NBA All-Star Weekend: Preview and Tips

All-Star Weekend is a celebration and there is a renewed interest this year with a ll new format. As part of Team LeBron, Kevin Durant will go head to head with his Warriors team-mates while for Team Stephen we will see ‘KAT’ and ‘The Greek Freak’ combine. As always The Wolf has been hard at it to make sure we can turn a profit while sitting back and enjoying a feast of NBA!

NBA All-Star Weekend Schedule

When is the NBA-All Star Weekend on? Where is it? What is the format? Who will win?

Staples Center in Los Angeles will play host to the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend and there will be no shortage if action. Here is the full schedule. All time AEDT.

Rising Stars (Teams World v Team USA): Sat 1:00pm
Skills Challenge: Sun 12:00pm
3-Point Shootout: Sun 1:30pm
Slam Dunk Contest: Sun 3:00pm
All-Star Game (Team LeBron v Team Stephen): Mon 12:00pm

Rising Stars (Teams World v Team USA): Sat 1:00pm

Team World: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Dillon Brooks, Joel Embiid, Buddy Hield, Lauri Markkanen, Jamal Murray, Frank Ntilikina, Domantas Sabonis, Dario Saris, Ben Simmons.
Team USA: Jaylen Brown, John Collins, Kris Dunn, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Donovan Mitchell, Dennis Smith Jr, Jayson Tatum, Taurean Prince

This game will feature as many as 10 future All-Stars and has several that are already worthy of selection! Lonzo Ball and reigning Rookie Of The Year (ROTY) Malcolm Brogdon will not participate due to injury but one look at the rosters and you cannot help but salivate. The Philly trio of Embiid, Simmons and Saric will lead Team World with support to come from Markkanen and the MVP of this game a year ago, Jamal Murray. Team USA is all about the rookies! Utah’s Donovan Mitchell is making a real charge for ROTY honours whole Dennis Smith, Kuzma and Tatum have all been extraordinary. It is hard to find a rookie class that has produced more than the 2017/18 group.

– Simmons is averaging 16.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.3 assits with an incredible 6 triple/doubles!
– Mitchell leads all rookies with 19.5ppg with 27 games of 20 or more.
– Markkanen opened the season with multiple made 3’s in his first 10 career games and has posted 13 double/doubles.
– Jayson Tatum is shooting 43.1% from beyond the arc, the best among all rookies and good for 9th best in the league.

There is no doubt that Team USA have an edge in speed with Mitchell and Smith Jr but The Wolf cannot ignore the team synergy that the Philly trio will bring. Simmons will have a point to prove after being snubbed for All-Star selection and their edge in length will ensure they get all of the rebounds. Look for Murray, Markkanen and Bogdanovic to make it rain from deep with Embiid and Simmons to get right to the cup at will.
Best Bet: Team World +3 ($1.92)

Skills Challenge: Sun 12:00pm

Smooth Lou Williams will have all the crowd support but The Wolf only has eyes for two men in this one – Dinwiddie and Markkanen. With the big versus guards format continuing we will take one man from either side of the draw and hope that they meet in the final for a guaranteed win!  Spencer Dinwiddie has elevated his game to another level. He has now secured the starting role as the Nets guard ahead of D’Angelo Russell and it is well deserved. He is a triple threat – has great acceleration, pin point passing ability and can drain the 3-ball. It’s the perfect formula for success in this competition. For the big men The Wolf says to look no further than ‘The Finnisher’, Lauri Markkanen. The 7 foot rookie has taken by the league by storm! He has drained 113 3’s already this season – the most of any big man in this competition. It is where it will be won and lost making him the clear top pick on that side of the draw.

Best Bet: Lauri Markkanen ($7.00)
Value Bet: Spencer Dinwiddie ($7.00)

3-Point Shootout: Sun 1:30pm

Contestants: Eric Gordon, Klay Thompson, Bradley Beal, Paul George, Kyle Lowry, Devin Booker, Wayne Ellington, Tobias Harris

Eric Gordon returns as the defending champion but it is 2016 champ Klay Thompson who leads the league, shooting 45.4% from beyond the arc. Wayne Ellington is the only man on debut while Aussie Joe Ingles (2nd best %) has again turned down the offer to take part. In this format The Wolf loves streakty shooters and he also refuses to take the short price on offer for the favs. The favourties have a terrible record in this competition with Steph Curry (2015), the only fav to get home in the last decade.

