After a closed-door NBA All-Star Weekend last season in Atlanta, the league’s star-studded, three-day event will mark the return of fans back to the arena as it takes over the city of Cleveland. The league will also be honoring the members of the 75th anniversary team that was announced earlier this season, and paying homage to some iconic moments throughout history as the NBA takes its annual break in the schedule.
The action kicks off Friday evening with the revamped Rising Stars Challenge, which will pit some of the league’s top rookies and sophomores in a round robin style tournament, with members of the 75th anniversary team serving as coaches. Our experts favor Team Rick Barry in that event, with the likes of Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley and Franz Wagner teaming up on the seven-man roster.
For the Skills Challenge, which will pit three teams against each other, including a squad featuring all three Antetokounmpo brothers led by reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the rookie trio of Cunningham, Scottie Barnes and Josh Giddey were unanimously chosen to take home the trophy. Brooklyn Nets guard Patty Mills was slightly favored over Trae Young and Desmond Bane to win the 3-Point Contest, while high-flying rookie Jalen Green seems to be the favorite among our experts to win the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night. Below you’ll find our expert predictions. You can also check out the full schedule and list of start times for events here.
All-Star Weekend predictions
Slam Dunk Contest picks, explained
Reiter: Jalen Green’s got the power, athleticism and – most important – showmanship to turn his dunking skills into a dominating performance.
Ward-Henninger: With his mixture of bounce, power, dexterity and creativity, Jalen Green was simply born to win dunk contests. He also has the flair and charisma to get the crowd involved more than the rest of the participants.
Herbert: Jalen Green is the most explosive leaper of the bunch, and he’s a showman. I think/hope he will have some tricks up his sleeve.
Botkin: Obi Toppin has the best combination of power and athleticism in what feels like a relatively weak field.
Quinn: Sentiment plays with the voters. You just know at a bare minimum Cole Anthony’s gonna bust out his dad’s jersey, if not bring the elder Anthony out for a tandem dunk himself.
Wimbish: Jalen Green has freakish athleticism that will come in handy for this competition. His in-game dunks alone have been ridiculous this season, so hopefully he’ll get creative enough to pull off something wild.
Kaskey-Blomain: Obi Toppin is the only one of the four players with dunk contest experience, and that will work in his favor. Plus, he has serious hops.
Maloney: Juan Toscano-Anderson had an interview the other day talking about how excited he was to be in the Dunk Contest so I think it would be nice if he wins.