When: Saturday, February 15th, 2020
Where: United Center,
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: TNT
NBA All-Star Weekend is here and it will take place in Chicago for the first time since way back in 1988. There are three competitions taking place on Saturday night: Skills Challenge, Dunk Contest and Three-Point Contest. We give you a little preview and predictions for each.
NBA All Star Skills Challenge
This is a three-round, bracket-style competition. Players compete head-to-head in an obstacle course that tests their dribbling, passing and shooting skills. The player in each matchup who finishes fastest advances but must make all of his shots. First-round matchups will be determined on Saturday and the field is generally half guards and half big men.
The Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie won the event in 2018 and is the +300 favorite. Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is next at +400 and is the injury replacement for Detroit’s Derrick Rose. Toronto’s Pascal Siakam is +500, while defending champion Jayson Tatum of the Celtics is +600.
Pick: Pascal Siakam
NBA All Star Slam Dunk Contest
The Dunk Contest will probably never be as popular as it used to be, especially the last time it was held in Chicago. That night in 1988, The Bulls’ Michael Jordan beat Dominique Wilkins in arguably the greatest dunk competition in NBA history. Players the caliber of Jordan or Wilkins just don’t compete in this any longer and haven’t for years. The Dunk Contest is two rounds and all four competitors get two ‘made’ dunks in the first round and each player has a maximum of three attempts to complete each. Five judges score every dunk on a scale of 6 to 10, so the high score would be 50.
The biggest-name in this year’s contest is Dwight Howard, but he’s a +500 long shot. The 34-year-old competed in the Dunk Contest from 2007-09 and won it in ’08. Orlando’s Aaron Gordon is the +125 favorite and put on quite a show in 2016 in Toronto but finished second to Zach LaVine. Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. (+200) and Milwaukee’s Pat Connaughton (+400) are the other participants and they don’t even start for their respective teams.
Pick: Aaron Gordon
NBA All Star Three-Point Contest
This is my favorite competition and this year we have two of Sunday’s All-Stars competing in Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Atlanta’s Trae Young. Booker is replacing Portland’s Damian Lillard in both this contest and Sunday’s game as Lillard was injured Wednesday. Brooklyn’s Joe Harris won last year and is +500 to repeat. The league has changed the rules for this year. It used to be five stations of five balls each around the arc with players having 60 seconds to finish. The NBA added 10 seconds and two more shots from six feet behind the arc with both of those shots worth three points each. There’s a fifth ball at four of the five called a “money ball” worth two points. And there’s one station that is “money ball” only. The maximum score is now 40.
Pick: Trae Young