By Mohammed Bodiat
The annual NBA All Star Weekend took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, on the 17th of February through to the 19th. While the Sunday night All Star game itself was a snooze fest, with all the players on cruise control, a blockbuster trade salvaged the annual event.
On Friday night of the All Star Weekend, both the Celebrity Game and the Rising Stars Challenge took place. In the Celebrity Game, where musicians, actors and comedians play each other, Team East defeated Team West 88-59. The victors were led by musician Win Butler who had a 22 point, 11 rebound double-double, as well as NBA legend, Jason Williams. Team West had the likes of Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, and NBA legend, Baron Davis.
In the Rising Stars Challenge, where teams are made up of rookie and sophomore players only, it was Team World against Team USA. Athleticism was on display as the young players battled it out in a fun, light hearted game, with each player trying to make it on the highlight reel. Team World defeated Team USA 150-141, led by the Denver Nuggets’ Canadian rookie Jamal Murray’s 36 points, who was also awarded the MVP trophy.
Saturday Night held the Skills Challenge, Three Point Contest, and the Slam Dunk Contest. For the second year running, a big man was victorious, with 7’3” power forward, Kristaps Porzingis, beating Utah Jazz small forward, Gordon Hayward. Leading 6th Man of the Year candidate, Eric Gordon, won the three-point contest by defeating reigning NBA champion, Kyrie Irving, in the final round. And lastly, Glenn Robinson III won the Slam Dunk Contest, defeating Phoenix Suns’ rookie, Derrick Jones Jr.
Sunday night was the annual All Star Game. The West, led by Kevin Durant, defeated the East, led by LeBron James, 192-182. Anthony Davis picked up the MVP honors, pouring in 52 points and 10 rebounds. With no defense being played, the once competitive game continues to feel more flat each year. NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, recently announced that the league is looking into finding ways to make the game more competitive. Speaking at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, he said, “We will change it by next year. It shouldn’t be playoff intensity, but guys should be playing.”
Immediately after the all star game ended, while players were still in the locker room, all star center DeMarcus Cousins got traded from the Sacramento Kings to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for rookie Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, and a first round pick in the 2017 draft. The Kings also had to send forward Omri Casspi to make the trade work. Writers and analysts ripped the Sacramento Kings for getting so little in return for the most dominant center since Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal. However, the trade hasn’t worked out great for the Pelicans so far. Since the trade, they’ve won only 6 of their 13 games. They’ll hope that the chemistry between Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins develops by next season, where they’ll plan to make a push for the playoffs.