The players who should REALLY be competing during All-Star Saturday
While the All-Star Game draws huge crowds and is, ultimately, the reason for all the All-Star festivities, All-Star Saturday used to be just as big a deal.
It has produced countless classic memories throughout its history. There were the duels between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins during the Slam Dunk Contests in the 1980s, the epic performance of Vince Carter during the 2000 incarnation of the event, and the bravado of Larry Bird asking his fellow competitors in the 3-point shootout who was coming in second — and backing up his words to boot.
But now All-Star Saturday has become so watered down that its relevance is debatable. Few stars actually want to compete in the events anymore, more concerned with what All-Star parties they will be hosting or attending than giving the fans a good show.
That leaves the fans with moments like the 2005 Dunk Contest, when Chris “Birdman” Andersen failed time and again to complete a dunk, or when Nate Robinson did the same a few years later. Or how about the 2010 Dunk Contest, widely considered the worst in the history of the event?
There exist players who could provide a better show, but they choose to cheat the fans instead. Now, not only do players make a mockery of the All-Star Game itself by turning it into a glorified exhibition, they can’t even give a good show on Saturday night.
So with that in mind, here are the players who would be competing in the various All-Star Saturday events this year in a perfect world.
Let’s face it. The NBA had a good idea implementing the game of H-O-R-S-E during the 2009 All-Star Game, but the competition has been severely lacking in excitement. That’s because it has been filled with good shooters but not trick-shot artists. The game of H-O-R-S-E was meant to bring out the creativity and gamesmanship in players, not to see who can make the longest 3-point shot.
That’s why a contingent of Steve Nash, Manu Ginobili, and Shaquille O’Neal is needed. While Nash and Ginobili are both good shooters, they also hit shots that few others in the NBA can even dream of making. They are virtually unrivaled when it comes to taking — and making — difficult and creative shots. O’Neal also gets the nod because there is no more perfect person to breathe new life into an event that has grown stale than the Shaq Diesel.
This event is supposed to pit the best of the best against each other in a dribbling, passing, and shooting obstacle course. Therefore, those most qualified would be the four best point guards in the NBA. Rajon Rondo would be an alternate since his jump shot still needs work.
And if push came to shove, then the NBA could always put John Wall in there to feature the up-and-coming phenom.
No more Daequan Cooks or Channing Fryes. This event is only good when it features the NBA’s best shooters. No one wants to see second-tier shooters feebly launching up 3-pointers; they want to see epic shooting displays, and that’s what this group could offer.
Ray Allen and Peja Stojakovic are two of the most prolific 3-point shooters in NBA history and the two going head to head could provide a great match in and of itself. Combine them with other deadeye marksmen like Stephen Curry, Anthony Morrow, Kyle Korver, and the ultra-streaky Eddie House, and you have a can’t-miss event.
Slam Dunk Contest
This event needs the most help, and if anyone can help turn it around, these players can. In Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard, you have the two best big man dunkers in the game. In LeBron James and Terrence Williams, you have two extremely athletic wings capable of jumping out of the building.
This field would have something for everyone. A rookie big man who has exploded onto the scene, a two-time Dunk champion, a global force whose participation in the event has been anticipated for years, and an unknown underdog capable of achieving cult status by knocking off the bigger names.
The Dunk Contest has not had a field that would generate this level of excitement since Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Steve Francis, Jerry Stackhouse, Ricky Davis, and Larry Hughes went dunk for dunk in 2000 — and we all know how that one turned out.
By: Eric Lorenz
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