Watching the Three-Point Shootout and Dunk Contest last night got me thinking about how some Nuggets have done in the past in those contests and what the NBA could add to the All-Star festivities. And as Carmelo Anthony gets set to make his 3rd start tonight, he wont break the Nuggets record for most starts in an All-Star game ... assuming he is traded sometime this week.
The H.O.R.S.E. challenge was eliminated from this year's NBA All-Star weekend ... after just two seasons of having it. It would appear that the NBA is somewhat into changing things up and adding to the weekend. During the contests you could see fans sitting with players during the Skills Competition and at the Rookies vs Sophomores game the audience was made up of school kids who earned their way into the Staples Center by making certain grades. I have an idea for All-Star weekend.
The Fan vs. Player Free Throw Contest ... I have never heard this suggested before, so if it has been please excuse me, and I think it would be a hit ... but the players might resist. You take three NBA players, none of which can shoot over 70% from the foul line in the current season, and have them each square off against a fan (three total) who each win their spot in the competition. Round 1 is a head-to-head of one player vs. one fan, each shoots 10 free throws, whoever makes more moves on to the finals. Round 2 is the finals and the three remaining contestants shoot 10 free throws, whoever makes the most wins the whole thing. In the event of a tie you go until one makes and one misses. If the winner is a fan they win a car from the game's official sponsor and if the winner is a player ... they win the car for a fan they represent (also chosen from some drawing). Would be a fun way to get the fans involved and they might have a chance to win it too.
Winning team: Atlanta team of current Hawks center Al Horford, former NBA player Steve Smith and Dream guard Coco Miller.
Overview: This contest always comes down to which team can bury a half-court in quickest fashion. I never really liked this contest until this year. It's nice to see a WNBA player get to have a little limelight along with a former player. After seeing Scottie Pippen stroke jumper-after-jumper in the Celebrity Game Friday night (Feb. 18th), I would almost like to see more former players have a shot to show their stuff over All-Star weekend. During the TNT broadcast one of the guys mentioned that Reggie Miller should challenge Ray Allen for the three-point shootout ... I sort of wanted to see that as well after watching Daniel Gibson and Kevin Durant put on a brickfest. Anyway, I say keep the Shooting Stars event ... at least as long as the WNBA is around.
Nuggets who have competed:
2005 Andre Miller - 2nd place in Denver, CO
Winner: Stephen Curry - Golden State Warriors with a time of 28.2 seconds
Overview: Curry defeated Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and John Wall. This competition tests jump shooting, the chest pass, the bounce pass, new edition of the outlet pass, weaving through obstacles and finally a layup or jumper. The dribbling through the obstacles prevents players from really using their speed and this contest is just sort of a waste of time. The players don't seem to take it too seriously and unless it's overhauled it should be scraped. I do like the concept of a skills challenge, but maybe it just isn't meant to be. I would like to see some sort of passing challenge so we can determine the best passer, but this contest doesn't allow for guys like Kevin Love to show off their skills. The NBA needs a Passing Accuracy Challenge on par with the old NFL Quarterback Challenges that I used to watch as a kid (although I never knew when they did those old QB challenges, but those were awesome to watch!).
Nuggets who have competed:
2004 Earl Boykins - 3rd place in Los Angeles, CA
2005 Earl Boykins - 2nd place in Denver, CO
Winner: James Jones - Miami Heat with 20 points
Overview: This is always my favorite contest, but this season's event was a little on the boring side ... at least until Jones and Allen had their final round. Daniel Gibson and Kevin Durant both flamed out and didn't score in double-digits ... proving Arron Afflalo, the Compton born kid, was robbed of competing in his hometown. Paul Pierce, from Inglewood, CA, received a hearty round of boos from the L.A. crowd and continues to be hated in his hometown for his Boston career. Anyway, the final round featured Pierce, Allen and Jones. Allen needed to be perfect on the final rack to tie Jones (according to Reggie Miller's math ... Miller was off by one), but missed his second shot (but was already out of it heading into the final rack). Jones became the fourth Heat player to win the contest alongside Glen Rice, Jason Kapono and Daequan Cook.
Nuggets who have competed:
1989 Michael Adams - Tied for 5th place in Houston, TX
1997 Dale Ellis - 6th place in Cleveland, OH
2004 Voshon Lenard - 1st place in Los Angeles, CA
2005 Voshon Lenard - 3rd place in Denver, CO
Winner: Blake Griffin - Los Angeles Clippers
Overview: I think we all knew the contest was going to be handed to Griffin and he was pretty good. He completed a pretty nice 360-tomahawk to start things off. In the second-round he used Baron Davis to throw him an off the side of the backboard pass to complete a 360, but had to change it to a off the side of the backboard windmill jam after failing a few times to complete the 360. In round-three Griffin threw the ball off the glass to himself and dunked the ball through the hoop and hung by his elbow on the rim. For his final jam he brought out a Kia sportscar and had Davis throw him an alley-oop from the moonroof ... it was impressive considering if anything went wrong he risked pretty serious injury. Griffin defeated JaVale McGee in the finals and had to go through DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka to win it all. I thought DeRozan's second dunk, the Showstopper, was the most impressive of the night as he threw the ball up to himself, caught it off the bounce and went up and under the rim to complete it. Perhaps if he had a bigger name, he would have had a change. Whenever the player didn't complete the dunk on the first attempt (a rarity now) it really deflated my excitement levels.
Nuggets who have competed:
1993 Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf - 6th place in Salt Lake City, UT
1994 Robert Pack - 2nd place in Minneapolis, MN
1997 Darvin Ham - 4th place in Cleveland, OH
2004 Chris Andersen - 3rd place in Los Angeles, CA
2009 J.R. Smith - 3rd place in Phoenix, AZ
Starters: Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Amar'e Stoudemire, Dwight Howard
Reserves: Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Chris Bosh, Al Horford, Joe Johnson
Different teams represented: 6 out of 15
Overview: This starting team could run teams to death. The Boston Celtics make up the bulk of the bench and isn't it fitting that Bosh would be on the bench while his two star teammates are in the starting lineup. The crunch time team should be Rose, Wade, Pierce, Garnett and Howard ... intimidating defensively and enough offense to win it.
Starters: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan
Reserves: Deron Williams, Manu Ginobili, Russell Westbrook, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love
Different teams represented: 9 out of 15
*Yao Ming injured & will not play
Overview: Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan are the old men in the starting 10 ... they might be getting their last starts this season. There is no true center for the West on the entire roster and if it's a close game they could be in trouble late. Best crunch time lineup: Williams, Bryant, Anthony, Nowitzki and Duncan ... clutch shooting and plenty of play makers, but they better hope that they don't need a defensive stand to win this one.
Nuggets who have started in All-Star games:
1977 David Thompson, Dan Issel and Bobby Jones in Milwaukee, WI
1978 David Thompson in Atlanta, GA
1979 David Thompson and George McGinnis in Detroit, MI (Thompson was named MVP)
1983 Alex English in Los Angeles, CA
1984 Alex English in Denver, CO
1988 Alex English and Fat Lever in Chicago, IL
1989 Alex English in Houston, TX
2008 Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson in New Orleans, LA
2010 Carmelo Anthony in Dallas, TX
2011 Carmelo Anthony in Los Angeles, CA
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