NBA All-Star Weekend is one of the key dates on the NBA’s calendar every year.
This season’s All-Star Weekend carries even more significance than usual, with special tributes planned to honor the late Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.
JUST IN: Final design of Team LeBron & Team Giannis jerseys for @NBA All-Star Game. LeBron’s team all wearing #2 for Gianna Bryant, Giannis’ team wearing #24 for Kobe. Memorial patches for 9 who passed in helicopter crash, band in memory of former commissioner David Stern. pic.twitter.com/5TncENo5CU
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 12, 2020
The jerseys will also include tributes to the seven other victims of a fatal Jan. 26 helicopter crash, as well as former NBA commissioner David Stern, who passed away on Jan. 1.
The tribute patches to Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant & Calabasas crash victims & stripe for David Stern on 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend jerseys pic.twitter.com/AqXdH2r2AP
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 14, 2020
Lastly, the game will include a new fourth quarter format, dedicated to Kobe.
THIS JUST IN: Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game will go commercial-free in the fourth quarter when the clock will turn off and the teams will battle for a set score — 24 points more than the leading team has at the end of three quarters in honor of Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/Cg8bnzmIYc
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 13, 2020
Things will kick off on Saturday night with the USA vs World showcase game, featuring the league’s top rookies and second-year players. It will be followed by the 3-Point Contest, Skills Challenge, and the Dunk Contest, all leading up to the All-Star Game on Sunday.
The 3-Point Contest boasts a loaded field, full of some of the league’s best snipers.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 4, 2020
Damian Lillard is injured and won’t be participating in the contest, but he was replaced by one of the NBA’s brightest young stars, a guy who has competed in this event before.
Devin Booker has been selected to replace Dame in the All-Star Game 🙌
Book is also taking his spot in the 3-Point Contest pic.twitter.com/UZurD2uGaI
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 13, 2020
Does that give Booker an inside advantage? Maybe, but the two guys to keep an eye on here are Duncan Robinson of the Miami Heat and Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings.
Robinson comes into the event with the highest 3-point percentage of the contestants at (43.8) and he has taken the league by storm this season:
Ready for the @NBAAllStar 3-point contest 👌
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 13, 2020
Robinson has a chance to win this thing.
By request, fastest to ___ 3PM:
100 – Lauri Markkanen (41 G)
200 – Duncan Robinson (69 G)
300 – Damian Lillard (117 G)
400 – Lillard (163 G)
500 – Lillard (199 G)
600 – Buddy Hield (244 G)
700 – Hield (269 G)
800 – Hield (296 G)
900 – Stephen Curry (336 G)
1,000 – Curry (369 G) pic.twitter.com/O1y0WrzrEa
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 13, 2020
As for Hield, he enters as the contestant with the most made threes this season (207), and he can heat up fast.
Buddy Hield is just the fifth player in NBA history to shoot 90% or better from 3-point range in a game with at least 10 attempts:
90.9 – Ty Lawson (4/9/2011)
90.9 – Klay Thompson (1/21/2019)
90.0 – Rex Chapman (2/23/1996)
90.0 – Dan Majerle (1/11/2000)
90.0 – Hield (last night) pic.twitter.com/uswjYgJyRm
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 9, 2020
We’re going to go with Hield to win.
The Dunk Contest features three returning participants – Dwight Howard, Derrick Jones Jr., and Aaron Gordon, and one newcomer – Pat Connaughton.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 2, 2020
Howard has participated twice and won the event once.
One week away and @DwightHoward is already in Dunk Contest mode 💥💥💥
(📺: ABC) pic.twitter.com/keW1Jl7LCo
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 9, 2020
But this contest is going to come down to Derrick Jones Jr. and Aaron Gordon.
Gordon participated in one of the best Dunk Contests in NBA history in 2016, going toe-to-toe with eventual champion Zach Lavine.
This year might be the year he takes it home, and he’s been abusing rims all season long.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 7, 2020
Jones Jr. is probably Gordon’s closest competition from a pure athleticism standpoint, so expect a head-to-head showdown between the two for the trophy.
DERRICK JONES JR. ON HIS HEAD 😳 pic.twitter.com/ADhr2bvzD8
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 10, 2020
We’re picking Jones Jr.
That leaves the Skills Challenge, the contest with the widest variety of participants.
Your 2020 NBA All-Star Skills Challenge participants:
Pascal Siakam pic.twitter.com/p2r6pCsqBs
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) February 4, 2020
Derrick Rose pulled out of the challenge due to injury and has been replaced by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
The favorite here has to be defending champion Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics.
Jayson Tatum became the first Celtics player in franchise history to win the NBA Skills Challenge. pic.twitter.com/9VbN1QuYD7
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 17, 2019
The wild card is Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo.
This event is usually dominated by perimeter players, but Adebayo has proven to be one of the most versatile players in the league at his size, averaging 4.9 assists per game all while showing adept ball-handling and passing ability.
Delay action here from Miami and watch the pass from Bam Adebayo. Robinson cuts off, Forbes does a good job of chasing the screen. As soon as Robinson passes he cuts to the rim and Bam able to fit that bounce pass in a tight pocket for the layup. pic.twitter.com/1pvwNLrY1K
— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) January 16, 2020
Still, we’re going with Tatum.
Enjoy the festivities!