The NBA All-Star weekend does their skills competitions the right way. They keep them consistent year to year and bring in guys who actually want to compete rather than forcing players to perform one or two skills. This keeps the competitions entertaining and competitive, and allows you to compare results from year to year.
This year the All-Star Festivities will all take place on Sunday Night. The Skill Challenge will kick things off at 6:30pm EST, with the 3-Point Contest following. Then the actual NBA All-Star Game will tip-off at 8pm EST with the Slam Dunk Contest taking place at half-time. I will give my pick for the winner of each skills competition event below using the odds found at SportsInteraction.com.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
The skills challenge is a relay race involving some dribbling, a pass, a layup, and a 3-point shot. It typically comes down to the 3-pointer with the faster player possibly getting up an extra shot. Basically it comes down to clutch shooting and a lot of luck.
I really think anyone can win this event, so I’m looking at the longer odds players. I like Sabonis or Vucevic at 5-1 each. Both are tall guys who can move and are no strangers to shooting threes. Officially I’ll go with Vucevic.
Play: Vucevic 6.00
Devin Booker and Stephen Curry have both won this competition before, so it’s no surprise they are the co-favourites at 2-1 odds each. That said, neither guy has won a second time even though they have had opportunity, so I think it’s really anyone’s game this year as well.
I like Donovan Mitchell at odds of 5-1. He’s having a monster year and even though your in-game shooting doesn’t necessarily translate to the 3-point contest, I think he has shown the ability to get in a groove and take his game to the next level in the clutch, which is what will be needed in this competition.
Slam Dunk Contest
I’m going to stick with my theory that the players are basically on an even playing field in each of these skills comps. Cassius Stanley is the favourite here, but I will be going with Obi Toppin to come out with some dunks we’ve never seen before and win the competition at half-time.
Play: Topping 3.50
I actually love this condensed All-Star Weekend to go along with the condensed NBA regular season. The Slam Dunk contest will be a better half-time show than any musical act the NBA could have found to fill the time slot.
You can find all of these NBA All-Star weekend odds and many others at SportsInteraction.com by opening the ‘Basketball’ drop down menu and select ‘NBA Props’.