NBA All Star Saturday night is over leaving me with a bunch of mixed emotions, especially knowing that the most exciting moment was seeing Marco Belinelli win the three-point shootout. Every single year I get amped up for what I know is about to be an underwhelming few hours, but I always remain optimistic. For some reason I thought things were going to be different because there were multiple Toronto Raptors representing the lone team North of the border; and was I ever right because things were way different.
This new All-Star weekend format has changed things quite a bit. With that being said they were able to eliminate that drawn out feeling that sometimes accompanies All-Star Saturday by altering the format of literally every competition. For the most part, I would even say the alterations are for the better, but it still left me with an empty feeling when it was all said and done. The team format is great for the competition aspect, as well as for charity but it seems as though the NBA has simplified a bit too much. Maybe add another team or player to the skills relay, or throw in a new competition, and ANOTHER ROUND TO THE SLAM DUNK COMPETITION! But apart from that I’d say that All-star Saturday this year was relatively a success.
DeMar DeRozan (skills competition) and Terrence Ross (dunk contest) represented the Toronto Raptors this evening. DeRozan had a forgettable performance in what’s becomming a forgettable competition. As for the dunk contest, Terrence Ross, Paul George and John Wall came through for the Eastern Conference. Like I mentioned before, the NBA changed every competiton in one way or another.
The dunk competition now features two rounds; the freestyle round and the battle round. The freestyle round is basically cluster-f*** of a glorified layup line featuring a couple level-one game-breakers. The battle round pits each dunker against each other with the best dunk for each matchup winning. So at the end of the day, all competitors are only truly able to showcase one dunk, where the fans then proceeded to vote on for the Sprite Slam Dunker of the Night.
The first head to head had me really excited. Terrence Ross, ‘the defending champion
against the man who’s entry into this contest I questioned from the beginning. Damian Lillard surprised me by pulling out some dunks I truly didn’t think he was capable of. For the head to head he came out with a very clean self toss 360-windmill dunk which was solid. When it was time for Terrence Ross to take the stage he was accompanied by none other than Raptors’ global ambassador; Drake. Ross served up an eastbay dunk with the help from Drake. The judges were hard pressed to make a decision, and justified their vote on dunk difficulty in favour of Ross. However I beleive the Ross/Lillard decision came down to star power because Lillard’s dunk in my opinion was more impressive.
Harrison Barnes doesn’t need anymore mentioning past this sentence.
Paul George pulled a reverse 360 through the legs dunk on his final attempt.
Ben Shaq-Lemore has insane bunnies, as demonstrated by jumping over Shaquille O’neal in a throne and that self-toss left hander in the freestyle round.
Terrence Ross, Paul George and John Wall ended up sweeping the battle rounds, while Wall was voted the Sprite Slam Dunker of the Night by the fans with this.
A lot of the commentators said John Wall brought the dunk competition back. But then again…they say that every year.