The sixth edition of ‘TFPP Four Thought’ is here and we are looking at the upcoming All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. The fun filled 3 days is less than a month away and the NBA finds itself back in the bayou after Charlotte lost the event in dramatic fashion. The All-Star starters were just announced last week, with the rest of the rosters due later this week and the other events to fill out closer to the weekend of Feb 17-19. Here at TFPP we sat down over burgers to discuss how the weekend would look if we were in charge, using our usual Four Thought setup to focus on the 3 best events of the weekend and adding one of our own.
THREE POINT SHOOTOUT
There’s not much to change from the traditional 3 point contest format. However, we’d like to see a few more rounds to allow the shooters to heat up. Keep the 8 contestants and the money balls, just add one extra round. Instead of 3 surviving from the initial 8 for the final round, let’s cut from 8 to 4 to 2 for more suspense.
This final 8 rewards the best shooters in the game, while bringing in the star power too. Curry, Klay, Redick and Harden get in on reputation. Lowry has been HOT this season, while Gordon leads the league in makes and Ingles in percentage. Young is there for pure entertainment purposes.
When you can only choose 8, plenty of guys miss out. CJ McCollum ruled himself out while league leaders such as Frye, Matthews, Porter, LaVine, Dudley, Green and Crabbe were also unlucky. Perhaps most unlucky is Ariza (6th in makes) who loses out to 2 other Rocket teammates.
SLAM DUNK CONTEST
The dunk contest has been up and down for years, with the NBA struggling to keep it fresh. Thankfully Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon were able to breathe life into it recently, but other than their heroics it has become more about the showmanship than the dunks. The contest needs the stars but we also need to bring back the unknown guys with extreme hops!
Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon need to go around again, so let’s keep them in. Joel Embiid is already going to be in New Orleans (surprise!) so let’s add him as the 3rd contestant. The 4th slot should go to an up and comer, with a pre-round to decide who makes it. Our pick to make the final 4 is Jaylen Brown.
There are plenty of great dunkers in this league. Probably too many to name. However, those who have competed before or are now passed their prime were not considered. With those parameters in mind, who did we miss?
David – Joel Embiid. If he participates, he wins. Skill + Entertainment.
Linton – Aaron Gordon will finally get his revenge.
Sam – Zach LaVine has too many tricks. 360 from FT line to win it.
Xander – I’m taking the rook Jaylen Brown to make it all the way.
UNDER-APPRECIATED EXHIBITION GAME
There are a lot of guys who don’t make it to All Star Weekend for their entire career but why not recognise some of the lesser household names? The Rising Stars Challenge can still remain if you wish but why not add a 3rd exhibition game. Welcome to the “never an All-Star, under-appreciated career, having a sneaky good year, not on their rookie contract (extensions are allowed) and weren’t in contention for the All Star Game” Exhibition Game.
Only 8 man rosters for this event. The first 5 above are the starters, accompanied by another guard, wing and big off the bench. There is a real mix of guys who have probably missed their chance at being an All-Star (Gortat, Redick, Dragic) and those who still could as soon as next year (Bledsoe, CJ, Beal).
If you were in contention for the real All Star game in our eyes (check omissions in the All Star section), you were automatically not counted as under the radar and therefore omitted right away. You also had to meet the other criteria which removed a lot of guys, particularly those on rookie deals. Who fits the criteria that we missed?
David – Eric Bledsoe wins MVP in West romping 160-138.
Linton – CJ for MVP in a West 135-125 win.
Sam – West for me too, 140-132. CJ McCollum for MVP.
Xander – 124-113 to East. Bradley Beal is MVP.
ALL STAR GAME
Plenty of people dislike the All Star Game as a spectacle but there is not much more you can change other than getting the stars to play hard, particularly on D. Let’s add cash prizes for the winners, MVP and Defensive Player of the game and see if that changes things. Here is who we think deserves to play in the game this year.
Let us start by saying, nobody remembers if you started an All Star game or not. Steve Nash is an 8 time All-Star, how many did he start? No idea. Having said that, the guys above deserve to be the first 10 picked. The no-brainers were LeBron, Butler and Giannis in the East and Durant and Leonard in the West. Lowry/Wall form the backcourt for the East, slightly shading Thomas & DeRozan as starters. Westbrook/Harden deserve it more this season than Curry and Davis beats out Cousins for the last frontcourt position.
Filling out the rosters was a lot harder than picking the starters, especially when you have to go 2 guards, 3 frontcourt and just 2 wildcards. We will start with our absolute locks.
East; Thomas, Irving, Millsap, Love and DeRozan. West; Curry, Green, Cousins, Gasol.
That left 2 spots in the East and 3 in the West. The East had 1 more frontcourt spot open with plenty of candidates but very few deserving. Even on a minutes restriction, Embiid’s numbers have to give him the nod over Drummond, Whiteside, Horford & Porzingis. Walker essentially beat out all those names plus Paul George for the final wildcard spot. Put simply, he deserves it more. In the West, Utah’s success on the back of Gobert & Hayward helped them beat out others such as Klay, Aldridge, Jordan and Towns. Lillard is VERY lucky taking the guard slot that CP3’s injury creates.
David – I’m going East. 166-160. Giannis for MVP.
Linton – Westbrook just won’t pass his way to the MVP. West 156-147.
Sam – KD for MVP in a West shootout win. 177-171.
Xander – Westbrook for me too. Blowout 182-155.