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All-Star Weekend is a time for the NBA to put their best and brightest on display. There isn't a single true NBA fan who doesn't remember Vince Carter's performance in the Slam Dunk Contest. Similarly, who can forget Larry Bird's performance in the Three-Point Shootout, where he famously told everyone before the contest started that they were all playing for second. Then there are all the memories from the Rookie vs. Sophomore game, and the All-Star game itself.
This article tells you which rookies are likely to compete in the All-Star weekend festivities, but does not include the Rookie vs. Sophomore game. So everyone knows where we stand, here is who we think will be participating in the Rookie vs. Sophomore game for the Rookies.
PG: John Wall
SG: Evan Turner, Xavier Henry
SF: Wes Johnson, Paul George
PF: Blake Griffin, Derrick Favors, Tiago Splitter
C: DeMarcus Cousins, Cole Aldrich
It makes sense to get Wall out of the way early, as it's a near certainty that he'll be participating in All-Star Weekend in some capacity. At a minimum, the Rookie Wall expects to see Wall in the Skills Competition. Considering that players like Derrick Rose and Deron Williams, both very fast and slightly bigger guards, have excelled previously, we wouldn't be surprised to see Wall take home the hardware in his first try.
Also, if there is one rookie that we think has a better than 50 percent chance of making the actual All-Star game, it's Wall. The guards in the East are all very talented, but Wall's popularity is incredibly high. Add to that the huge amount of coverage ESPN will give him early in the season, and we think Wall could be voted in as a starter for the Eastern Conference All-Stars.
Slam Dunk Contest
Big men dunking is always exciting, and typically there is one big guy in each year's contest. Derrick Favors has been compared at times to Amar'e Stoudemire, who fared very well in the dunk contest a few years ago. Favors has out-of-this-world athleticism and can definitely throw it down without any trouble at nearly 7' 0." While Favors probably won't get voted into the All-Star game, a strong showing in the dunk contest could definitely put some more eyes on the Nets this season.
While definitely not the most popular event in the world, don't be surprised to see Wesley Johnson in the Shooting Stars event on All-Star Saturday Night. The event has a NBA player, a retired NBA player, and a WNBA player basically try and knock down shots from all over the floor. The reason we think Wes might be involved is because of the teams with lottery picks, Minnesota has a WNBA team, and Johnson has the range to compete.
Much like Wes Johnson, the Clippers' Al-Farouq Aminu happens to play in a city with a WNBA team, so we wouldn't be surprised to see him in the Shooting Stars competition. Obviously it could be Eric Gordon or fellow rookies Willie Warren or Eric Bledsoe, but we have a feeling Aminu will be there for the Shooting Stars.
If he doesn't get the call for Shooting Stars, it'd be great to see him in the H.O.R.S.E. Competition. In the past, this event hasn't really picked up steam, but maybe if they had all rookies involved there would be a relaxed atmosphere where players weren't afraid to try entertaining shots.
Not to mention he has an eye-wear line to promote.
Slam Dunk Competition
Paul George was one of the most versatile players selected in the NBA Draft this year. In his time with Fresno State, Paul showed that he could throw it down, but also step outside and knock it down. What really put him on the map was a huge dunk against St. Mary's, which he called his best college memory. He's got a frame similar to DeMar DeRozan, so it would be interesting to see them match-up. And he's already mentioned that he'd like to participate.
What got him selected in the lottery by the Pacers was his ability to score from all over the court, including from beyond the three-point line. As a freshman he shot nearly 45 percent from deep. While he struggled in Summer League to find his stroke, by midseason we think he'll be on track to compete in the Three-Point Shootout.
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