All-Star games are terrible. They’re so completely devoid of effort and defense, they barely resemble the sport that they’re supposed to be showcasing. That being said, I’m still really excited for the NBA All-Star Weekend (Feb 17-19 in New Orleans).
No, it’s not for the games, be they filled with rising stars or established ones. Everyone knows the most thrilling part of every NBA All-Star Weekend goes on Saturday night. The events are all great, but the Dunk Contest is the reason people tune in. In good years, it can be better than watching an actual game. Last year was definitely a good year. Can this year’s contest live up to the hype?
We’ve got the odds for who will win all of the events for 2017’s All-Star weekend, including (sigh) the actual game.
NBA 2017 All-Star Weekend Odds
Odds to win Dunk Contest
- Aaron Gordon (Magic): 10/11
- Derrick Jones Jr (Suns): 4/1
- DeAndre Jordan (Clippers): 13/2
- Glenn Robinson III (Pacers): 9/1
Zach LaVine announced he wasn’t going to go for a three-peat this year, robbing us of a rematch of last year’s historically great contest. (Ultimately, he wouldn’t have been available anyways, after tearing his ACL over the weekend.) That means Gordon, last year’s runner-up, is the prohibitive favorite to run away with this year’s contest. The only question is, will one of these first-timers be able to keep pace?
Despite only playing 14 minutes all season, the unknown Jones Jr. is supposed to be an elite dunker, and is expected to be Gordon’s biggest challenger. But perhaps Jordan can be one of the few big men to find success in the Dunk Contest, like teammate Blake Griffin did back in 2011?
Odds to win 3-point Shootout
- Klay Thompson (Warriors): 5/2
- Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers): 4/1
- Kyle Lowry (Raptors): 6/1
- CJ McCollum (Trail Blazers): 7/1
- Nick Young (Lakers): 9/1
- Eric Gordon (Rockets): 9/1
- Kemba Walker (Hornets): 11/1
- Wesley Matthews (Mavericks): 13/1
Last year, Thompson tied teammate Steph Curry’s record for most points in a round, and that dominant performance clearly got Curry scared, as he won’t even be entering this season. That means the biggest threat to a Thompson repeat is likely coming from past champion Kyrie Irving.
While anyone in this field could go off, remember that there’s a speed and rhythm element to the 3-point shootout. Gordon, Young and Walker are all first-timers, and might not get into the flow of things in their rookie appearance.
Odds to win Skills Challenge
- John Wall (Wizards): 9/2
- Isaiah Thomas (Celtics): 9/2
- Joel Embiid (76ers): 6/1
- Devin Booker (Suns): 7/1
- Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks): 7/1
- DeMarcus Cousins (Kings): 10/1
- Gordon Hayward (Jazz): 10/1
- Anthony Davis (Pelicans): 10/1
Last year’s twist of pitting bigs against smalls was an enjoyable one, as Karl Anthony-Towns upset Isaiah Thomas in the finals. Still, you have to think the smalls will want revenge this year. Usually the race comes down to who can make the three-pointer at the end, and while the bigs have some good long-range shooters, the favorites will always be guards.
Odds to win the All-Star Game
- Western Conference: 5/7
- Eastern Conference: 7/5
The Western Conference always has more talent than the East. They’re so loaded they can leave a guy like Damian Lillard off the team entirely. The West has also won five of the past six meetings.
Photo Credit: Danny Bollinger (Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/]