NBA All-Star Weekend is one of the highlights of the league schedule every year. This season, the best of the NBA come to Cleveland for festivities celebrating everything great about the sport, capped by the All-Star Game on Sunday night. But if the game itself remains the crown jewel of the weekend, the events on All-Star Saturday still have the potential to steal the show.
The dunk contest remains a polarizing event, but at its best it can be a thrilling showcase of athleticism and creativity. While this year’s contest still lacks big names, but it does feature two explosive young guards who have the ability to give us something we’ve never seen before. The three-point contest does feature several All-Stars with Trae Young, Karl-Anthony Towns, Zach LaVine, and Fred VanVleet slated to be in the field. There’s also a new format for the skills challenge, which will feature a certain two-time MVP and his two brothers competing against rookies and members of the Cavs.
The dunk contest and three-point contest will take place on Saturday, Feb. 19 in Cleveland. The All-Star Game itself happens one day later on Feb. 20.
Before the festivities get underway, let’s go over the All-Star Saturday events and give some predictions on what we expect to happen.
2022 NBA dunk contest predictions, preview, and time
All-Star Saturday kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on TNT. The dunk contest will be the third and final event of the night. Here’s a look at who is competing:
- Jalen Green, G, Houston Rockets: The No. 2 overall pick in the most recent NBA draft, Green is a 6’5 guard with ridiculous hops who could put on a show. As a high school star out of Fresno, CA, Green often drew comparisons to Kobe Bryant for his bounce around the rim. While he’s had a bit of an underwhelming rookie season for a rebuilding Rockets team, the dunk contest offers the type of platform that can raise his profile around the league. Don’t sleep on Green’s ability to takeover this contest:
Jalen Green practicing for the dunk contest pic.twitter.com/wAw8Q6cWoc— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 11, 2022
- Cole Anthony, G, Orlando Magic: The son of Greg Anthony, Cole was an elite high school recruit out of New York who had an underwhelming freshman season at North Carolina. After slipping to the No. 15 pick in the 2020 draft, Anthony has enjoyed a breakout second season in the NBA, averaging 17.7 points and nearly six assists per game. Anthony is only about 6’2, which will make his dunks look cooler. He’s put down some big ones in the past:
- Obi Toppin, F, Knicks: Toppin is a former lottery pick enjoying a nice second season in the league with the Knicks. The 6’9 big man showed off his athleticism in this event last year. While Toppin didn’t win, it feels like he’s under-the-legs dunk from near the foul line would have been the best of the night if he took off one step back. What will he have in store for us this year?
- Juan Toscano-Anderson, F, Warriors: JTA has become a fan favorite with the Warriors for his non-stop hustle and energy. The 6’6 forward feels like the biggest wildcard of this event. He lacks the pedigree of the other competitors as an undrafted free agent, but he’s proven he’s an explosive athlete around the rim since joining Golden State.
2022 NBA dunk contest predictions
Jalen Green has seemed destined to win an NBA dunk contest since early in his high school years. This is his big opportunity, and we think he’s up for the challenge. Green is our pick to win the contest.
If he does something like this, it might be a wrap early:
Sneak peek of Jalen Green in the 2022 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. pic.twitter.com/CI3jD2PxQL— Taylor Pate (@taylorlpate) February 1, 2022
Update: Obi Toppin won the dunk contest:
2022 NBA three-point contest predictions, preview, and time
The three-point contest will be the second event of All-Star Saturday after the Skills Challenge. Here’s a look at the field:
- Fred VanVleet, G, Toronto Raptors: VanVleet has upped both his volume and efficiency from three this year, and it’s a huge reason why he’s a first-time All-Star. VanVleet is knocking down 40.1 percent of his threes so far on 10.1 attempts per game. The 6-foot guard never seems to get tired of gunning threes, which should serve him well in this contest.
