NBA Roundtable: All-Star Picks + Most Memorable Moments
NBA Roundtable: All-Star Picks + Most Memorable Moments

This article is part of our NBA Roundtable series.

Welcome to the All Star Weekend edition of the RotoWire NBA Roundtable. Each week, our NBA staff gets together to answer questions about the biggest topics of the week, both in fantasy basketball and the league overall.

Fittingly, this week's roundtable focuses on the festivities in Charlotte, as well as what's shaping up to be a close race for the MVP award.

Rank your top-five MVP candidates at the All-Star break.

Nick Whalen: James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid

James Anderson: James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, Nikola Jokic, Steph Curry

Ken Crites: Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, Nikola Jokic, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard

Mike Barner: James Harden, Paul George, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Stephen Curry.

Alex Barutha: Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, Paul George, Nikola Jokic, Kevin Durant

Alex Rikleen: James Harden, Paul George, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, Nikola Jokic

Zack Osell: Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, Paul George, Anthony Davis, LeBron James

Shannon McKeown: James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George, Nikola Jokic, Steph Curry

What is your personal favorite, or most iconic, moment in All-Star Weekend history?

Whalen: Tracy McGrady going off the backboard in 2002. A few guys have done it since, but even at the height of the And1 Mixtape era, that was a jaw-dropping move. Bring back players wearing their own uniforms in the All-Star Game.

Anderson: The Marbury-Kobe-A.I. fourth quarter duel from 2001

Crites: Hands down, it was the dunk contest rematch of Michael Jordan versus Dominique Wilkins at the old Chicago Stadium. I was there, with Jordan's iconic free-throw-line jam coming right at me.

Barner: Vince Carter's performance in the 2000 dunk contest always stands out in my mind when I think about the event. I loved when he made the between the legs dunk off the bounce pass and Kenny Smith yelled, "It's over! It's over ladies and gentleman!" and then Carter said, "It's over." while looking into the camera. It was phenomenal.

Barutha: Can I pick the entire 2016 Dunk Contest? At one point, Aaron Gordon jumps over the Magic's mascot and goes under both legs for a dunk, and then Zach LaVine follows up by doing a windmill from the free-throw line.

Rikleen: The only thing I remember from All-Star weekends as a kid was that I got really excited and totally bought in to the obviously silly and certainly over-hyped Kobe-Jordan "torch passing" narrative in 1998, but I don't actually remember the game at all. In the category of things I actually remember watching: Aaron Gordon getting robbed in the dunk contest. That mascot jump was iconic.

Osell: When Blake Griffin jumped over a Kia during the 2011 Dunk Contest. That was really something special at the time.

McKeown: It's hard to top the epic 2016 Zach LaVine/Aaron Gordon dunk contest. Vince Carter in 2000, 'Nique/MJ in 1988 and every Jason Richardson dunk from 2002-2004 deserve consideration, but I side with the LaVine/Gordon battle.

Excluding the dunk contest, Magic Johnson coming out or retirement to win the 1992 All-Star Game MVP is the most iconic moment in All-Star Weekend history.

Who are your picks to win the Three-Point Shootout and Dunk Contest?

Whalen: Buddy Hield; Dennis Smith, Jr.

Anderson: Devin Booker and Miles Bridges

Crites: Lillard for Three-Point, Bridges for the Dunk Contest.

Barutha: Hield for the three-point contest. He shoots 45% from three on 7.6 attempts per game, and he doesn't have a ton of lift on his jumper so he should save time with a set shot. Bridges for the dunk contest. His dunks just look the most athletic, and he always dunks hard, which matters.

Rikleen: 3PT: One of the Curry brothers is taking this. Forced to choose, I'm going with Seth on pure instinct. Dunk: Hamidou Diallo, I hope.

Osell: I'm going with Money Middleton in the Three-Point Contest and John Collins in the Dunk Contest. I'm hoping Vince Carter taught Collins a little something during their time in Atlanta this season.

McKeown: 3PT: Buddy Hield; Dunk: Miles Bridges

With every team now at least two-thirds of the way through its schedule, which team(s) were you most wrong about, relative to your preseason expectations?

Whalen: Alleged audio evidence suggests that I took the Bulls' over (28.5 wins) back in October, so technically that's the team I was most wrong about, but I have full confidence that they'll rip off a 15-game winning streak after the break to make things interesting.

Anderson: Pelicans, Kings, Celtics, Wizards, Hawks, Jazz

Crites: The Brooklyn Nets have been a delightful surprise. I underestimated the system and culture Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks have installed there. And, obviously, their development of D'Angelo Russell sure makes the Lakers look stupid. The Nets are lucky that Miami matched their offer to Tyler Johnson a few years ago.

Barner: I thought the Nuggets would make the playoffs, but I didn't expect them to be the second seed in the Western Conference heading into the break. I was also very high on the Pelicans, but that ship has sailed with all of their injuries and Anthony Davis drama.

Barutha: It's between the Pelicans and the Spurs. I thought New Orleans would end up around the fifth seed, and I was pretty confident the Spurs would finish at .500.

Rikleen: This has to be the Kings, right? The Wizards shouldn't count for this answer because injuries are part of the reason they're so bad. There are a couple teams a few spots above (Pacers, Magic, Rockets) or below (Celtics, Jazz) what I anticipated, but they're all within range. But the Kings – having some legitimate future-stars, a rationally managed rotation, not getting in their own way, winning games! – that came way out of left field. I still think they miss the playoffs, but the fact that they're even in the conversation is totally wild.

Osell: I've been the most surprised by Brooklyn, which currently has a hold on the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. I certainly didn't expect the Nets to be over .500 at the break, especially after losing Caris LeVert for a few months. On a totally opposite note, the Knicks have somehow managed to surprise me with how poorly they've played, even after they snapped the losing streak before the break.

McKeown: New Orleans. After winning 48 games and advancing to the second-round last year, I thought we would see continued improvements from the Pelicans this season. Instead, the team has been a dumpster fire.

RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NBA Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NBA fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Whalen
RotoWire's NBA Editor and award winning host of the RotoWire NBA Podcast. Many years ago, Stromile Swift gave Nick his unbelievably sweaty headband after a preseason game. Despite its failure to match his school colors, Nick went on to wear that headband for the entirety of his sixth grade basketball season. Catch Nick on Twitter @wha1en.
DraftKings NBA: Saturday Cheat Sheet
DraftKings NBA: Saturday Cheat Sheet
FanDuel NBA: Saturday Value Plays
FanDuel NBA: Saturday Value Plays
Yahoo DFS Basketball: Saturday Picks
Yahoo DFS Basketball: Saturday Picks
Fantasy Basketball Podcast: Shutdown Season
Fantasy Basketball Podcast: Shutdown Season
NBA Waiver Wire: Week 24 Look-Ahead
NBA Waiver Wire: Week 24 Look-Ahead
DraftKings NBA: Friday Cheat Sheet
DraftKings NBA: Friday Cheat Sheet