Nothing beats All-Star Saturday night. While the Skills Challenge has lost a bit of excitement with the format change and Haier Shooting Stars is no longer an event, we look to the Dunk Contest and Three-Point Shootout for all the excitement. Picks and odds below!
Players with best odds:
Stephen Curry (7-4), Devin Booker (9/2), Buddy Hield (6/1), Seth Curry/Joe Harris (7/1)
This is going to be very exciting, and considering the fact that they have 10 competitors this year, it will take some wildly impressive scores to make it out of the first round. The one thing that everybody will want to see is a Curry vs. Curry battle and a potential finals appearance in the event featuring the two of them. That would also surely put viewership numbers in near-record position.
Steph has had various battles in the event with Klay Thompson, as well as Devin Booker, over the years, but now he has to settle for his younger brother and Booker. It is no surprise that he enters with the best odds, and it’ll take some great shooting to knock him off.
Joe Harris should be seen as a legitimate dark horse to win this event, as he has transformed himself into one of the best outside shooters in the entire league. He’s shooting over 42% from deep while shooting a huge amount of his shots from beyond the arc. Buddy Hield has been the same.
Pick: Joe Harris, putting Brooklyn on the map for the second year in a row! Dinwiddie won the Skills Challenge last year.
Players with best odds:
John Collins (7-4), Dennis Smith Jr. (9-4), Miles Bridges (5-2), and Hamidou Diallo (3-1)
Before we get to the analysis and predictions, I’d just like to point out that this has got to be the youngest group of participants we have ever seen. All four players are either rookies or sophomores. So, we know for sure that there will be some very creative dunks from these guys, considering their bounce and youthfulness.
Hamidou Diallo is a replacement for Derrick Jones Jr., but it’s worth pointing out that a few years ago, he went toe-to-toe with Duke’s Zion Williamson in a dunk contest and claimed to have come away as the unofficial winner, as his final dunk failed. He said that the judges would have agreed with him had he made that one. He’s got flair.
Dennis Smith Jr. is back in the contest after an underwhelming last year. We’ve seen him throw down wild reverse jams and in-game alley-oops. We’ll see what he brings this year.
John Collins is a young 6-10 big man who can poster jam on anybody. It would not be a surprise to see him use Trae Young as a prop for a dunk or two. They have great chemistry.
Miles Bridges is best known for his wild put-back dunk for the Hornets in one of his first pro games. He’s got a lot of bounce, and he is the candidate we probably know the least about, so he leaves the most to be desired.
Prediction: Hamidou Diallo, considering the fact that he NEARLY out-dunked Zion, gives him the edge here.