Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE
The All-Star Weekend is crazy every year. I remember when it was just the Legends game, three point and dunk contests, and then the game itself. Over time we've seen a ton of changes to the rules of each game, and which games are actually in them, if at all. Clark and Andy did a whole podcast on the subject, which you should have already listened too -- but you can get it here. Let me break down each night of the All-Star festivities, and which Utah Jazz players should be going to Houston.
- D-League Dream Factory Friday Night: --
- NBA All-Star Weekend Celebrity Game: Greg Ostertag
- Rising Stars Challenge: Enes Kanter, and Alec Burks
The rising stars challenge's new format further makes it harder for the teams to be equal or even picked by the right people. Last season the Jazz were represented by Derrick Favors (due to injury) and Gordon Hayward. There is a dearth of good, young bigmen -- but I think Kanter is a shoe in. He is huge, he plays offense and defense. He's absolutely schooled so many starters this year -- and he finishes inside. He's not a bigman who takes jumpers. He's not a beast like Andre Drummond (rookie), but I think he's worthy of making that game.
Burks is more of the type of guy who should be in the game -- he can make threes, he has good handles, and he gets up there for dunks and rebound dunks. But he really hasn't played much this season, and could easily be forgotten. Which sucks.
The really "cool" thing would be to see Ostertag in the celebrity game. He's a big guy, goofy, from Texas, and some random former NBA players sometimes are seen in this game. Oh yeah, and Ostertag has his own IMDB page, so he's kinda a celebrity too.
- D-League All-Star Game: --
- Shooting Stars Competition: --
- Skills Challenge: --
- Three-Point Shootout: Randy Foye
- Slam Dunk Contest: Jeremy Evans
Bereft of Texas pg Myck Kabongo (next year . . . next year), we really don't have anyone to put in the Skills Challenge. And we don't even have a WNBA team anymore, so no Shooting Stars team for us either. (I still love you Jennifer Azzi) The big thing is that Randy Foye HAS to be in the three point contest this year. Numerically, he's right there in three point % (NBA Rank #6, 43.7 3pt%), and three point makes (NBA Rank #7, 93). I'm sure everyone has a more popular player (Matt Bonner, Damian Lillard) or player on a more popular team (Golden State Warriors -- Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry) that they're rather see. But Foye is due this year. (Best super-specialist contract year ever?)
Check out this vid from @ProdigyJF
And well, Jeremy Evans won the contest last year. It wasn't the best win ever -- but once someone won the Three Point contest with a final round score of 13 or 14. You don't have to be the best ever, just the best that year. And Evans was last year. And thus, he's a legit champion. And all champions have to be allowed to defend their crown. That's the only reason I need -- but it may not be the only reason needed to change peoples' minds. Evans is still awesome at dunking. He never plays, but when he does -- good things happen.
In the Off-season his physical work outs had him touching 12'5" before this season started.
And hey, as the Dunk Contest winner he spent part of his off-season going around Latvia doing NBA promotional work. That's another reason to let him come back to defend his crown. Seriously. Latvia.
- NBA All-Star Game: Al Jefferson
This is the easiest out of all these picks. Big Al is an All-Star this year. The Jazz are the #7 team in the West (no one thought they'd be there, especially after starting the season on the road for 12 of the first 18, and spending the last month without Mo Williams -- seriously, we're #7 in the West starting Jamaal Tinsley right now). The only Western Conference F, F/C, C/F, or Cs who are scoring more points than him this year are: Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, David Lee, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, DeMarcus Cousins, and Tim Duncan. Durant and Griffin are locks, so that puts Big Al in a pool against guys like LaMarcus, David, Kevin, DeMarcus, and Tim. And I like those odds.
Duncan may be an All-Star but be 'injured' around that time. Dwight Howard is another west big who is selected to start, but right now he's playing like he's injured. DeMarcus is playing on a team with zero wins, so he's also out. So the pool is even smaller now.
- LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers): 20.5 / 8.9 / 2.5 / 1.3 / 1.0
- David Lee (Golden State Warriors): 19.6 / 10.8 / 3.7 / 0.2 / 0.9
- Zach Randolph (Memphis Grizzlies): 16.2 / 11.6 / 1.3 / 0.5 / 0.8
- Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves): 18.3 / 14.0 / 2.3 / 0.5 / 0.7
- Al Jefferson (Utah Jazz): 17.3 / 9.8 / 2.1 / 1.1 / 0.9
LMA is having a nice season, but he should, he's playing 38.0 mpg. He's also a big who does not play like a big, so I'm less hot on him than other NBA fans. Portland's not a playoff team. David Lee -- GSW are winning games so that's good, and he's a double double dude and passing well. So I guess he's in. Z-Bo's team is also winning games, he rebounds well, but is inferior in all the other spots compared to the average for these five guys. He's a former All-Star though, so that may be something. Kevin Love will make it too, despite Minny not being a playoff team this year -- even if he's injured. Or maybe not. 18 and 14 is All-Star to me, even if you are injured. And then we come to Al. Al is the only guy here who actually plays center.
If the team has Dwight Howard (who is scoring less than Big Al) they may not feel the need to get another big. They may go and give Tim Duncan the nod, and if he declines -- why not give the spot to Tim Duncan's devotee in Big Al? I don't know . . . I think the San Antonio Spurs owe us one. Ha ha.
When you look at the West's 12th spot, their 2nd wild card spot, I don't see why not give it to Big Al. Hey, it's his contract year too!
And Al is dunking this year too!
Who should go?
Big Al (All-Star) (11 votes)
Jeremy Evans (Dunk Contest) (30 votes)
Randy Foye (Three Point) (20 votes)
Enes Kanter (Rookie / Soph Game) (12 votes)
Alec Burks (Rookie / Soph Game) (7 votes)
Greg Ostertag (Celeb Game) (8 votes)
88 total votes