Rising Stars Draft and 7 Reasons to Love 2012 NBA All-Star Festivities

Ethan Norof@ethan_norofCorrespondent IFebruary 16, 2012

Rising Stars Draft and 7 Reasons to Love 2012 NBA All-Star Festivities

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    The 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando promises to be a good time, and now that Jeremy Lin will be involved, there is no doubt that it will be more heavily watched than it would have been previously.

    There are a number of events during the weekend outside of the actual game, and oftentimes those can add significant intrigue to the break in the midst of the regular season.

    It's about time we saw Mitch Richmond back out on the floor, isn't it?

Rising Stars Draft

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    No longer the rookie vs. sophomore game, there is a new format this season, which will provide an intriguing element to the event.

    With Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal running the show, each will be drafting his own team from the mixed pool of players this time around.

    Guys like Greg Monroe, John Wall and Ricky Rubio will be up for grabs, and if nothing else, it should be very fun to see how the change pans out.

All-Star Game

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    There is a lot of criticism for the lack of defense played in the All-Star game, but this is an event where fans want to see offense.

    With all of the talent headed to the game in Orlando, it should make for a close, high-scoring affair between the Eastern and Western Conference.

    It's a great opportunity for fans to see players that they normally wouldn't going head-to-head, and that is what it's about—the fans.

Legends Returning

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    It's always nice to see some legends get back onto the hardwood in the Haier Shooting Stars competition.

    While some look like they could still get out and play today, others have shown that they haven't played much basketball since walking away from the game.

    For some it's a nostalgic moment, and for others it's a great chance to laugh at some old-timers trying to find the bottom of the net.

    It's entertainment either way.

Three-Point Shootout

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    The three-point field this season is questionable at best, but the league did manage to get one thing right: the inclusion of Anthony Morrow.

    It'll be very interesting to watch a field that includes two power forwards, but the real thing to watch will be how many treys Morrow can sink from deep.

    He's almost automatic when left unguarded, and a career 44.2 percentage from downtown bodes well for his chances of success in the contest.

Skills Challenge

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    Fundamentals aren't appreciated like they once were for many hoop heads, but the Taco Bell Skills Challenge does more than just promoting the fast food chain.

    A point guard has won the event in every season since 2008, and it will be interesting to see who stands out of the pack in 2012.

    It doesn't take a lot of time, nor does it cause the building to explode in excitement, but it is a nice Saturday appetizer to the main course served up on Sunday.

Celebrity Game

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    No Justin Bieber this season? Good.

    Common will suit up, Vinny Guadagnino of Jersey Shore will get a chance to show what he can do and Penny Hardaway will be playing in the game.

    There is no word on if Lil' Penny will make a guest appearance.

    I hope someone challenges Doug Gottlieb and gets right in his grill on the defensive end.

    That would be some seriously great television.

Dunk Contest

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    There is no doubt that the league missed the boat with the field of competitors this season.

    No disrespect meant to Chase Budinger, Iman Shumpert, Derrick Williams or Paul George, but those are not the types of players the casual fan wants to see in the contest.

    However, that doesn't mean that it won't be a spectacle to watch.

    Although some might be turned off by the participants in the field, there is some serious athleticism, and that could result in some unorthodox, crowd-pleasing dunks.

    If nothing else, we know that these young guys will be out to prove that each deserves their spot.

    They'll be looking to put on a good show.