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 Saturday Night will feature the skills challenge, 3-point challenge and slam dunk contest. I will give my pick for the winner of each event below using the odds found at SportsInteraction.com.
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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’m looking at the long odds because I think this is really anyone’s event to win. My favourite play is Kyle Kuzma at 8/1.
Play: Kuzma 9.00
Steph Curry at odds of 2.10 is awful value. Curry has competed in this event 5 times and has won once. Yes, he’s the best 3-point shooter on the list, but this event simply comes down to who gets hot.
I actually think there is value in Dirk Nowitzki at 28/1. Nowitzki has also won this competition earlier in this career, and his shot is still smooth. In this competition he has no defenders crowding him, so I think he has as good a chance as anyone to get this win. At 28/1 there is definitely value.
Play: Nowitzki 29.00
Slam Dunk Contest
I expect this competition to come down to Dennis Smith Jr. and Miles Bridges. Both of these guys have the hops and athleticism to pull off some fun dunks.
I’ll give my official prediction to Dennis Smith Jr. though at odds of 2.60. He’s been famous for dunks since his teenage years, so I’m sure he will have some fun dunks up his sleeves. There’s also something about shorter guys getting big air on their dunks that impresses judges.
Play: Smith Jr. 2.60