Friday February 12th
Rookie vs. Sophomore Game:
Make it 8 consecutive wins for the Sophomores… well after Friday night’s game that is. The Sophomores have won the last 7 games and they’ll continue that win streak come Friday night. Look forward to watching this game for all the wrong reasons. The Rookie roster is interesting to say the least, consisting of five guards with four of them being point guards (Harden the one shooting guard), four forwards, and no centers unless you dare to stretch DeJuan Blair as a center at 6’7. On the other hand, the Sophomores have four guards with Russell Westbrook being the only point guard. They also have two forwards and the biggest key for the Sophomores is the addition of three centers. Mismatches will be a nightmare for the young Rookie squad this year and it’ll be interesting to see how everything unfolds. Here’s a few averages to keep in mind while tuning in, the Rookie roster average height/weight is 6’5, 214 pounds. Average size for the Sophomore roster is 6’7, 232 pounds. Just some quick food for thought, disregard positions and take it for what it’s worth.
Even on paper, the Sophomores are bigger, better, and stronger than the Rookies. Clearly this should be a cake walk for the Sophomores and the Rookies only hope is too run the Sophomores out of the gym. One last side note: Brandon Jennings has already said he’s coming for the game’s assists record which is 17 assists held by Chris Paul. The Young Buck better pray Stephen Curry catches fire as if he was back ballin’ at Davidson, but I’d be surprise if Jennings even reaches 10 assists.
Sophomores- 129 Rookies- 103 MVP- Russell Westbrook
While I’m in full support of this new event entering it’s second year, I don’t understand this year’s competition to challenge reigning champion, Kevin Durant. Omri Casspi and Rajon Rondo don’t really seem like player personalities that fit the event. Why not invite a guy like Jamal Crawford? The hands down 6th man of the year winner for the season or give another rookie the chance to participate in All Star Weekend like Ty Lawson? I think the NBA could’ve done a better job selecting this year’s invites. But nonetheless I’m taking the Durantula, Kevin Durant for a second straight victory.
Winner: Kevin Durant
Shooting Stars (In Order of Predicted Finish):
4th Place: Team Sacramento: Tyreke Evans, Chris Webber, Nicole Powell- I have a feeling Team Sacramento is going to struggle with the jumpers and especially the half court shot which is key.
3rd Place: Team Los Angeles: Pau Gasol, Brent Barry, Marie Ferdinand-Harris- Brent Barry scares me, yes he’s old but he still has “stroke-game”, I guess not knowing about Ferdinand-Harris makes me put them in 3rd place. But Brett Barry won’t disappoint and I’m looking forward to watching him drain at least one half-court shot.
2nd Place: Team Texas: Dirk Nowitzki, Kenny Smith, Becky Hammon- By far the best team in the competition and I see them easily advancing to the finals. But I see them losing by a hair in the final round. All three participants for Team Texas are deadly shooters and I have a feeling Becky Hammon’s going to be the one hitting the half courter.
1st Place: Team Atlanta: Joe Johnson, Steve Smith, Angel McCoughtry- Another team full of shooters, I see Team Atlanta spoiling Team Texas’s home performance in the final round. Team Atlanta will barely advance to the finals but like Joe Johnson himself, they’ll quieting impress with a win and head back to Atlanta with the award.
4th Place: Brandon Jennings- By far the most entertaining participant in the event but will far short of advancing after the first round. Hopefully I’m dead wrong because I’d love to see Jennings challenge Rose for the skills competition title but I see him struggling through certain parts of the course, possibly the jump shot (cough). If I had one wish though, I’d love to request a windmill pass attempt at one of the passing stations…I can only hope!
3rd Place: Derrick Rose- He’s so fast and smooth, it looks as if he’s walking through the course. Rose’s demeanor is perfect for the event but now there’s expectations for him to do well, I see him failing to advance. But as long as he treats the fans to a explosive reverse cock back dunk like last year, all is well in Dallas. Of course whether he wins or loses, Derrick Rose will keep the same face and composure as always.
2nd Place: Steve Nash- The event is in Dallas, Steve Nash always brings his “A” game when he visits his former team, so why would it be any different for the All Star game? It won’t be, Nash will dazzle his way to the finals but will fall short to the man who holds the course record.
1st Place: Deron Williams- Like mentioned above, Williams holds the course record and will prove why come Saturday night against the two-time MVP in Nash. Mixed emotions will be felt in Dallas as the Maverick fans remain 50/50 on their support of Steve Nash, I mean can you blame them? Realistically, he could still be a Dallas Maverick. But D-Will steals the show and runs away with the honor.
6th Place: Paul Pierce- All I can say is why? Pierce doesn’t intrigue me as a very qualified candidate for the event, he may hold the best three point percentage on the season compared to the other participants but percentages mean nothing come Saturday night. Pierce may be disqualified by falling over the line on every shot, not only does Pierce not elevate on his shot, he nearly falls over every time he shoots from deep.
