The Annual NBA All Star Saturday events have come and gone for 2017. The night started off strong, but ended with a thump.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge continued with the Bigs vs Guards format from last season, and for the second year in a row, a Big won the contest. Kristaps Porzingis from the New York Knicks defeated the Utah Jazz’s Gordan Hayward in a close and competitive final round. The Bigs continue to show that the position is changing in the current NBA with more and more Bigs displaying 3-point prowess and ball handling skills on a nightly basis. The NBA has a winner with the Bigs vs Guards format and I hope it continues.
The JBL 3-Point Contest followed and did not disappoint. Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving, in overtime. The 3-Point contest seemingly never disappoints. Big names regularly show-up and the competition is usually close. The same cannot be said for the next event.
The Verizon Slam Dunk Contest ended the night. Many people, myself included, had declared the NBA Slam Dunk Contest was back after last season’s epic battle between Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon. With Zach Lavine tearing his ACL, he would not be able to defend his back-to-back title, but Gordon was returning, and people were excited.
For Gordon’s first dunk, he brought out a drone – this dunk contest seemingly was going to live up to the hype. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be, a nagging ankle injury that had prevented him from practicing much clearly affected him. He did not have the same explosiveness that he displayed last year. He took seven attempts in the first round and made only one dunk. This night was headed for disaster.
The theme of the night seemingly was missed dunks and that never makes for a good show. Derrick Jones Jr and Glen Robinson III met in the finals after Gordon and DeAndre Jordan were eliminated. The judges were seemingly trying to keep it close after some generous scoring for Jones (he didn’t even make his first dunk), but the right guy won this forgettable dunk contest when Robinson jumped over Paul George, the Pacers mascot and a cheerleader and made a reverse dunk – and he actually made it on the first try.
Zach Lavine had brought the dunk contest two steps forward, but this year, the contest took one large step back. Hopefully next year, Lavine returns and Gordon is healthy and they can put on a show.