contest amazes me every year, just because of the rawness, and how good these guys are at shooting the deep ball.  Here is a list of participants below.


Klay Thompson (+210)

Eric Gordon (+450)

Devin Booker (+550)

Paul George (+650)

Wayne Ellington (+700)

Bradley Beal (+750)

Kyle Lowry (+1000)

Tobias Harris (+1100)


Since the three-point contest is seldom won by the leading three-point shooter in the league, OR in the competition the odds are someone whom you are least expecting to win it will win it.  Klay Thompson is the chalky pick here, but he gets as cold as anyone.  Paul George and Bradley Beal are not in their element here, so they are out.  Eric Gordon is the defending champ and repeating is not something I’m willing to consider as a legit possibility.  This is why I love Devin Booker, Kyle Lowry and Wayne Ellington.  Ellington is as smooth as they come, and I just love how the Heat are coached and play situational basketball.  Ellington is just random enough to win this thing.  Kyle Lowry is no slouch either and I expect him to post a top three showing.  He’s as consistent a shooter as anyone in the competition.  I love Devin Booker this year… he’s a middle of the pack contestant, who can get in a rhythm as good as anyone.  His release is quick and conducive for a timed event.  Can’t wait to watch him tonight.


The Skills Challenge is easily the hardest to analyze.  Here are a list of competitors and their odds of winning.  I’m staying away but have at it if it pleases you to do so.


Lou Williams (+350)

Jamal Murray (+400)

Al Horford (+500)

Spencer Dinwiddie (+550)

Joel Embiid (+600)

Buddy Hield (+600)

Lauri Markkanen (+700)

Andre Drummond (+900)


I love both Lou Williams and Lauri Markkanen in this event.  Williams can do it all for the Clippers, and I think that will translate well into this competition.  Lauri Markkanen will not be affected by the big stage – he hasn’t thus far, and he won’t tonight.  He’s the fastest player ever to 100 career three-pointers and he most closely resembles last year’s winner Kristaps Porzingis.  I love Markkanen’s game the same way of loved Dirk Nowitski’s game.  Can’t wait to see this kid’s career unfold.