– Klay Thompson ($2.75) may be a previous winner and lead the NBA in 3pt percentage this season but The Wolf cannot have a piece of him at the price. Fade the fav!
– Eric Gordon ($4.75) is among the favourites and should be. He is the defending champ and has drained 154 3’s this season. That is good for only 9th most and when you consider he is 2nd in attempts (461), we will look past the man that is shooting just 33% from beyond the arc. No man has defended this title since Jason Kapono in 2008 and Gordon will not be joining that list.
– Devin Booker ($5.50) returned with a bang after a fortnight off draining 6 3’s against the Jazz. As we saw when he drained 70 points last season, he is one of the streakiest shooters in the league and that is great news for this competition. He was runner up to Klay two years ago after fading poorly in the final. He is much shorter in the market than The Wolf expected.
– Paul George ($6.50) has been balling as of late! He has scored 25+ in 10 of his last 11 and has made 5 or more from beyond the arc in each of his last 5 games. The rumours about him making the move to the Lakers continue and you can be sure that he will want to make a statement. He may have been disappointing in his only other appearance but that was 5 years ago so you can put that to the side. A proven performer down the stretch he gets bigger as the occasion does. The Wolf’s top selection.
– Wayne Ellington ($7.00) has caught fire sown in Miami but The Wolf says this is a step too big to make for a man making his first appearance. The bright lights will play their part.
– Bradley Beal ($7.50) finished runner up to Belinelli back in 2014 in one of the most memorable contests. He posted 21 to make the final and after Belinelli set a mark of 19 he made his last 6 shots to tie the mark but came up short in the shoot-off. He has made 4 or more on 16 occasions this season which is impressive for a man averaging less than 7 attempts. He is The Wolf’s smoky!
– Kyle Lowry ($11.00) opened with an air ball last year, failed to make more than three in a row and posted a modest total of 9.
– Tobias Harris ($13.00) is the only contestant to call Staples Center home. Although it hasn’t been for long he should get plenty of support for the crowd. Will it be enough… NO!

Best Bet: Paul George ($6.50)
Value Bet: Bradley Beal ($7.50)

Slam Dunk Contest: Sun 3:00pm

It has been billed as a battle between the rookies, Dennis Smith Jr and Donovan Mitchell, but The Wolf will be going with the veteran in the field. Oladipo was a runner up to Zach LaVine back in 2015 and we have seen a huge transformation in both his game and physical appearance over the last 6 months. He shedded weight in the off season and is in the best form of his career. Nicknames Mr 360 for his ability to spin and dunk, The Wolf says not to be surprised if he attempts and makes a 720 dunk! He did a 540 back in 2015 and has the hops to get right up there. Nance is the power dunker in the field but as we have seen in recent year it is all about style and athleticism. The Wolf will be steering clear of the rookies and will take the value on offer for Oladipo.
Best Bet: Victor Oladipo ($6.00)

All-Star Game (Team LeBron v Team Stephen): Mon 12:00pm

The Wolf is absolutely shocked to see Team Stephen installed as underdogs for the main event! We don’t know what to expect from the new format but The Wolf says there will not be a dramatic change to what we have seen in the past. That means the keys to success are scoring, and in particular, 3-point shooting. If that is to be the case Team Stephen should almost be double digit favourites.

They have the Splash Brothers, the man who will win MVP this season – James Harden and the Greek Freak. Klay leads the league in 3-point percentage (45.4), Harden leads the league in 3-pointers made (206) and Steph is the greatest shooter ever. Then you have KAT who is shooting a remarkable 42.5% from deep (leads all centres) while Horford leads all power forwards at 43.6% from beyond the arc.

It doesn’t stop there either… They have the reigning defensive player of the year in Draymond Green and the man who leads the league in point paints per game – Giannis Antetokounmpo. Throw in Dame Lillard who has scored 50, 39 and 44 in his last 3 games and you have a far superior side across the board. This is all without mentioning Steph Curry.  No disrespect to Team LeBron but after having to make four replacements due to injury, The Wolf knows where his money will be.

Best Bet: Team Stephen +3.5 ($1.92)
All Star Game MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($8.00)