Saturday, February 14, 2009


2009 NBA All-Star post

I plan a later post dedicated to the current status of the NBA where I will look at image, audience and growth potential; but this weekend marks the 58th NBA All-Star game. By all measures, the NBA is by far my favorite sport. I grew up playing the game (I peaked in 6th grade) and one of the most rewarding things I've done was when I coached 7th grade girls, back in 1999. So let's talk NBA. All though the hoopla has died down a bit when it comes to All-Star weekend, the nuts and bolts are still in tact and it still provides an enjoyable Saturday night.

Rookie/Sophomore Game:
Friday night we saw Kevin Durant put up 46 in the Rookie/Sophomore game. It marked the seventh straight win for the Sophomores, which makes sense. They've had an extra year in the NBA. They probably played the previous year's R/S game. Nothing new in this game.

Haier Shooting Stars:
Will the San Antonio Spurs defend their title? Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Becky Hammon posted a time of 35.8 seconds last year. San Antonio also won in 2006, albeit with a different team, where they set the event record of 25.1 seconds.

I think this is one of the more enjoyable events. It's nice to see the NBA partner with the WNBA and also bring in a legend/hall of fame player. Despite the fact that I love watching Bill Laimbeer shoot, I think I will have to go with the home team this year, the Phoenix Suns. Leandro Barbosa, Tangela Smith and "Thunder Dan," Dan Majerle make up a great team. Both Barbosa and Majerle can shoot, Smith is a solid contributor as well. I'm going Phoenix.

2009 Playstation Skills Competition:
Last year's winner, Deron Williams, isn't participating and Jameer Nelson (my original pick) is out due to injury.
Devin Harris, Tony Parker, Derek Rose & Mo Williams make up this year's roster. This event, while the premise is great, doesn't seem to live up to the hype that it should. You're showcasing the fundamentals of basketball - dribbling, passing and shooting. What's not to love? It was fun to watch when Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Jason Kidd were doing it, but none of these participants excite me. I'll go Tony Parker, simply because he's the best PG out of the group. No rationale behind it. Wouldn't you have liked to see Magic, Bird, Stockton, Mark Price partake in this event? Fundamentals at their core!

Foot Locker 3-Point Shootout:
Not a big fan of this either. It's based a lot of who's hot at the current moment. Jason Kapono has won the past two years. I'm going upset and taking Roger Mason. Mike Bibby and Rashard Lewis pose no threat, Daequan Cook doesn't do anything for me. Danny Granger, while a stud, could be the surprise champion, but Mason is on fire this year. Although he's a .399% 3pt shooter, he's shooting .450% this year. Let's go with him.

I love this idea. Glad they implemented it. Let's hope it lives up to its potential. O.J. Mayo, Joe Johnson and Durant are the three participants. Mayo can't shoot, so it should be between Durant and Johnson. I think Johnson dominates and puts on a clinic. He's the best shooter and since dunking is out, Durant and Mayo don't have a chance. Johnson wins and doesn't get more than a "H". Let's hope the NBA brings this back next year.

Sprite Slam Dunk Contest:
The reason we watch. It's the home run of the NBA. What every young NBA fan wishes they could do. "Can you dunk?" is the measure of a kid growing up.

Last year Dwight Howard put on a dominant performance. I think his "sticker" dunk was the most impressive, despite the judges not giving him the proper scores. He'll win again mainly because this year's crop is rather weak.

Nate Robinson - Anyone else tired of watching him? Great, you're 5-9 and can dunk. Not taking anything away from that, but you have no chance of winning. You're no Spud, so quit trying. You shouldn't have won in 2006. Because of you, if you miss more than 1 attempt, your turn should be up. Don't participate next year.

JR Smith and Rudy Fernandez make up the final two competitors. Smith is alright, nothing fancy. If anyone upsets Howard, I think it's Smith. Fernandez is the "sexy" pick, but I don't know if he has the creativity and power that's needed. You won't win with alley oops, you just won't. Not when Howard is bring the thunder.

Howard repeats, although it won't be as impressive as last year.

Sunday night's 58th NBA All-Star Game:
It'll be a defensive struggle, probably 64-59! Kidding, no one plays defense, the game is rather boring. I'll go with the West because of CP3, Kobe and Duncan. Throw in Amare and Yao and you have a nice lineup. But it's the All-Star game, so who knows. I'll go with Kobe as MVP.

All in all, I think this year's schedule provides a lot of entertainment. While the festivities have lost some of their luster over the years, I still Love the Game.

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