Previewing All-Star Weekend
For the first time in NBA history, the All-Star game will be held outside of the United States. Festivities begin in Toronto this evening. The Celtics will have their first All-Star since the 2nd Big 3 era in Isaiah Thomas, who has 9/2 odds of taking the Skills Challenge according to Alexander P. at My Top Sportsbooks.
The Schedule of Events is as follows (via nba.com):
Friday, Feb. 12
All-Star Celebrity Game
BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge
Saturday, Feb. 13
NBA D-League All-Star Game
State Farm All-Star Saturday Night
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
Verizon Slam Dunk
Sunday, Feb. 14
65th NBA All-Star Game
You can tune in to watch the Celtics' Marcus Smart in the Rising Stars Challenge. Smart will be playing for the U.S. Team, along with Jordan Clarkson, Rodney Hood (looking like the player Danny Ainge should have chosen with his second first rounder in 2014 instead of James Young), Zach LaVine, Devin Booker, Jahlil Okafor, Jabari Parker, Elfrid Payton, D'Angelo Russell, and Karl-Anthony Towns.
The Celtics have two international players in Jonas Jerebko and Kelly Olynyk, but neither are in their first two years of NBA play, so are ineligible for the World Team. Their roster will be Bojan Bogdanovic, Clint Capela, Mario Hezonja, Nikola Jokic, Trey Lyles, Emmanuel Mudiay, Raul Neto, Kristaps Porzingis, former Celtic Dwight Powell, and Canada's own Andrew Wiggins. The U.S. team is better 1-10, but it's an All-Star game with minimal defense, so don't be shocked if the World team wins instead.
Prior to the marquee events of the three-Point contest and slam dunk challenge on Saturday night, you can see a Celtic this year in the Skills Challenge. The competition vs Isaiah Thomas for the skills competition is pretty severe. Emmanuel Mudiay, DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Anthony Davis, CJ McCollum, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Jordan Clarkson will be Isaiah's competition. New this year is front court players making up half the competition. I think this will be to Isaiah's advantage.
As well as Thomas does on Saturday, the moment he has been dreaming about will come on Sunday when he's announced as an All-Star and takes the court with the NBA's elite. Good luck to Marcus and Isaiah this weekend.