- Desmond Bane, G, Memphis Grizzlies: Bane is making the Grizzlies look like geniuses for taking him with the No. 30 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. He’s hitting 42 percent of his threes on nearly seven attempts per game this year. Bane’s game isn’t just about shooting — he’s developed an off-the-dribble game this year, and he’s stout defensively — but he’s quietly turned into one of the league’s better marksmen from three.
- Luke Kennard, G, Los Angeles Clippers: The Clippers guard has been hitting from deep all year without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the lineup. Kennard is hitting 43.4 percent of his threes on 6.1 attempts per game. He’ll have support from Duke fans everywhere.
- CJ McCollum, G, New Orleans Pelicans: McCollum was traded to New Orleans at the deadline after spending his entire career with the Trail Blazers. The 6’3 guard has been on fire since joining the Pelicans, and will look to keep his hot shooting going in the three-point contest.
- Patty Mills, G, Brooklyn Nets: The long-time Spurs guard joined the Nets as a free agent this season, and he’s been a necessary addition to a club that’s spent most of the year without Kyrie Irving. The Aussie guard has along been known for his three-point shooting ability, and this is a chance to stamp his proficiency from deep forever.
- Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Minnesota Timberwolves: With apologies to Dirk Nowitzki, KAT has a strong case as the greatest big man shooter ever. Towns is hitting 41 percent of his threes on six attempts per game. He’s the only center in this contest.
- Zach LaVine, G, Chicago Bulls: LaVine made the All-Star team for the second time in his career as the scoring dynamo who has helped lead the Bulls to the top of the Eastern Conference. LaVine is dealing with knee soreness and it’s possible he could be replaced in the contest. He’s trying to become the first player to ever win both the dunk contest and three-point contest.
- Trae Young, G, Atlanta Hawks: Young is starting the All-Star Game for the first time in his career because he’s putting up video game numbers with the Hawks. Young carries such a big burden for his team that we rarely get to see how good of a pure shooter he really is. This could be his moment.
What are the three-point contest rules?
Each competitor is allotted 70 seconds for the course. There’s a maximum of 27 balls available in five locations around the court. “Money balls” will be placed at the end of each rack and are worth two points. There will also be one rack full of money balls. The three players with the highest score from the opening round advances to the championship round. From the NBA: “Like last season’s three-point contest, there will also be two Mountain Dew Zone spots further back on the wings with one ball worth three points.”
2021 NBA three-point contest predictions
We’ll pick CJ McCollum to win the three-point contest. Just a hunch.
Update: Karl-Anthony Towns won the dunk contest:
2022 NBA skills contest predictions, preview, and time
The skills challenge will be the first event of All-Star Saturday. It features a new format than the one we’ve seen the last few years with three teams :
- Cade Cunningham, Josh Giddey, and Scottie Barnes make up the rookie team.
- Evan Mobley, Darius Garland, and Jarrett Allen will represent the Cavs in Cleveland.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers Kostas and Thanasis will compete as the third team.
2022 NBA skills contest rules
There will be three rounds in the skills challenge followed a championship round to determine the winner. Here’s how it works.
• Shooting round: There will be five different spots on the floor between 10-feet and 30-feet. Players will shoot from each location with their teammates rounding. Shot have different values based on location. Players can’t shoot the same shot twice. The winner of the first round will get 100 points toward their team score.
- Passing round: Players will have 30 seconds to pass into three moving targets. The passes will have different values based on how difficult they are. “Each team must make at least one pass attempt at each target, and individual players cannot make consecutive passes at the same target.” The winning team will earn 100 points towards their score.
- Relay round: There will be a relay course all players from the team must complete. The course will be timed and fastest time wins. The course includes outlet passing into a moving target from the baseline, a dribbling challenge through cones, a short shot near the basket, a three-pointer from the corner against a defender, and a full court sprint to score. The winning team will earn 200 points to the score.
- Final round — half-court shot: The two teams with the highest scores will advance to the championship round. Teams will have to make a halfcourt shot as quickly as possible. The first team will set the time and the second team will have to beat it. The clock will have 90 seconds max.
Skills contest prediction
We’ll take the rookies to win.
Update: Cavs win skills challenge.