All-star games, you either love em or hate em…or are indifferent to them. Give credit to the NBA and MLB, they've certainly changed some things along the way but for the most part, their all star breaks remain pretty unchanged over the years. The main reason for this? They're the most entertaining. While the NHL has gone full out on the gimmicks and the NFL has desperately been trying to convince everyone the Probowl is important, the NBA and MLB have provided an entertaining product that's not completely over the top.

Now, I can probably do without the skills challenge and I certainly can do without the celebrity all-star game, but I like the dunk contest and the 3pt contest and the Rising Stars Challenge. Each highlights one of the most exciting aspects of professional basketball. I also am thankful the NBA hasn't gone as far the MLB and made the all-star game have a potentially huge impact on determining the league champion at the end of the season. The plethora of events also means there is no fall off for Stump the Stiffs, as we roll on.

Entering the ring of pick pontification this week we have Gordon Gross back again and looking for another 5-0 week to keep the Stiffs staff afloat. For our Stiffs Commenters we’ve got That’s the Jokic, who clearly will be rooting for the World team in the Rising Stars Challenge. Finally, attempting to stop the bleeding for the Nuggets subreddit we have a user who knows the value of solid alliteration, /u/joeyjojojrshabado. Pick time!

Stump the Stiffs Week 14 Stiffs Staff
Gordon Gross
Stiffs Commenters
That’s the Jokic
Rising Stars Challenge: World vs USA World World World
Winner of 3pt contest Stephen Curry Curry Curry
Winner of dunk contest Zach LaVine LaVine Lavine
NBA All-Star game: East vs West West West West

Over/Under: 10pts for Chauncey Billups in the celebrity game

Over Under Over

Gordon Gross (@GMoneyNuggs): It’s always hard to pick results in games that don’t necessarily matter to the participants. I’m going with the World in the Rising Stars Challenge. The US squad has more of the names (Jahlil Okafor, D’Angelo Russell, Jabari Parker, Karl-Anthony Towns… wait, am I making the right call?) but if there were ever an under-rated international squad this one would be it. Skilled big men, facilitating point guards, and wings that can score. It has two Nuggets on it, so I’ll go international for the Challenge. In the 3-point contest I don’t think there’s any way I bet against Curry – it’s what he does best. Same with LaVine in the dunk contest. He may not be a complete player but that dude can jump out of the gym and twirl for days. We’ll go West in the actual All-Star game – the West has won it 4 of the last 5 times and the talent hasn’t really diminished. And I think Chauncey will still be hyped up from his jersey retirement and will have some juice for the celeb game, so I’ll go over on his points as he puts on a show.

That’s the Jokic: There is no D in All Star and for good reason. Defensive prowess might have gotten some of the players here, but it won’t be on display. These games are all about putting points on the board, and that’s where we will start with the Rising Stars game. I expect the World team to take this one, but not really because two Nuggets are involved. I actually don’t expect this format to cater much to what Nikola Jokic does well. I just think there’s more talent on the World side, even if the US team is a little more star studded. Same goes for the West team. Six of the top 10 leading scorers in the NBA are on the West, including the top 4 guys (not to mention Lillard didn’t even get invited). Only monkey wrench here is if Kobe plays a lot of minutes because of his farewell tour.

For the skills competition, I’m going with the chalk. LaVine won this last year, and I think he will win it again. The dunk contest doesn’t seem to discourage repeats, and the subjectivity of it will favor bigger names. LaVine isn’t a star, but he’s known almost exclusively for dunking. I hope I’m wrong and Will Barton can ride a thrilling final dunk to the crown, but he’ll have to really shine because this will be set up for LaVine to win. I expect Curry to have no trouble in the three point contest. J. J. Redick shoots a slightly higher percentage, but Curry has made more three pointers than most of the participants have attempted. Strange that Kawhi Leonard, who is leading the NBA in 3pt%, didn’t get an invite here. In the celebrity game, Chauncey could easily score 10 in this game, but I went with the under because these are low scoring affairs usually topping out around 120 combined points. This game is also for fun so I expect a lot more Mr. Facilitator than Mr. Big Shot.

/u/joeyjojojrshabado: World to win the Rising Stars Challenge, it will be tough to stop the big men on the USA squad, but Andrew Wiggins is already playing like he’s better than a sophomore and I think he’ll take this game over. Not to mention he’ll have Emmanuel Mudiay dishing it out to him, who, in my very biased opinion, will be the best PG in this game. LaVine wins the dunk contest. Our boy Will the Thrill will be fun to watch and I’m pulling for him, but LaVine has the ups and the style to run away with this. Curry will win the 3pt contest. Do I really need to explain this one? I’m hoping for the upset, though, and I think that could come at the hands of Redick. The West is absolutely stacked with explosive scorers this year, and that’s what the All-Star game is all about. And if they really want to win in the most boring fashion of all-time, look for the West to foul Andre Drummond until their roster is depleted. Billups will hit the over, Kevin Hart is coaching so he can’t win the MVP this year. It’s Chauncey’s to lose.

Annnnnd there you have it! As always if you'd like to get involved, please reach out to Russ Hamilton (@rscotham) who manages the Stiffs Commenters side or Alec Gwin (/u/IdRatherBeLurking) who handles the Reddit side. Speaking of Reddit, that monster lead they built up in the first half of the season is now a single game. With Chauncey's celebrity scoring prowess a matter of debate this week, the standings could get even tighter.

If you're keeping score:

Stiffs Staff: 38-37

Stiffs Commenters: 42-33

Nuggets Subreddit: 43-32

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