Over the next few days we get a chance to see the NBA’s brightest show off their skills and athleticism in New Orleans for the NBA All-Star Weekend. I spoke with Phil Watson, editor of Golden Gate Sports, as well as Yoni Pollak and Marcus Chavez, co-editors of House of Houston to discuss our favorite all-star weekend events and try and predict a few contest winners.
Q: Who do you think will win this year’s Taco Bell Skills competition?
Phil Watson, Golden Gate Sports: I like Damian Lillard to repeat. If he was good enough to win it as a rookie, there’s no reason why he can’t do it again.
Marcus Chavez, House of Houston: Goran Dragic. Maybe one of the most underrated players in the NBA. Homeboy’s shoulders might be sore from carrying the entire team. He’s as close as it gets when it comes to players that knows when to pass, shoot, or do something stupid. Goran has a Euro step that just won’t stop as well.
Phil Bausk, Chowder&Champions: Damian Lillard. I think Lillard is trying to prove something by competing in all of these events over the weekend. He knows that it basically takes hustle to win this event, and I expect him to try real hard to repeat.
Q: Who do you think will win this year’s Three-Point contest?
Yoni Pollak, House of Houston:Kevin Curry. Steph Love. Ughh…I can’t decide…I’ll take Steph FTW!
Marcus Chavez, House of Houston: Well, let’s go ahead and throw Kevin love out of the mix. He might get injured walking out to the basketball floor. Who else to count out? Well, if they’re in the Eastern Conference you shouldn’t put money on them. It’s that simple. Look, I think the Eastern Conference has talent. And by talent I mean players that could beat me at one on one pick up games. The real talent lies in the West. In the West Stephen Curry is a beast. I’m going with Curry. No one else strikes me as a serious threat.
Phil Bausk, Chowder&Champions: The favorite if Stephen Curry and it has to be. But in recent history, the favorite hasn’t won the three-point shootout. I mean the last four winners were Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, James Jones, and Paul Pierce. Heck Daequan Cook won this event. I am going to go with Bradley Beal as my upset pick. Something tells me he’s going to walk away with the trophy.
Q: Who do you think will win this year’s Sprite Slam Dunk contest?
Marcus Chavez, House of Houston: This thing still exists? Bold prediction, no one wins at this event. How does a player do something that we haven’t seen before? I’m not talking about jumping over a car or putting on a Superman cap. In order for this event to be successful, I’ll need to see someone come out and do something that I have never seen before. Good luck. America, we all lose on this one.
Phil Bausk, Chowder&Champions: John Wall. I think Terrence Ross puts up a valiant effort as the defending champion, but watching Wall dunk before games and knowing how explosive he can be makes me think he is going to show us something special.
Q: Who is going to be the MVP of this year’s All-Star game?
Phil Watson, Golden Gate Sports: Curry. The All-Star Game is the perfect environment for a guy who can handle, pass and shoot. He could put up some huge numbers.
Marcus Chavez, House of Houston: This question was tough, My first instinct is to go with Kevin Durant. Durant’s playing out of his mind this season. It almost like he wants people to know that there are other players in the NBA besides LeBron James. That said, Blake Griffin will get the MVP. Why? Two reasons. First, Griffin is about the show, Griffin never asks for the show, it just comes to him. Secondly, a chip on someones shoulder can weigh heavily if you let it. Think back at the first round of last year’s playoffs, when OKC played Houston. Durant had to be thinking, “[expletive] got real.” As much as I like Durant, I think that he’s going to be trying too hard to prove a point. Griffin plays with a certain flow. It’s a even kill, “let’s get stupid” flow. I think trying too hard in a exhibition game like this means you’re susceptible to playing bad. Griffin doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve. Therefore, Blake, I name you MVP.
Phil Bausk, Chowder&Champions: LeBron James. Yes, not the boldest of picks, but I think with all of the chatter around Kevin Durant and his MVP-caliber season that LeBron wants to remind us why he is the best player on the planet. I am sensing a triple-double and a victory for the East in a game that means nothing anyway.
Q: What player are you most excited to see compete this weekend in any of the aforementioned events?
Yoni Pollak, House of Houston: We know the shooters can light it up during the game, but I prefer the athleticism and the dunks. Blake Griffin come on down!
Phil Watson, Golden Gate Sports: Curry in the All-Star Game. You know he’s going to still have a bit of a chip on his shoulder because he really should have been there a year ago and all he’s done in the past year since is get better and better.
Phil Bausk, Chowder&Champions: Kyrie Irving. He has had a disappointing season so far, but his style of play is great for this type of game. He dribbles the ball likes its on a string and I am sure he is looking to make someone fall over from a crossover. I also hear there is an Uncle Drew video coming out around now, and a flashy game from Irving on Sunday will only help accentuate his “Brand” (Thank you, Damian Lillard).