November 24, 2017

NBA All-Star Winners and Losers

The NBA’s All-Star Weekend in New Orleans wrapped up on Sunday, and we can safely say it was as fun as it always is. Well, that’s actually a lie.

Friday night was pretty fun, Saturday night was very not fun, and the game on Sunday was a typical All-Star game. With that said, there were still plenty of interesting storylines that came out of the weekend’s festivities.

Here’s some winners and losers from NBA All-Star 2017:

Winner: Anthony Davis

The biggest victor of the weekend was none other than the host city’s favorite unibrow-laden superstar. Davis scored 52 points in Sunday night’s game, shattering Wilt Chamberlain’s 55-year old record for points in an All-Star game, and was named the game’s MVP.

Sure, Chamberlain scoring 42 points in 1962 is about the same as someone scoring 80 in 2017 and it took Davis 39 shots to get it done, but there’s no doubt the man showed out for his city.

Add in the fact that it was reported late Sunday night, Davis might be getting some pretty formidable help on the Pelicans’ frontline (more on that shortly), and it equals out to a damn good weekend for one of the game’s best young players.

Loser: Twitter

I strongly believe there are few nights when Twitter is more fun than during the NBA Dunk Contest. Last year’s epic battle between Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon lit up the social media platform and whipped people into a frenzy.

I was expecting more of the same from this year’s contest which included Gordon, the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, Indiana’s Glenn Robinson III and Phoenix’s Derrick Jones, Jr.

It turned out to be more of a giant slap in the face.

The dunks were average — at best. Gordon didn’t appear to have the same bounce as he did during last year’s competition and Robinson ended up winning, essentially, because he was the one that missed the fewest dunks.

Ugh, I’m still so disappointed. Let’s move on.

Winner: Derrick Jones, Jr.

Even though the dunks throughout the night could’ve been better, I’m confident Jones will be back. The undrafted rookie from UNLV has played somewhere in the range of 20 minutes during his NBA career and made five shots.

Three of those shots were dunks.

I’d imagine Jones had to have been pretty nervous considering this was the biggest stage he’d been on in his young career. He proved he has bounce and is capable of dunking at the level required to win the competition.

As Kenny Smith and Reggie Miller said multiple times during the telecast, he’s the best dunker you’ve never heard of.

Loser: Kyrie Irving

Kyrie taking this ‘L’ had nothing to do with stuff that happened on the court this weekend. Cleveland’s point guard set Twitter on fire on Friday when he told reporters during media availability that he thinks the Earth is flat.

Yes, that’s right. One of the best point guards in the game doesn’t believe what Aristotle gave us evidence to the countrary around 330 BC. To make it even crazier, Draymond Green fucking backed him up and agreed with him.

Have these guys never seen a picture of the Earth from space? Green asked how would we stand on Earth if it was round. Has he never heard of gravity or did he skip elementary, middle school and high school science class?

Someone get Kyrie, who played (and, theoretically, studied) one year at prestigious Duke, enrolled in some summer science classes.

Winner: Friendship

The “rivalry” between former teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook has been the biggest storyline in the NBA since July. On Sunday, they were back on the court together for the first time since game seven of last year’s Western Conference Finals, and it was glorious.

They weren’t in the game together long, but it was long enough for KD to connect with Russ on an alley-oop in the first quarter. Not only that, but every member of the West squad erupted when they returned to the bench during the next media break.

It was glorious. It was like old times. It was too good to be true.

Everything seemed to be back to normal after the game when Russell said, “He threw a lob, that’s all that happened.” The void between the two stars will continue to be a story until the end of the season, but it was nice to see it end for a few seconds.

Loser: Intel

Aaron Gordon went high-tech with his first dunk on Saturday when he brought out a one-of-a-kind drone designed by Intel to drop the ball from above the basket. While the idea was really cool, it took four attempts for him to get the dunk down and his score reflected that.

Now, Gordon’s failure to get the dunk down had little to do with the drone, but he reportedly had an even better dunk planned for the drone during the contest’s finals. Unfortunately, last season’s runner-up didn’t make the finals and the world will never know.

As a result, Intel lost out on another moment of major exposure for its drone division on national television.

Winner: DeMarcus Cousins

The much maligned big-man was a late addition to this list after it was reported late Sunday night he is being traded from Sacramento to New Orleans. Once the deal goes through, it will bring the end of a several year long saga that has made Kings management look even more inept than they did previously.

Anyone that knows anything about the NBA or basketball in Sacramento knows that’s incredibly difficult.

To make it even better, the Kings’ haul of Buddy Hield and Tyreke Evans plus first and second round picks in this year’s draft makes one of the more imbalanced trades in recent memory.

Cousins is a bonafide superstar that ranks as one of the top 10 or 15 players in the NBA and the Kings turned him into an older-than-average rookie, a role player and two picks that likely won’t be very good if the Pelicans make it to the playoffs this season — which I believe they will.

On the flip side, the Pelicans will have one of the most formidable frontcourts in the league, and a chance to dominate almost any team in the league with two of the league’s best big-men. I can’t wait to see how they fit together over the next several months.

Anthony Davis has been one of my favorite players since his season at Kentucky, and I’ve always found Cousins incredibly fun to watch. This was an all-around outstanding weekend for basketball in New Orleans.

Now, we only have to wait until Thursday for more NBA action. In the words of Bart Scott, CAN’T WAIT.

Jared Stansbury
Jared Stansbury 9 Articles

Former Staff Writer

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