2009 NBA All-Star Game

Some All-Star Game odds

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This is America, you can bet on anything. Well, not legally (unless you are in Vegas) but there are ways. And when you do remember that The King’s Speech is going to win the best picture Oscar.

But this is a basketball blog, so we’ll talk about the All-Star Game Sunday in Los Angeles. You can bet on anything there, too. Check out the odds at Bodog for the All-Star Game MVP:

LeBron James (13/2), Kobe Bryant (13/2), Kevin Durant (15/2), Dwyane Wade (17/2), Derrick Rose (17/2).

James and Bryant should be favorites. But the thing about MVP of the game is it comes down to the guy who walks into the building and decides he wants to be MVP — nobody is playing any defense and every guy on both rosters is capable of taking over the game. It’s about who demands the ball and decides to go for it.

For that reason, Rose is a good bet, he wants to establish himself (and his MVP candidacy). I also might take Carmelo Anthony at 10-1. He’s been chasing shots and points all over Denver the past few weeks, he might just carry that over to the All-Star Game to let the Knicks fans know what they are getting.

Some other odds via Bodog:

Odds for player to score first: Dwight Howard (9/2), Kevin Durant (5/1), LeBron James (11/2), Carmelo Anthony (6/1), and Dwyane Wade (6/1). (The only bad bet here is Yao Ming.)

Odds to win the dunk contest: Blake Griffin (1/3), DeMar DeRozan (5/2), JaVale McGee (13/2), Serge Ibaka (15/2). (DeRozan is going to surprise people, he’s good.)

Odds to win the three-point contest: Ray Allen (2/1), Paul Pierce (3/1), Kevin Durant (4/1), Dorell Wright (9/2), Daniel Gibson (5/1), and James Jones (11/2). (How is Kevin Durant 4/1? Has anyone looked at his three-point percentage in comparison to everyone else? He should not even be in this.)

We don’t encourage gambling. But it might be the only thing that makes the skills competition and celebrity game interesting.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.