There's reason to believe we're about to see one heck of an NBA All-Star Weekend. Finally, stars are starting to drop the "I'm-too-established-for-the-dunk-contest" attitude.
You read that right. In case you hadn't heard, the official name of the New Orleans Pelicans arena is now the Smoothie King Center.
The dunk contest and other events are simply the appetizers for the All-Star Game on Sunday. When the best—and most healthy—players in the NBA take the court in those horrible jerseys, we'll see the final leg of the best All-Star showcase in professional sports.
Three players in the game stand out to me as major candidates for the MVP Award. There's no need to spout off a ton of statistics to argue the case for these guys. Everyone in New Orleans is a talented player.
Winning the MVP of the All-Star Game is about motivation.
This might seem like a pick that comes out of nowhere, but there's reason to think the Wizards' budding superstar will play extremely well.
Wall is a proud young player who is eager to be considered elite in the NBA. He's likely licking his chops with an opportunity to shine on the biggest stage he's been on in his career.
Take a look at this classy tweet Wall released after learning the coaches had selected him as a reserve for the Eastern Conference team.
Remember, Wall has yet to play in a playoff game. This is a big deal to Wall, and he's going to play like he wants to hoist that trophy at the end of the game.
KD has been as hot as any player in the league. He's seemingly done everything he can to keep the spotlight on his team rather than his individual accomplishments.
That said, the All-Star Game is about shining individually.
No matter how humble he is, you better believe Durant wants to be known as a player equal—or better—than the Miami Heat's LeBron James.
Competitors like Durant and James can't turn their competitive juices off. In the second half, Durant will be looking to stand above every other star in the game.
If he gets hot, KD can shoot his way to an MVP.
There's a little something to James' recent comments about being "jealous" of Durant's shot attempts. James also recently told ESPN's Brian Windhorst, he believes he should be the Defensive Player of the Year.
Is the world's best player feeling a little under appreciated these days? It sure sounds like it.
LeBron isn't likely to start jacking up shots at a crazy pace to prove he can outscore Durant. On defense, it's almost impossible for him to do more for the Heat than he already does.
He could guard Wall one night and check the Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin the next.
James is maxed out there.
That said, he might use the All-Star Game as his personal showcase. He could engage Durant in an amazing back-and-forth battle to the delight of millions of NBA fans.
Because of his ability to dominate the game in a variety of ways, James could win the All-Star Game MVP of his career.
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