5th Place: Channing Frye- Not only has Frye cooled off on the Suns, but he’ll be a bit too cool in the event as well. Frye’s a guy who must step into his shot, he won’t be successful shooting off a rack. One advantage Frye might have on his competitors is practice, along with Gallinari, both players practice their outside game as much as anybody else in the league.
4th Place: Danilo Gallinari- Slow start, hot finish. Gallo a.k.a. “The Rooster” will struggle early on in the racks but once he finds that rhythm, lights out. Gallinari has a special soft touch from the perimeter and it’ll be fun to watch him put it on full display. He’ll have a very respectable outing, but will fall short of the final round.
3rd Place: Stephen Curry- Following in his father’s footsteps, Curry will shine, but not shine bright enough come the semi-finals. I see Curry having the best score in the initial round which will end up haunting him being the leader going into the next round. I see Billups and Cook (who go before him) putting enough pressure on the young shooter to match their scores that he’ll think too much about handling his own business.
2nd Place: Chauncey Billups- The long time veteran, maybe not of the contest but of the game will find a way to make it to the finals. If you haven’t noticed by now Billups is a winner, nobody can argue that, the man knows how to put himself in a position to win. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t qualify for the final round and wouldn’t be surprised to see him win the event as well.
1st Place: Daequan Cook- Despite his sluggish season and shooting numbers, I got to go with my gut feeling. Last year Dwyane Wade rocked a band-aid near his eye as if he was Nelly, this year after this contest, Wade will be wearing one on his broken heart. Why is it that Cook can hit them so well off the rack but can’t knock ‘em down when Wade draws a double team? Very good question, but without question I’m going with Daequan, I can’t go against the guy I chose last year as well. He is costing Wade and his fellow Heat teammates opportunities to win games but he hasn’t done me wrong yet. After all I did say, percentages on the year mean nothing come Saturday night.
Slam Dunk Contest:
5th Place: Eric Gordon- When I first saw his name on the list, I had to scroll up to double check if I was indeed on the Slam Dunk page not the Three Point Contest. Yeah, Gordon’s got a little bounce in his game but no where near enough to contend with the rest of this year’s competition.
4th Place: Gerald Wallace- Not known for being a showmen, Wallace must find a way to become an entertainer in the dunk contest. My advice for Wallace is to use his nickname to his advantage, CRASH. Bring out some break through material and jump through it like a ring of fire! Or maybe since he’s such a tremendous rebounder, maybe he should simply bring out D.J. Augustin to shoot some casual three pointers and he can use Augustin’s bricks as tip slams. But the likely hood of all that happening is just as likely as Wallace winning the competition.
3rd Place: Nate Robinson- Hip, hip, hooray!!! This will be lil’ Nate’s last time in the dunk contest, it’s time for something new and other than outfits, Nate offers nothing fresh. I have nothing against Nate as a player or as a participant but he’s unfairly won the past two years. I’m still currently, upset that Iguodala didn’t take home the honors two years ago.
2nd Place: Shannon Brown- The hype surrounds Shannon Brown this year. After a successful season with the Lakers last year and the variety of highlight worthy dunks to go along with that, all eyes will be on Brown. I see Brown pulling out some crazy stuff but not as crazy as the athleticism of his biggest competitor.
1st Place: DeMar DeRozan- Although he hasn’t been able to put his dunking ability on full display thus far this season. DeRozan will bring his “A” game come Saturday night and do what he does best. Having been a part of the same showcase events DeRozan was at growing up, I know DeRozan has a lot to offer the NBA World this weekend. From what I’m hearing he’s got something special planned and has been preparing well. Can’t go against his word…Be on the lookout for Jennings to help him in the contest, both grew up together in Compton, they’re both comfortable working with one another. It should be a special night for DeRozan.
2010 NBA All Star Game:
While it’s going to be an historic night inside Cowboy Stadium with an all-time NBA All Star attendance record, the game itself won’t be the same. A sour taste was left in my mouth after hearing the news that Kobe Bryant wasn’t going to be able to participate. How can you truly say it’s a good All Star game when arguably the games best player’s not even playing? I mean really, it’s going to be like the old NBA Live days when Michael Jordan wasn’t featured in the game. But on the bright side one improvement was made yesterday as David Lee replaced Allen Iverson in the game. With all the injuries I don’t know to expect from both teams, but I’m going to take the Western Conference to prevail in this years game.
West- 126 East- 115 MVP- Amare Stoudemire
With Kobe out, the availability of more shots open up, someone will get a handful of those, my pick is Stoudemire. Not only does STAT have his point guard on the floor but winning the MVP can only help his case for a big free agency deal this offseason. While Carmelo Anthony and hometown hero Dirk Nowitzki pose the biggest competition for a Western All Star MVP chase. I see Amare Stoudemire going after this year’s top honor as the Western Conference takes down the East in this years game.