All Star Saturday gets started on TNT at 5 PM Pacific time. Sadly, it is only on TNT, so you will have no choice other than to listen to Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith unless you just mute the TV. (I really should write something re: Barkley's recent feud with Daryl Morey and his comments regarding analytics, but it's not as if anyone is unaware that I think that Barkley is ... stupid? an idiot? ridiculous? Let's just go with uninformed. It's almost too obvious to bother pointing it out, though Sir Charles' assertion that stat geeks are somehow trying to compensate for not getting girls in High School is a new wrinkle in all this. Basically, this is classic bullying, which is an appropriate devolution of the discussion for Barkley to initiate. But I digress.)
The first two events of the evening are something called the Degree Shooting Stars and the Taco Bell Skills Challenge -- I don't care about them, but it's OK if you do. I have no idea what the Shooting Stars thing is, but it involves former players and WNBA players, for what that's worth. The Skills Challenge is that point guard obstacle course thing. Yawn. (Basically, if there's a competition at All Star weekend that I would have a chance to win, then it just isn't a very good event.)
Things get serious with the Three Point Shoot out, which for perhaps the first time ever is the most anticipated event of the evening. (It will likely get started around 6 or 6:30.) The field for this three point shooting contest is the best ever -- among the eight shooters are seven of the top ten in three pointers made this season along with the defending champ (Marco Bellineli, who basically has no chance). In a golden age of deep shooting this is a field befitting a huge NBA trend. Oh and don't forget that five of these shooters (Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, Kyrie Irvings and James Harden) are playing in the All Star Game on Sunday. The last time an actual All Star deigned to appear in the Slam Dunk Contest was Blake Griffin's rookie season -- and I couldn't tell you the last time there was more than one All Star in that contest. This field features arguably the two leading candidates for MVP this season (Curry and Harden) -- I mean, come on. As if all that weren't enough, this is also the only event today featuring a Clipper, as J.J. Redick makes his long overdue three point contest debut. Redick is making .436 of his threes this season and he has as good a chance as anyone in this contest.
The evening concludes with what used to be the marquee event, the slam dunk contest. Unfortunately, for several years now the dunk contest has become an adjunct of the Rising Stars Challenge -- only first and second year players allowed. It's a good field -- Mason Plumlee will be debunking the "White men can't jump" myth, while Zach LaVine will go after "Humans can't fly" himself. The Greek Freak, Giannis Antetokounmpo with his ridiculous wing span and hyper athletic Victor Oladipo round out the field.
So enjoy, discuss, and cheer for J.J.