A guide to the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando.
The spectacle known as NBA All-Star Weekend is ready to descend upon the masses and count me as one of the people who is super pumped for this weekend. I love the NBA and I really love NBA All-Star Weekend. In my humble opinion, when it comes to the all-star activates surrounding the major sports (NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL) the one league that gets it right is the NBA. The entire weekend is an over the top celebration and showcase for the association. Many readers of SB Nation – Kansas City might be new to following the NBA so here is a guide on what to pay attention to during the NBA All-Star Weekend
Rookie vs. Sophomore Game:
This has always been my favorite event of NBA ASW since its inception. This year’s game has a new twist that should improve the game. In years past, the game featured a team of rookie players going against a team of second year players. I liked the way it was and would have been fine if they never changed it. This year they decided the game needed changing and the best way to do it was to have a draft. The NBA put together a pool of rookies and sophomore players and then has TNT and Inside the NBA analyst Charles Barkley and Shaq draft the teams. This idea is pretty genius and one of the best they have thought of in years. The number one reason you need to watch this game is John Wall. The #1 overall pick from the 2011 NBA Draft was selected very, very late in the NBA Rookie/Sophomore draft. The players drafted ahead of Wall were Jeremy Lin, Paul George, MarShon Brooks, Markieff Morris, and Kemba Walker. If there is one guy who is going to take this game very seriously it will be Mr. Wall. I also hope we get to see Kyrie Irving and John Wall in the back court together at some point. With the speed and athleticism of those two guys they are about to go all Mr. Smith on Team Shaq’s. I like Team Chuck to take this game.
This event has only been around since 2003 but has moved up to become the cornerstone event of the Saturday night events. Allow me to give you a quick rundown. This event is essentially a point guard challenge. The players have to execute dribbling exercises in between and around obstacles, execute passes into set up targets and make a few shots along the way. I am really bummed that reigning champ Steph Curry (who I picked to win it last year) is injured and will not be able to defend his title. Maybe Curry can use this time off to get the Adamantium implant surgery so he can finally become Weapon Curry and quit hurting every body part from the knee down.
I am taking Deron Williams to win the crown this year. After him I would pick Kyrie Irving. My dark horse winner is pissed off The Incredible John Wall. Don’t make John Wall angry. You won’t like him when he is angry.
Slam Dunk Contest:
This year’s Slam Dunk does not have the star power like it did last year with Blake Griffin catching bad passes from Baron Davis and jumping over cars. But sometimes situations like this can result in a good contest. There wasn’t a lot known about Jason Richardson when he was in the Slam Dunk contest last year but he produced some of the most entertaining dunks in recent history. Also, allow me to take this opportunity to say that DeMar DeRozen has been robbed the past few years. Unfortunately for us DeRozen is pissed off about this and is done competing in this Slam Dunk Contest. I have not seen a guy get as disrespected in the Dunk Contest that bad since Rudy Gay in 2008.
I am taking Derrick Williams to win the Slam Dunk Contest andChase Budinger to finish second.
3 Point Contest:
This contest does not get the hype of the Slam Dunk Contest but is just as much fun and more competitive. Kevin Durant replaces the now injured Joe Johnson. I look for The Durantula to avenge the poor performance he threw up there last year and take the 3 point contest title.
Home Town Hero – Dwight Howard:
There has been a lot of talk and trade rumors surrounding Dwight Howard’s future in Orlando so what better way to brush those issues aside then having the All-Star Weekend in Orlando. Howard is and will continue to be the face of this team and city for this weekend. I am interested to see if Howard’s fellow Eastern Conference teammates will go out of their way to get him the MVP.
NBA All-Star Game:
The actually NBA All-Star game has been hit or miss when it comes to entertainment level. The game two years ago in Dallas was a snooze fest. Last years was heading toward that same fate until people realized LeBron James was working on a triple-double. That added a lot of buzz to the game. Simply based on the starting line ups, this year’s game looks to have a great balance of high competitiveness and entertainment. We get the chance to see Deron Williams and Dwight Howard at the same time. Good chance it could be a glimpse at two guys who could find themselves as teammates next season. Of course that team would not be the New Jersey Nets.
Enjoy the All-Star festivities and I will do my best to tweet as much as I can about all of the events. Follow me @craig_a_Brenner