Thursday March, 4th features a busy night in the NBA season as All-Star Captains Lebron James from the Western Conference and Kevin Durant from the East Conference will pick their All-Star teams for Sunday night’s game. It’s also a full night of NBA game action before team’s go on break for All-Star weekend.
When it was first reported that the NBA was hosting an All-Star weekend, there was a lot of drama following faces of the league not wanting to participate and just take the time to recover and see their families. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most major sports took a hit in profit, so it’s understandable why the league was so persistent in hosting this event for viewers.
The 2021 All-star weekend is condensed and is something that has never been seen before. The Three Point contest, Dunk contest, and Skills Challenge will all take place on the same day as the All-Star game.
The NBA Skills Challenge is set to be the opener of the evening and is headlined by guys such as Luka Doncic and Chris Paul. Following the Skills Challenge, we will get some of the NBA’s best shooters in the Three Point contest that features a loaded field led by Steph Curry and Devin Booker. At halftime of the All-Star game, we get to see the dunk contest take place.
NBA Dunk Contest: Taking a look at the field
The NBA dunk contest features a rather underwhelming field, none of whom will be playing in the All-Star game and are all first time participants. The contest features just three players which is less than years past because of how the set up works, but it will show two rookies with New Yorks Knicks first round pick, Obi Toppin, Indiana Pacers second round pick, Cassius Stanley and Portland TrailBlazers Anfernee Simons. The contest will be judged by a star studded cast of former winners like Dominique Wilkins, Dee Brown, Spud Wedd, Josh Smith, and Jason Richardson.
These might not be the biggest names like we have seen in years past, but there is no shortage of bounce with the participants. Obi Toppin has always been tapped as a terrific athlete. Anfernee Simmons, only standing at 6’3, might not look like much of a dunker but when he gets up he flies through the air.
Cassius Stanley is not well known, only playing 23 total minutes in the NBA this season but don’t write him off. His 44 inch vertical leap at the combine was the third highest since 2000. Hamidou Diallo from the Oklahoma City Thunder had a high vertical and won the contest in 2019.
Each contestant will get to perform two dunks in the first round, and the two highest scoring dunks then advance to the finals and will go head to head with one dunk each in the final. Hopefully there is a lot of creativity being put into this over the time they get off.
NBA Dunk Contest Betting Lines & Odds
Very little separates the field in these odds according to Mybookie. Obi Toppin has shown off his in-game dunking prowess already, and the Knicks factor means plenty will back him to win this. Simmons is a smaller guard and the perception of him doesn’t scream dunk champion but flashes of his athleticism have been shown that earned him the call to participate. Stanley’s combine numbers were eye-catching, and his ability to go up and get the ball has made him the favorite.
Due to the rule changes and limited number of dunks, these guys are going to have to get creative and consistent in hopes of winning.
Betting Picks: Obi Toppin +150