Predicting the All-Star Weekend winners is my number one skill. It’s not like playing the stock market or something where anyone can make guesses that result in huge paydays. It’s an art. Think Antonio Stradivari. He was a master violinmaker the way I am a master All-Star Weekend oracle.
Below are my thoughts and spoilers on the weekend spectacle.
1. Other than that old dude in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I don’t think there’s anyone who’s better at his or her craft than LeBron James. He’s averaging 26/8/7 on 55 percent shooting. That is freaking insane.
With the year Kevin Durant is having, the MVP race should be tight. But no, James has to go and have one of the greatest seasons in league history.
Give me the Team With LeBron James over the Western Conference All-Stars, 205-199 (many things will have to go in my favor for this score to occur, but YOLO).
2. The NBA has done a remarkable job of keeping the All-Star Weekend participants under wraps. I’m writing these words nine days out from the festivities, and there are only whispers about who will compete in the Sears Shooting Stars event.
As stated before, I’m the Nate Silver of All-Star Weekend prediction, but choosing winners without knowing who’s involved makes it slightly more difficult. Challenge accepted, NBA.
3. Steph Curry wins the three-point contest. I would consider giving up my prediction talents in exchange for his jump shot.
4. I didn’t think anything could top the impact the Fast & Furious 6 trailer had on my life, then Carmelo Anthony let it slip that James White will compete in the dunk contest. James White is to dunk contests what Vin Diesel is to movies about ten-second cars.
For an introduction to White, watch the 2006 NCAA Dunk Contest. It’s the best thing ever. What makes White so great is that he basically launches from the free-throw line – or well behind the free-throw line – on every dunk, which is pretty neat.
I’d like to take footage of the ’06 contest back in time with me so I can show it to Elgin Baylor, who’s “the first man to ever play above the rim.” It’d probably cause him to have a stroke.
5. The evolution of Jrue Holiday has been wonderful to watch. With Andrew Bynum eternally hurt, the Sixers have given Holiday full control. He’s now posting 19.4 points, 8.9 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per outing. Toss in his 46 percent clip from the field, and it’s clear why he’ll be suiting up for the East All-Stars.
But it’s not all good in Philly. Holiday has also doubled his turnovers and is taking more long two-point shots than ever before. Those numbers could be products of his enhanced role, but they still need to come down.
6. I’m not done with the Sixers. Had Bynum been healthy (don’t laugh), chances are they’d have two All-Stars. The future of that franchise is riding on his legs.
The good news is that Bynum is expected to come back this month. He’s able to “shoot from stationary positions” and his knees only hurt when he moves, so yeah, I’d say he’s just about ready to go.
If his play’s as amazing as his hair grooming, the Sixers will win every championship.
7. Kyrie Irving is your 2013 Taco Bell Skills Challenge winner. An Irving loss would be the most shocking defeat since… I’m failing to come up with a comparison. Since Erik von Detten lost “Celebrity Mole Hawaii”? I’d be willing to make that claim.
8. The hometown Houston team will win the Sears Shooting Stars contest. Two words: Sam Cassell.
9. Seeing as I don’t know the rosters, I’m blindly taking Charles Barkley’s team in the Rising Stars Challenge. And unless one guy employs an all-point guard draft strategy, Anthony Davis will play with Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio, or Damian Lillard. I predict fun.
10. The MVP of the Sprint Celebrity Game is going to be Arne Duncan. Last year he put up 18 points and eight boards, yet lost the award to Kevin Hart. The politics of this game disgust me.