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Feb 13, 2015
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What’s up fellow, hoop junkies? The 2015 NBA All-Star festivities start tomorrow. That’s what’s up. We are at a time when we’re solely thinking about who’s going to show up and blow us away on basketball’s craziest weekend. The excitement we’re having is the opposite of what we feel when the hapless New York Knicks are on TV or when Kris Aquino shares her “words of wisdom.”


Image via NBA.com

From February 14-16, 2015 (Manila time), all eyes will be on the young hotshots, the freakiest athletes, the sharpest shooters, and the best players of the Association as they freely showcase their talents in NYC and Brooklyn. That’s a barrage of superlatives right there but it sounds just about right. For now, though, we’re going to focus all our energy in making hopefully the most accurate predictions for each marquee event of the 64th NBA All-Stars.

Take a peek at our FHM crystal ball and see which guys are bound to make a splash in the star-studded three-day hoops extravaganza!


BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge: USA Team vs. World Team


Video via Basketball Nation

The league is trying a new format this season as they pit 10 outstanding freshmen and sophomore players from the United States versus 10 impressive rookies and second-year players from around the world. Maybe this innovation will force the young guns to compete harder given that national pride is somewhat involved. So who’s going to take this?

First, here are the rosters:

Team USA

World Team


Trey Burke (Utah Jazz)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Detroit Pistons)
Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia 76ers)
Zach LaVine (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Shabazz Muhammad (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Nerlens Noel (Philadelphia 76ers)
Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic)
Elfrid Payton (Orlando Magic)
Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets)
Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets)


Steven Adams (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
Bojan Bogdanovic (Brooklyn Nets)
Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Dante Exum (Utah Jazz)
Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)
Nikola Mirotic (Chicago Bulls)
Kelly Olynyk (Boston Celtics)
Dennis Schroder (Atlanta Hawks)
Andrew Wiggins (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Looking at both of the teams’ makeup, we’re leaning towards the World Team to bag this one. The American crew might have the slight edge in athleticism but the international outfit has the better shooters in Mirotic, Olynik, Bogdanovic, and 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andew Wiggins.


Video via NBA

The game is now dominated by excellent three-point shooting squads (Golden State Warriors, Atlanta Hawks, etc.).  There’s no reason why the Rising Stars Challenge should be any different. The World club's firepower from long distance will get the job done. Plus, they’ve got Dennis “Baby Rondo” Schroder to set them up for wide open looks. We see Wiggins benefitting the most from the German point guard’s playmaking and will end up as the contest's top scorer.

Winner: World Team                                                             

MVP: Andrew Wiggins 


Degree Shooting Stars 

This event will feature three-man teams each consisting of an NBA legend, a current NBA player, and a WNBA star. It requires the contestants to make shots from different parts of the floor, including the half court line, in the shortest amount of time possible.

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Here are the competing squads:

• Team Bosh: Chris Bosh (Mia); Dominique Wilkins (Legend); Swin Cash (New York Liberty)
• Team Curry: Stephen Curry (GS); Dell Curry (Legend); Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)
• Team Davis: Anthony Davis (NO); Scottie Pippen (Legend); Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky)
• Team Westbrook: Russell Westbrook (OKC); Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway (Legend); Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever)


Video via NBA

It seems like Team Bosh owns this as they’re now gunning for a third straight title. But like we said, this is a shooting competition, so not siding with Team Curry in a shooting battle is like not betting on Team China to win in ping pong. Our hands are tied; we’re going with Steph, his dad, and Sue Bird.

Winner: Team Curry edges out Team Bosh in the finals. Stunning Sue Bird will hit the half court heave.


Taco Bell Skills Challenge

To finish with the best time in the Skills Challenge, you’ve got to have precision passing, good perimeter shooting, and wheels like the Road Runner while dribbling the ball. Who among these speedsters will display such skills under the bright lights? 

Patrick Beverley, Houston Rockets
Trey Burke, Utah Jazz
Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls
Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
Brandon Knight, Milwaukee Bucks
Isaiah Thomas, Phoenix Suns


Video via NBA

We know Jimmy Butler is having an awesome season but come on; you ain’t got a chance here, Jimmy. The dude we dig is Jeff Teague. The Hawks' point man has proven that he is indeed a premier point guard that can lead a team into prominence. With the transformation Teague has been through, this obstacle course should be child’s play for him. The biggest hindrance to his victory run, we think, is the Suns' 5’ 9” dynamo, Isaiah Thomas. But JT is our man.

