We’re just over a week away from the best All-Star weekend in sports (in my opinion). Quite possibly the best, and most competitive parts of the weekend are not the games, but the Three-Points Shootout and, especially, the Slam Dunk Contest. Let’s rundown the competitors for both challenges for next weekend’s break.
First, the Slam Dunk Contest.
Pacers’ Gerald Green dunks over Samardo Samuels. (Associated Press/Tony Dejak)
James White – White guaranteed he would win the contest if he was given a chance, now the New York Knick has to prove it. He’s 30-years-old, but he’s a legendary dunker. It’ll be interesting to see if he can still perform at the high level of dunking that he once did.
Jeremy Evans – Won the mediocre (at best) dunk contest in 2012. He’s back this year, with a little bit stiffer competition.
Terrence Ross – Ross can dunk, and he’s only a rookie.
Eric Bledsoe – He’s only 6’1”, but with Blake Griffin (maybe?) by his dunk is bigger than his stature.
Kenneth Faried – One of the most athletic big guys in the league. Can’t wait to see Manimal in this contest, and he may just be my pick to win it.
Gerald Green – Remember the cupcake dunk in 2008? Blowing out the candle? Yeah, that’s this guy. He won it in 2007 and models his dunk after Vince Carter.
And now, here’s your lineup for the Three-Points shootout
Stephen Curry – Curry is the leader of the under-the-radar Golden State team that lights up the scoreboard with, well, a whole lot of threes. He’s shot 45 percent from beyond the arc this season.
Ryan Anderson – Anderson will make another appearance in the dunk contest, this time with a new team. He’s shot a career 39 percent from three-point te
Kyrie Irving celebrates his three-pointer. One of many for the league’s best sophomore in 2012-13. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Steve Novak – A three-point specialist for the Knicks who comes of the bench to contribute, mostly whenever injury has hampered those in front of him. Novak has a sweet stroke (especially on NBA 2K13, believe me), and he’s shot 44.4 percent from three-point range this season.
Kyrie Irving – It’ll be exciting to see this sophomore who dominated in the Freshman vs. Sophomore game last season. Irving is hitting two three-pointers per game on average. His jumpshot is no doubt one of the best in the game.
Matt Bonner – Bonner is a surprising contestant, considering he’s only averaged 12 minutes a game. However, he does average 1.1 three-pointers per game. It’s obvious his top asset is the shot from beyond the arc.
Paul George – George has killed it in 2012-13 and has shot 38 percent from three-point land in two consecutive seasons now. I don’t think he’ll win it, but it’s good he’s getting recognition on the big stage.He’s been the centerpiece for the Pacers all season long.
If you asked me my picks, I’d take Terrence Ross in the dunk contest and Kyrie Irving — my favorite player other than LeBron James — from beyond the arc, but who knows in these things. The three-point contest is so fluky — you just cna’t predict if one of these guys is going to be hot or not. Nonetheless, it’s a fun event, and I’ll surely be paying more attention to these competitions than I do the NFL’s Pro Bowl.
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