NBA All Star Weekend has been condensed into one day this year, but what isn’t going to change is another Team LeBron victory.
All Star Game
The starting line-up for Team LeBron is fierce, with King James selecting Giannis, Steph, Luka and Jokic to start alongside him – a scary five. With KD selecting but not able to play due to a hamstring injury, on paper Team LeBron has five of the six best players on the floor.
Throw in Damian Lillard off the bench and they’re clearly the better team – but this is an All Star Game so the first three quarters won’t matter.
But when the whips get cracking in the last five minutes, expect Team LeBron to be too good.
All Star MVP
Easy to take either LeBron or Giannis as joint favourites, but LeBron may only play the 15-20 minutes with the minutes he’s had to play since July last year.
With that in mind, expect Damian Lillard who didn’t play last year due to injury to play 25+ minutes and if he can catch fire he’ll be in the mix.
LeBron expressed in the lead-up that Lillard is disrespected as a player, so could this steer the All Star vote in Lillard’s favour.
Assuming it’s from the winning team and LeBron does the bare minimum (until it gets competitive) we’re looking at players that shoot bulk triples or get bulk dunks – in that case I’m narrowing it down to Giannis, Curry or Lillard, so the Wolf’s taking the value.
Slam Dunk Contest
Only three entrants in the dunk comp this year, with Cassius Stanley (who!?) the $1.67 favourite. Stanley is in there for a reason – he can get up, but what’s the fun of taking a $1.67 no name?
In a three-horse race I’m taking Anfernee Simons at $6.50. The Portland guard is bouncy and appears to have more flare than Knicks Power Forward Obi Toppin, who’s probably more of an aggressive ‘power’ dunker.
We should expect Stanley, but Simons at $6.50 appears overs.
These big men take pride in the Skills Challenge, with a 6’8 plus athlete winning four of the last five.
Last year Bam Adebayo beat Domantas Sabonis, with the Pacers’ big man paying $8 to win it this year – but the Wolf is taking Julius Randle.
At the end of the day there’s an element of luck as to who’s making shots late, but in the theme of big men winning the Skills Challenge the Wolf likes the $6.50 on offer for the Knick who has been outstanding this season.
Let’s add some data behind the three-point contest. Here are the numbers from the last 10 games from behind the arc of each participant.
- Steph Curry 36/101 – 35.6%
- Zach LaVine 35/76 – 46.1%
- Donovan Mitchell 29/89 – 32.6%
- Jayson Tatum 22/75 – 29.3%
- Jaylen Brown 20/59 = 33.9%
- Devin Booker – 17/48 – 35.4%
Steph Curry will enter for the 7th time, but has only won the event once while this will be Devin Booker’s 5th event winning in 2018 when he broke the all-time record with 28/34 points in a round.
Zach LaVine is the other who has entered before, just missing out on the Finals with 17 makes.
It’s hard to translate recent shooting form into a 3-point contest, but that’s what I’m going to do! Curry is the obvious pick at $2.88, but does he really care? I’m taking LaVine at $4.50.