As the NBA world embarks on a weekend full of excitement in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Denver Nuggets — the number one team in the Western Conference — won't have much of a contingent at the event. Nikola Jokic is Denver’s only All-Star and no other players for the Nuggets will play in the All-Star game or even participate in any of the skills contests.
Michael Malone and his staff will coach Team LeBron in the All-Star game, which may not even include Jokic as the All-Star draft will happen right before game time for the first time in the events history. With all that being said, here is the schedule of events for the weekend along with each contests participants.
Friday, February 17th - Jordan Rising Stars game at 7 PM MST on TNT
A lot of exciting young talent will take the floor tonight in Salt Lake City for the Rising Stars game. I’ll have my eye mostly on the G-League team and Scoot Henderson, who projects to be a top-3 pick in this years draft.
Team Pau: Paolo Banchero (Magic), Benedict Mathurin (Pacers), Jaden Ivey (Pistons), Scottie Barnes (Raptors), Jose Alvarado (Pelicans), Keegan Murray (Kings), Andrew Nembhard (Pacers)
Team Deron: Franz Wagner (Magic), Jalen Green (Rockets), Alperen Sengun (Rockets), Trey Murphy III (Pelicans), AJ Griffin (Hawks), Bones Hyland (Clippers), Walker Kessler (Jazz), Ayo Dosunmu (Bulls)
Team Joakim: Evan Mobley (Cavaliers), Josh Giddey (Thunder), Jalen Williams (Thunder), Jeremy Sochan (Spurs), Quentin Grimes (Knicks), Jabari Smith Jr. (Rockets), Jalen Duren (Pistons), Tari Eason (Rockets)
Team Jason (G-League team): Sidy Cissoko, G League Ignite, Scoot Henderson, G League Ignite, Mojave King, G League Ignite, Kenneth Lofton Jr., Memphis Hustle, Mac McClung, Delaware Blue Coats, Leonard Miller, G League Ignite, Scotty Pippen Jr., South Bay Lakers
Saturday, February 18th - All-Star Skills Saturday night (6 PM MST on TNT)
The dunk contest really hasn’t been great since Aaron Gordon (who should’ve won) and Zach Lavine dueled back in 2016. With that being said, I’ll take Mac McClung to win cause why not.
Participants: Kenyon Martin Jr.-Houston Rockets, Trey Murphy III-New Orleans Pelicans, Mac McClung-Philadelphia 76ers, Jericho Sims-New York Knicks
There’s no Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Michael Porter Jr. among the participants, so whoever wins should have to compete against either of them one-on-one to take home the championship.
I will say, I do like Kevin Huerter, who is currently +550 to win the event at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Participants: Tyrese Haliburton-Indiana Pacers, Tyler Herro-Miami Heat, Buddy Hield-Indiana Pacers, Kevin Huerter-Sacramento Kings, Damian Lillard-Portland Trail Blazers, Lauri Markkanen-Utah Jazz, Julius Randle-New York Knicks, Jayson Tatum-Boston Celtics
Team Rookies for the win.
Participants: Team Antetokounmpo, which features Giannis, Alex, and Thanasis. Team Jazz: Jordan Clarkson, Walker Kessler, and Colin Sexton. The Rookie: Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, and Jabari Smith Jr.
Sunday February 19th - NBA All-Star Game (6:30 PM MST on TNT)
Nikola Jokic and Team LeBron — which will be coached by Michael Malone and his staff — is what to watch here. It’s too bad the Nuggets don’t have at least another player or two representing the best team in the West at All-Star weekend, but it will still be fun to see Jokic and Malone do their thing.
I will say, even though the Nuggets will barely be represented at All-Star weekend, the fact their players are able to get more rest as opposed to some other teams may pay dividends in the end. Regardless of how many participants the Nuggets have going to Utah, Denver is still arguably the best team in the NBA and that’s not changing anytime soon.
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