NBA All-Star Weekend: 10 Thoughts from a Successful Weekend

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(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Pictured: Eastern Conference All Stars

With the All-Star Game behind us, there are just a few days left until the NBA returns to action. I'll dive into some futures at some point before play resumes, but first, here are 10 thoughts from NBA All-Star Weekend:

  1. A team of NBA players lost to a team of G League players on Friday night when Team Pau lost to Team Detlef. The NBA players lost primarily because they got dominated on the offensive glass. This also taught us a lesson about the importance of effort. The G League players certainly had more to prove, so it'll be interesting to see if this is an anomaly or a trend going forward.
  2. The makings of a great skills competition are in place. The three-team concept is great, and a passing and shooting relay contest is the right way to go. I also really enjoyed having three (theoretically) competitive teams. I think having a prize is the best way to get teams to care a little more, or else we might see the only team with real motivation (the home team) continue winning.
  3. Stephen Curry vs. Sabrina Ionescu was amazing, and if Ionescu had been in the NBA 3-point contest, she'd have won. I’m hoping to do some WNBA content next season, and this got me extremely hyped.
  4. Trae Young hit all nine of his money balls in round one of the 3-point contest. Nobody had done that in the past four seasons. With a growing number of incredible 3-point shooters, we are going to continue to see better performances going forward. Betting overs in this competition is probably the way to go.
  5. The three finalists in the 3-point contest — Young, Damian Lillard and Karl Anthony-Towns — had each previously fared well in the competition. This was at least the second time each had made the finals. History should be considered a strong indicator in this contest.
  6. Mac McClung’s first dunk was insane and immediately joined the pantheon of the greatest dunks I can remember. However, because he took two attempts, he was given a lower score. If the goal of the dunk contest is for players to do things that haven't been done — which it should be — then judges should reward innovation more than immediate perfection. Instead, they made the contest somewhat embarrassing.
  7. Speaking of which, Jaylen Brown’s dunks were bad. The fact that he covered his eyes after he landed was particularly bad. It seemed as if the judges were excited that an All-Star was in the contest, so they boosted his score. It’s not his fault he got a high score, but if the goal is innovation, we shouldn’t be rewarding retread dunks from the early 90s.
  8. The All-Star Game just comes down to which players are most eager to show off and score on a big stage. In particular, guys like Brown and Towns were extremely thirsty, and really wanted to score to prove themselves. For next year, we should look to target guys who might look to hog the ball off the bench.
  9. Lillard was starting his first NBA All-Star game, after coming off the bench in each of his previous appearances. Tyrese Haliburton was a hometown favorite and they split the MVP votes almost exactly down the middle, continuing the trend of motivated starters winning MVP. With older players in the West taking up so many spots and Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic not going all out, we should continue to target the East to win the All-Star game MVP.
  10. At some point in his career, Doncic is going to have a huge All-Star game and win MVP. I’m not sure when it'll be, but at some point, I think he'll decide to prove himself and put up 50. I’m not sure what will be the catalyst — perhaps too many seasons of not winning MVP, getting backlash after switching teams at some point or the game being in a meaningful location. But if he keeps starting, and his point totals get lower and his MVP lines get longer, it will be time to pounce.

The one clear lesson is that as long as All-Star Weekend continues roughly as is, motivation should be the primary driver for bets.

Looking forward to having more fun next year!

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Nick Sterling
Apr 23, 2024 UTC