After what seems like months of anticipation, All-Star weekend is finally upon us! And the best news is that Dejounte Murray has finally received his due and will rub shoulders with the greatest players in the world.
Here’s a brief rundown of the schedule for the weekend (all listed in Eastern Time):
Friday Feb, 18:
- 7 PM: All-Star Celebrity Game
- 9 PM: Rising Stars Game
Saturday Feb, 19:
- 11 AM: All-Star practice
- 2 PM: NBA x HBCU Classic
- 8 PM: All-Star Contests (Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest, Dunk Contest)
Sunday Feb, 20:
- 12 PM: Legends Awards
- 2 PM: G-League Next Gem Game
- 8 PM: 71st NBA All-Star Game
With that out of the way, let’s get into some recent news and things to watch out for during the All-Star festivities.
(Spurs) Dejounte Murray 63pts, 27asists, 17rebs and 6stls in the last two games. Amazing b2b performances!— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) February 13, 2022
Dejounte Murray last 6 games:— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 17, 2022
8 turnovers pic.twitter.com/75BXOZ8hg9
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Dejounte’s really made a leap in terms of playmaking this year. Before the season started, I was skeptical about his ability to run a passable offense, but his play has blown all my previous expectations out of the water.
On a true championship-level team, I still think that DJ is better suited to be a secondary ball-handler and playmaker, but he’s proven capable of being a decent floor raiser on a team without much elite talent (yet) surrounding him.
The next step for him is now to become a more efficient scorer; DJ’s true shooting percentage is still only 51.9%, which is about 4% lower than the league average. Of course, his numbers are lower since opposing defenses focus most of their attention on him, but it still shows that he’s not capable of being the primary scorer on a truly elite team.
The good news is that DJ doesn’t completely overhaul his playstyle in order to improve. Players such as Devin Booker and Chris Paul have shown that it’s possible to be an elite creator while relying mostly on the mid-range, but the difference between them and DJ is that the latter doesn’t get to the rim often.
According to Cleaning the Glass, DJ’s taking 28% of his shots within four feet of the basket, which is slightly above average for his position. He’s converting them at a stellar 64% clip, ranking in the 74th percentile, so taking more shots around the basket will naturally increase his efficiency.
If DJ can attack the basket more and improve his true shooting percentage to league average, then we’ll be looking at a bonafied All-Star calibre player rather than one who’s currently on the fringes.
Best long-distance shooters
Officiel : les 8 participants du Three Point Contest 2022 ! pic.twitter.com/Pf73F292LC— TrashTalk (@TrashTalk_fr) February 9, 2022
GOOD ON YA, PATTY! Even though he’s not with the Spurs anymore, we’ll all still be cheering for our Aussie, right??
If I had to pick a winner, though, my money’s on Kennard. He’s one of the best pure shooters in the league (duh) and I think he’s going to shine in a competitive setting and catch fire from deep.
BREAKING: Skills challenge contestants pic.twitter.com/dotocVxN4s— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) February 9, 2022
Whoever came up with these teams deserves a massive raise. I mean, who doesn’t want to see the Antetokounmpo brothers team up?? Or how about the Cavs Big Three, who might be the most unorthodox but fun trio in the entire league right now?
And I haven’t even mentioned the three rookies, who all possess special playmaking abilities from one of the best draft classes in recent memory.
This skills challenge might just be one for the ages, folks.
The dunk contest is set— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 9, 2022
Who you got? pic.twitter.com/zAqBt88bpr
This one has got to Jalen Green, right? The kid’s got the youthful bounce (he just turned 20!) and unbridled confidence to pull off some absolutely ridiculous dunks. I’ll be rooting for Cole Anthony though, just because I love seeing shorter guys show off their hops and stun the entire audience.
Best All-Star draft moment
You know it’s bad when someone chooses Rudy Gobert over you... in an All-Star setting, that is.
Seriously, Gobert has to be the least exciting player to be featured in an All-Star game, right? The guy’s an unbelievable talent (he’s a top 20 player and more important to the Jazz than Mitchell) but all he does is stand around the basket and dunk.
Maybe he’ll be telling Mitchell to copy Devin Booker’s defensive intensity during live play?
Anyway, KD deciding to not choose Harden after the latter was traded just a few hours earlier has to be peak pettiness, and it’s the type of stuff you’d only see in the NBA.
Like I said last week folks, the league’s just a soap opera for grown men.
Best of Chuck being Chuck
This week, I’d like to highlight Professor Pittsley’s fantastic work over at the Professor’s Corner. I mean, did anyone realize that Big Body’s shooting over 43% from three?? I knew his accuracy took a jump, but never thought it was that massive. Check out the article and give the prof some love!
In the meantime, enjoy All-Star weekend! I’m sure there are going to be plenty of highlights that can be included here next week.
As always, thanks for reading!