Harden and Beverley participants in NBA 2016 All-Star Saturday Night

Jan 30, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) and guard James Harden (13) celebrate against the Boston Celtics during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 30, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) and guard James Harden (13) celebrate against the Boston Celtics during the second half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports /

Event Participants for 2016 NBA All-Star Game

As the calendar turned to February it signaled the closing in of the NBA All-Star Break. Living in Toronto literally minutes from the Air Canada Center I can tell you preparation for the big event in is full effect and people are extremely excited in anticipation of  the festivities to be featured over the Valentines Day weekend.

Tonight on TNT the players who’ll participate in the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night in each of individual events were announced:

Beverley will defend his Taco Bell Skills Challenge win

Last season Patrick Beverley shocked many when he won this event beating out a bunch of top ranked point guards known for their speed (Teague) or ball handling (Knight) as he went on to win the event.

Here's who Patrick Beverley faces as he defends his Skill Challenge title #GuardsVsBigs https://t.co/sFsTzsHNkV via @NBA

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) February 5, 2016

This year he’ll defend his title versus guards CJ McCollum, Isaiah Thomas and Jordan Clarkson. But in perhaps the most interesting and exciting change to the Saturday night events the Skills Challenge will also feature big men: DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Davis and Draymond Green.

I’m dying to know how the pairs will line up, that is to say will the guards pair off and big men pair off running 2 sets of the course to get down to a winner on each side advancing? Or will they have one guard face a big in each heat? Kind of hope it’s the latter as that would be fun to see the bigs trying to beat the guards. All 4 big men are highly skilled and in fact trying to handicap the bigs is actually much more difficult than the guards.

Skills Challenge
Skills Challenge /

Harden featured again in 3-point contest

Many of the contestants this season are repeat performers from last season such as reigning champ Steph Curry and his Golden State Splash Brother Klay Thompson along with Houston Rockets’ James Harden and Clippers guard JJ Redick (leads league in 3 point shooting percentage). New to the comp is the star from the host city Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowry along with Bucks Khris Middleton.

The surprise is probably Chris Bosh who shouldn’t be in the competition but campaigned to be… excuse me while I shake my head for a minute noting someone like Damian Lillard who felt he was  shafted not making the team and now they are going to let Bosh knock him out of this competition. I wonder if the Toronto fans will boo him or if he even thought of that!  He seems to forget now that the 6ix is such a coveted spot to play that he was the last guy to spread a ton of nonsense (read: lies about Toronto) because he felt guilty about his collusion. The final competitor may be the x-factor or the guy who’ll take the crown down the road in rookie Devin Booker whose stroke actually reminds me of Thompson’s shot.

3 point contest
3 point contest /

And the night will finish with the slam dunk though I’m quite surprised there are only 4 participants. Maybe it’s a moot point since it’s unlikely anyone can beat Zach LaVine. I mean his T-Wolves partner Andrew Wiggins would be competing in his home country and even he knows better than to accept that task.

Slam Dunk
Slam Dunk /

More from Space City Scoop

Verizon Slam Dunk only has 4 competitors!

His competition will feature Will Barton who has been nailing shots in Denver and two big men Aaron Gordon and Andre Drummond. Of the 3 challenges I’d say Gordon might have a shot at wowing the crowd, but on a whole I’m not that impressed. Sure feels like they could have picked some better competition and hey why not ask Terrence Ross or Norman Powell from Toronto to compete and at least give the home town something to cheer for!

Other Events

Aside from the Autotrader Saturday Night the weekend will also feature:

Friday February 12th – at 9:00 PM ET, the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge followed by an Inside the NBA broadcast at 11 PM EST

Sunday February 14th – at 7 PM ET NBA Tip-Off followed at 8:30 by the 2016 NBA All-Star Game

For all details visit the nba.com under the All-Star section.

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