Winner: Jeff Teague


Foot Locker Three-point Contest

Going through the names of the marksmen joining this year’s three-point shootout is like looking at a list of an elite army’s deadliest snipers.

See for yourselves:

Marco Belinelli (San Antonio Spurs)
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks)  
Wesley Matthews (Portland Trail Blazers)
J.J. Redick (Los Angeles Clippers)
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)

The Warriors' Splash Brothers, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, are absolute beasts when it comes to dropping long range bombs. But there’s one dude in the NBA right now who we think is more dangerous than the Dubs' killer duo. That man is none other than Atlanta’s Kyle Korver.

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Video via DownToBuck

This season, the Ashton Kutcher look-alike leads everybody in three-point field goals made, shooting the lights out at a staggering 52.8 percent, another league-leading accolade. Boy, that’s better than majority of the players' field goal average near the rim. Although Curry, Thompson (Hannah Stocking’s boytoy), and Kyrie Irving’s three-point prowess resonates more due to their on-court swag, the numbers don’t lie, Korver’s got this.  

Winner: Korver beats Steph Curry in the final round


Sprite Slam Dunk Contest

This is the part we fans look forward to the most. We're so excited about it that we compiled all the participants' dunk highlights for all of us to see. The field of high flying participants this year consists of a mega long-limbed prodigy from Greece, a couple of below-6’5” dudes with alien-like hops, and an athletic seven-footer who’ll play the role of hometown favorite.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

Zach LaVine (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic)

Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets)  

Oladipo of the Magic has some nasty dunks in his arsenal but we can’t sleep on Brooklyn’s Plumlee who’s going to feed off the energy of the crowd cheering for him at the Barclays Center. Nevertheless, this is LaVine’s competition to lose. We dare say no one in the Association can match the UCLA product’s aerial weaponry.

Watch:


Video via Ballislife

Did you see how easily he threw down eastbays and behind the back jams off the bounce? How about that windmill slam from the foul line? If the T’Wolves rookie guard makes all of his dunks, IT’S OVER! Let’s go home!

Winner: Zach Lavine

What Magic Johnson will say about the contest: "The Slam Dunk Contest is back!" We don’t know why Magic says that every freakin’ year.


The 64th NBA All-Star Game

Image via NBA.com

Given that both squads boast of the best ballers in the planet, picking either the East or the West All-Stars is definitely not an easy task. Just look at how strong the two superteams are:

East All-Stars

West All-Stars


Starters:

John Wall (Washington Wizards)
Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls)

Reserves:
Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks)
Chris Bosh (Miami Heat)
Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks)
Jimmy Butler ( Chicago Bulls) 
Jeff Teague (Atlanta Hawks)
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks)

*Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat) - Injured

                                                                                  


Starters:

Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies)
*5th starter yet to be announced as of posting time

Reserves:
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma Thunder)
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma Thunder)
Chris Paul (Los Angeles Lakers)
LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers)
DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks)

*Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) - Injured
*Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers) - Injured
*Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)

But we like to think that we handle pressure well just like James Harden on a game-winning possession so we’ll still make an Itaga-Mo-Sa-Bato prediction.


Video via NBA

We say the West will come out triumphant and that Damian Lillard will win the MVP award. The Portland PG was snubbed twice out of the team. The coaches didn’t fancy him in the initial selection for the reserves and then chose Cousins over him when Kobe needed a replacement due to injury. Had Blake Griffin not get hurt, he wouldn’t even be suiting up. That gives D-Lill a giant chip on his shoulder, making him the lone fiery, serious player in the game.

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Another fuel lighting the Trail Blazers' floor general’s ass is the 55-point outburst Kyrie Irving dropped on him last month. The stage is set for Lillard to stick it to his doubters. We see him making the crucial baskets in a tight game, lifting the West to a cardiac victory.

Winner: West                

MVP: Damian Lillard

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