It’s All-Star weekend in the NBA and it started last night. The All-Star festivities kick off with the celebrity game. Which I don’t think I’ve ever watched, but I’m guessing someone does because they keep having it. The other event on Friday night is the Rising Stars game. The roster for this game are compiled of first and second year players and they’re divided into a Team U.S. And a World Team. This game is pretty much the younger guys version of the actual All-Star game is there is no defense at all played. Case in point last night the World Team beat the U.S. Team 150-141. When this game first started I watched a little of it until I realized that it was a joke and they where only interested in seeing how many points they could score and it wasn’t any actual basketball game.
Moving on to the three Saturday events which are a little more entertaining. There’s the Skills Challenge which they ruined for me last year with the changes they made. I understand that they wanted the big men in the competition, but they way they adjusts things for them really ruined the competition.
Here are the players competing in the Skills Challenge.
Kristaps Porzingis (New York Knicks), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets), Isaiah Thomas (Boston Celtics) , Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), John Wall (Washington Wizards) and Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns). Jokic is replacing Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers who is out injured.
Then there’s the 3-point competition which is easily the best of all the events they have on Saturday.
Here are the players you’ll see competing in the 3-point shooting competition.
Defending champion Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors) is back to try and repeat. He’ll be competing against Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers) C.J. McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets), Wesley Matthews (Dallas Mavericks) and Nick Young (Los Angeles Lakers)
Then there is the Slam Dunk Contest which use to be the marquee event of the evening, but has really lost it’s luster when the bigger stars in the NBA no longer wanted to compete in it. Zach LeVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves had brought some interest back to the contest the last couple of years and his battle with Aaron Gordon last season was one of the best dunk contest there have ever been. While Gordon is back to compete and LeVine was going to try and defend his title he was injured and is out for the season.
He are the players in this years Slam Dunk Contest.
Aaron Gordon (Orlando Magic), DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers), Glen Robinson III (Indiana Pacers) and Derrick Jones Jr. (Phoenix Suns).
How much of All-Star Saturday night do you watch?
Then there is the All-Star game itself. It’s the 66th NBA All-Star game and they’re in New Orleans this time. The game is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m. cst and it’s on TNT. Someone has to explain to me why you’d watch this game. Is it really that interesting to see these guys ply together. The only thing that I want to know if it happens or not is if will see Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder on the court with the four Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry who are on the Western Conference All-Star team, but that’s not enough to make me tune in. Are you going to watch?
In trade rumors that don’t involved Carmelo Anthony it appears as though the Detroit Pistons are in talks with the Orlando Magic to trade point guard Reggie Jackson. The deal as it’s being reported has Jackson going to the Magic for point guard D.J. Augustin and forward Jeff Green. Jackson name had came up in trade rumors early in the season that had him going to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Rickey Rubio. Those trade rumors prompted Pistons coach and team president Stan Van Gundy to publicly proclaim that Jackson wouldn’t be dealt to Minnesota. There is also a report that if Jackson is available the New Orleans Pelicans would be interested in acquiring him. There where no names reported in a Pistons/Pelicans deal for Jackson.
Jackson is 26 and in the second year of a five-year; $80 million dollar deal with the Pistons. Jackson is averaging 15.2 points and 5.6 assists, but the Pistons are just 16-20 with him in the line up. Now Jackson missed the first 21 games of the season when he was suffering from persistent knee tendinitis. While Jackson was out the Pistons went 11-10.
It seems as though Detroit would like to move on from Jackson and use Ish Smith as there staring point guard. In and interview earlier in the week Van Gundy was quoted as saying “We found a groove with Ish. And when Reggie came back, it has been a big adjustment.” Van Gundy also acknowledged “Reggie came back, and we’ve struggled ever since.”
Detroit is currently in 8th place in the Eastern Conference at 27-30, but they where expecting to compete for a top playoff spot and have a home court advantage in a series or two. The Pistons are just one game behind the Chicago Bulls for the 7th spot in the conference, but they are also just one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks who are in 9th place while the Miami Heat are in 10 place just two games behind the Pistons. With the trade deadline coming up on Thursday will have to see if Jackson is still with the Pistons after that.
The NHL has ruled that Antoine Vermette will be suspended 10 games for the slashing incident with a linesman Shandor Alphonso in the Anaheim Ducks 1-0 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. The NHL announced the decision on Thursday. That was just a day after Vermette had a disciplinary conference call with the league and the players’ union. The NHLPA has notified the league that it will appeal the suspension. Is 10 games enough or too much for Vermette?
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