Dallas’ Luka Doncic to compete in All-Star Saturday skills; Dennis Smith Jr. in dunk contest

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Give the people what they want. Sort of.

Mavericks’ rookie Luka Doncic came in second in the fan vote among Western Conference frontcourt players, ahead of Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and Paul George. It speaks to the rookie’s popularity. However, once the media and player votes were tallied, Doncic fell out of a starter’s position. While it is possible the coaches’ select Doncic as a reserve, with the depth of the West it’s unlikely (he wasn’t among our picks, and we discussed how he would miss the cut in our latest podcast).

So, have Doncic on Saturday in the Skills Competition, which is what is going to happen, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Considering Doncic likely also will star — and make some highlight passes, no doubt — during the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night (his participation is not confirmed), there will be plenty of Doncic All-Star Weekend.

Doncic’s teammate Dennis Smith Jr. also will be busy Saturday night.

Smith competed in the dunk contest last year but things didn’t go according to plan. He said he wouldn’t do the competition again.

But he’s been on the trade block after issues with coach Rick Carlisle, and so an event that shows off his athleticism and gets him back in the spotlight is a smart move on his part.

Hornets rookie Miles Bridges also plans to compete in the dunk contest.