This All-Star Weekend will be the first under COVID-19 pandemic regulations as last year’s game took place a month before the pandemic swept across the United States. The NBA will once again use their All-Star format they implemented last year, with the highest-scoring team for each quarter will receive donations for their respective foundations as well as a larger donation for the winner of the game.
With the rosters set after a controversial draft, let’s dive into our predictions for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.
NBA All-Star Game predictions: Picks for top stats
Total Alley Oops: 20
A showcase of the NBA’s top playmakers will generate plenty of highlights, but it is not uncommon to see a barrage of turnovers as players attempt incredible dunks to delight fans. With that being said, there are some young talented high risers in this year’s game including Zion Williamson, Zach Lavine, and Donovan Mitchell. There also some great passers in Chris Paul, Ben Simmons, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, and LeBron James that will be looking to throw a highlight-reel, alley-oop pass to one of these great finishers. All in all, 20 successful alley-oops are the target to look out for in the game.
Total Dunks: 40
As previously mentioned, this year’s NBA All-Star Game is filled with some of the league’s best dunkers. Adding to the fact that some of those players are first-time All-Stars, there is potential for the dunk numbers to be high in this year’s game. Given all of the talent and lack of defense, 40 dunks is a safe bet to make for this year’s game.
Total Three-Pointers Made: 45
At last season’s All-Star Game, both teams combined for 35 three-pointers made. That is a significant drop from the 62 combined makes in the 2019 All-Star Game. The new format is a reason for the drop, with players treating the game more seriously than in previous years since they are playing for charity. That trend will continue will three-point attempt numbers hovering around 110-125 with the number of made threes reaching 45.
Who will make the game-winning bucket?: Bradley Beal
The NBA All-Star Game received an overhaul in 2020, with the fourth quarter being untimed and both teams needing a specific number of points or to win by two for the game to be complete. This means that a game-winning shot is needed to guarantee victory for one of the teams. With that in mind, nothing would be more poetic than for the man who was snubbed from last year’s All-Star Game to make the basket to secure the win for his team.
Last season, Bradley Beal averaged 30 points per game but did not make the All-Star Game giving him the highest-scoring season for a player that did not make the All-Star team. Bradley Beal will surely look to prove why he should not be overlooked any longer by putting on a great performance in the game and ending it with a game-winning bucket.
NBA All-Star Game top scorer: Giannis Antetokounmpo
No active player takes the NBA-All-Star Game more seriously than Giannis Antetokounmpo. Making plays on both ends of the floor, attacking the basket, running from end to end, Giannis plays like every second counts. That trend will continue, with the possibility for a 40-point showing, as the game’s top scorer. While it might not be good enough for his team to win, it highlights why he is the two-time reigning MVP of the league.
NBA All-Star Game winner: Team Kevin Durant
In 2018, the NBA changed the All-Star format from East vs West to the top vote-getters for each conference becoming captains and drafting their teams. LeBron James has been a captain ever since and his teams are undefeated. While LeBron has a very talented team going into this contest, he may be outmatched. Kevin Durant hand-picked a squad filled with great shooting, athleticism and youth. Durant drafted 75% of the first-time All-Stars and each player will look to make an impact in their debut on this big stage. Even with Durant sitting out, he drafted a great enough team that will allow him to get the win.
NBA All-Star Game MVP: Kyrie Irving
Last season, Kyrie Irving did not make the All-Star team due to injuries. Now healthy, he will be motivated to win the MVP honor named after his mentor, the late Kobe Bryant. Fueled by this, Kyrie is sure to put on a spectacular show with 30-plus points and 10 assists to earn the MVP award. Expect his acceptance speech to honor Kobe’s memory, a man that meant so much to him on and off the court.