It’s official: Zach LaVine, Greek Freak Antetokounmpo headline All-Star Dunk Contest


There was no surprise, the names had leaked out already, but now it is official:

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Zach LaVine (Minnesota Timberwolves), Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic) and Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets) will be in the NBA All-Star Saturday Night Dunk Contest live from the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.

That’s a potentially great group but the best news is the NBA ditched the awkward team contest of last season and has just gone back to the classic format — there are two-rounds for all four and they can perform any dunk they choose without time limits. However, the players will have a maximum of three attempts to complete each dunk.

If I were a betting man I would put my money on LaVine, who has serious hops and gets that this is time to put on a show.

Maybe the guy that will draw the most buzz is the Greek Freak Antetokounmpo — he is freakishly long and athletic and that makes for some wild in-game dunks. The question is how will he do in this exhibition format, but don’t doubt he could win this thing.

Oladipo has potential in this contest — the guy had the stones to do a 360 dunk for the dagger to win a game, what will he do when he has the freedom to do anything?

Finally there is Plumlee. The guy with the hometown advantage. Often centers can struggle in this event (although JaVale McGee should have beat Blake Griffin back in L.A.) but he has potential.

This event has struggled to be captivating in recent years, we’ll see if this group can recapture the spark.

Anthony Davis finishes monster one-handed alley-oop (VIDEO)


In the latest installment of “Anthony Davis isn’t human,” the Brow finished this ridiculous alley-oop dunk from Tyreke Evans, a play that could only be finished by a handful of people: namely him, JaVale McGee and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Davis finished with 32 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in a pretty ordinary night for him as the Pelicans blew out the Sixers 99-74.

2015 NBA All-Star starters announced, Kyle Lowry overtakes Dwyane Wade in the East


The last All-Star voting returns were released two weeks ago, and it appeared as though the starters were essentially locked into place.

The closest races in both the frontcourt and guard spots in either conference were right around 100,000 votes apart, which would mean a huge surge in fan support would be needed to have one player overtake someone who already maintained a substantial lead in the race.

The Raptors fan base, in support of Kyle Lowry, came through to get their guy in, while ousting Dwyane Wade at the same time.


G- John Wall

G- Kyle Lowry

F- LeBron James

F- Pau Gasol

F- Carmelo Anthony


G- Kobe Bryant

G- Stephen Curry

F- Anthony Davis

F- Blake Griffin

F- Marc Gasol

For the most part, the fans got it right.

Kobe Bryant was a legacy selection, but his torn rotator cuff now throws his availability for the midseason exhibition into question. If he can’t go, that opens up a spot for someone more deserving to get in as an injury replacement — like Klay Thompson, for example, who may have been hard-pressed to make it otherwise.

The reserves will be extremely interesting, especially in the West. While it’ll be interesting to see if Wade now ends up getting in from the East, with Bryant and possibly LaMarcus Aldridge being sidelined due to injury, that’ll open the door for other deserving players to end up getting one of the remaining spots.

The final voting tally was as follows:

Eastern Conference


1. LeBron James (Cle) 1,470,483

2. Pau Gasol (Chi) 974,177

3. Carmelo Anthony (NY) 647,005

4. Marcin Gortat (Was) 570,005

5. Chris Bosh (Mia) 542,006

6. Kevin Love (Cle) 386,208

7. Jonas Valanciunas (Tor) 231,741

8. Joakim Noah (Chi) 203,718

9. Nikola Vucevic (Orl) 129,293

10. Paul Millsap (Atl) 121,938

11. Al Horford (Atl) 114,955

12. Al Jefferson (Cha) 110,980

13. Kevin Garnett (BKN) 106,820

14. Nikola Mirotic (Chi) 103,645

15. Andre Drummond (Det) 86,717


1. John Wall (Was) 886,368

2. Kyle Lowry (Tor) 805,290

3. Dwyane Wade (Mia) 789,839

4. Kyrie Irving (Cle) 535,873

5. Jimmy Butler (Chi) 455,756

6. Derrick Rose (Chi) 379,994

7. DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 159,123

8. Jeff Teague (Atl) 83,900

9. Lou Williams (Tor) 82,135

10. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil) 55,014

Western Conference


1. Anthony Davis (NO) 1,369,911

2. Marc Gasol (Mem) 795,121

3. Blake Griffin (LAC) 700,615

4. Tim Duncan (SA) 546,817

5. Kevin Durant (OKC) 545,226

6. LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 498,131

7. DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 465,334

8. Dwight Howard (Hou) 348,275

9. Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 292,557

10. Rudy Gay (Sac) 144,702

11. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 132,150

12. DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 117,816

13. Serge Ibaka (OKC) 107,223

14. Draymond Green (GS) 99,039

15. Tyson Chandler (Dal) 98,654


1. Stephen Curry (GS) 1,513,324

2. Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,152,402

3. James Harden (Hou) 1,069,368

4. Chris Paul (LAC) 551,167

5. Damian Lillard (Por) 365,417

6. Klay Thompson (GS) 314,254

7. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 248,758

8. Rajon Rondo (Dal) 219,506

9. Jeremy Lin (LAL) 216,246

10. Mike Conley (Mem) 103,015

It’s USA vs. World in NBA’s All-Star weekend Rising Stars (rookie/sophomore) game


It’s the USA vs. World.

For years the NBA has been looking for ways to bring excitement to the events around the NBA All-Star Game (and the game itself), thing such as the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night. You know, the one everybody still calls the rookie/sophomore game.

That’s where the USA vs. World idea comes in.

This year the NBA’s best rookies and sophomores will be divided into a team of US born players and one of international players. There will be 10 players per team, the players selected by a vote of assistant coaches around the NBA (the participants will be announced in the coming weeks). The teams will be coached by an assistant coach from the staff of the team coaching the All-Star Game itself (the teams in first place in their conferences on Feb. 1).

It’s an interesting twist — one that has been suggested for the All-Star Game itself. That exhibition pits the Eastern and Western conferences against each other, but there is not a lot of rivalry or pride on the line in that matchup. Playing for your country? Even in an exhibition that could bring out a little more energy.

The NBA will try the format out on the youngsters.

Before you say the World is in trouble, think about who they can role out there: Andrew Wiggins (Canada), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Nikola Mirotic (Montenegro), Anthony Bennett (Canada), Alex Len (Ukraine), Kelly Olynyk (Canada), Dennis Schroeder (Germany), Gorgui Dieng (Senegal), Dante Exum (Australia), and the list goes on. They might actually be the favorites.

Report: Victor Oladipo, Giannis Antetokounmpo in All-Star Dunk Contest


I feel like I say this every year, only to be let down, but…

This year’s NBA Saturday All-Star Dunk Contest is going to be flat out amazing.

The first leaks on who will be dunking have come via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (who else).

The Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo have committed to participating in the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk contest, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee will be a part of the competition too, sources told Yahoo Sports.

It has long been expected that Minnesota’s Zach LaVine and maybe Andrew Wiggins would be part of the group, and Wojnarowski said LaVine is expected to take part as well.

That’s a lot of great athletes.

The “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo is a fan favorite and helps make the Bucks a League Pass favorite. He is a crazy-athletic 6’11” guy who has the hops to and length to pull of some ridiculous dunks that other guys couldn’t even attempt. He’s had some great dunks in game.

And even with Antetokounmpo and Oladipo in the contest, LaVine should be the betting favorite — he is a dunking showman.