A stacked 3 point contest field and a promising dunk contest highlight NBA All-Star Saturday Night.
As anticipated, Friday night kicked off NBA All-Star weekend in a big way with the Rising Star challenge. Bogdan Bogdonavic, Serbian rookie for the Sacramento Kings took home the MVP trophy for his part in the Team World three-point barrage.
We also got a preview of the hops rookies Dennis Smith Jr. and Donovan Mitchell will display tonight in the slam dunk competition. It will be a full Saturday of events to keep the momentum going in an exciting All-Star weekend.
Things kick off Saturday on NBA TV with hall of fame announcements at 12:00 (CST). NBA All-Star practice and media day will immediately follow. Commisioner Adam Silver will be available to the media at 6:00 (CST).
Then, the real fun begins.
State Farm All-Star Saturday Night
At 7:00 (CST) begins the first event: the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. This one has been growing in popularity and will once again feature guards and bigs alike. The contestants are as follows (per NBA.com):
Spencer Dinwiddie (Nets), Joel Embiid (76ers), Al Horford (Celtics), Lauri Markkanen (Bulls), Buddy Hield (Kings), Jamal Murray (Nuggets), *Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks), Andre Drummond (Pistons), Lou Williams (Clippers).
* = injured and will not participate
The JBL Three-Point Contest is up next. Defending champ Eric Gordon is back as well a '16 winner Klay Thompson. There are better shooters in the NBA than ever before and that will be on full display in this contest.
Here is the full list of participants (per NBA.com):
Eric Gordon (Rockets), Klay Thompson (Warriors), Bradley Beal (Wizards), Paul George (Thunder), Kyle Lowry (Raptors), Devin Booker (Suns), Wayne Ellington (Heat), Tobias Harris (Clippers)
The main event: Verizon Slam Dunk
The skills event is fun and the three-point contest is impressive, but there is one Saturday night event that always steals the show.
The slam dunk contest is primed to be great once again this year. Aaron Gordon unfortunately had to withdraw due to injury, but the NBA did a great job of filling his spot with bouncy rookie Donovan Mitchell. Full list of participants:
Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Larry Nance Jr. (Cavaliers), Dennis Smith Jr. (Mavericks), Donovan Mitchell(Jazz)
Mitchell and Smith Jr. are two exciting rookies that seem to top the predictions for most players and analysts. Victor "Mr. 360" Oladipo participated in the 2015 contest, falling to Zach Lavine, but he certainly is capable of putting on a show.
Larry Nance Jr. has big shoes to fill as his Father won the first even dunk contest. He has plenty of highlights to his name and fills the spot of the tallest participant.
Basketball fans are in for a treat once again this Saturday with what should prove to be a highly entertaining evening of flashy skills, three-point dominance, and thunderous dunks.
As always, keep it locked to The Basketball Movement as we continue to follow some of the most exciting events in hoops.