Also known as the Bosh Invitational, the Shooting Stars event features four teams comprised of one NBA player, one former NBA player and one WNBA player. The teams race to hit shots from four locations — including halfcourt — and the fastest team wins. Bosh, Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash won in both 2013 and 2014. Team Bosh is scheduled to compete against Team Curry( Curry, Dell Curry and Sue Bird), Team Millsap (Paul Millsap, Scottie Pippen, and Elena Delle Donne) and Team Westbrook (Russel Westbrook, Anfernee Hardaway and Tamika Catchings).
Can the Curry father/son duo win it all? Will Bosh finally three-peat? Will your uncle see Hardaway and shout, “Tyra Banks, Fool!” All that and more in the Shooting Stars.
The good news is that there’s a new format this year: an eight-person bracket will feature head-to-head match-ups and three rounds of competition until a single champion is crowned. Each head-to-head match-up will unfold at the same time on different sides of the court, which should ramp up the drama just a touch. One other wrinkle: the standard obstacle course that involves dribbling, passing and agility stations now adds a three-pointer at the end of the event. For better or (more likely) worse, making or missing that one shot could easily determine the outcome of each matchup.
Listed participants include Patrick Beverley, Burke, Elfrid Payton, Jeff Teague, Kyle Lowry, Dennis Schroder, Brandon Knight, and Isaiah Thomas. Note that John Wall, Jimmy Butler and Michael Carter-Williams were scheduled to participate but have been replaced.
Three point contest
The eight-man field is absolutely, positively loaded: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Korver, Marco Belinelli, Wesley Matthews and J.J. Redick. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s five All-Stars (Curry, Thompson, Harden, Irving, Korver), three All-Star starters (Curry, Thompson, Harden), the league’s top three-point shooter (Korver), the defending Three-Point Contest champion (Belinelli) and two more excellent long-range threats (Matthews and Redick). There isn’t a weak link.
Cumulatively, entering Wednesday, those eight players were shooting a combined 42.5 percent on threes this season. Plus, they have already launched a whopping 2,444 threes this season — a staggering total that surpasses the full-season cumulative totals for many of the previous fields.
The Three-Point Contest has run every year since 1985-86 with the sole exception of the 1998-99 lockout year. The chart below shows the cumulative, full-season three-point shooting numbers for the fields from each year during the contest’s history.
Slam Dunk Contest
Without question, the 2014 Slam Dunk Contest field had bigger names (Paul George, John Wall and Damian Lillard) than this year’s group, which will pin its hopes on its variety. This year’s group ranges from 6-foot-4 (Oladipo) to 6-foot-10 (Plumlee), and it includes a traditional, graceful high-flyer (LaVine) and a “Who knows what to expect?” wild card (Antetokounmpo). The X-factor? The fact that the competition will take place on Valentine’s Day, potentially opening the door for all sorts of holiday-themed props and gimmicks.