Preview and predictions for the dunk contest and other NBA All-Star events

The 2021 NBA All-Star Game is happening even after several superstars including LeBron James voiced their opposition to holding the game amid a global pandemic. Instead of a full weekend of parties and events, the NBA has decided to cram everything into Sunday night. That includes the dunk contest, three-point contest, and skills challenge.

The NBA tried to get Zion Williamson for the dunk contest and LaMelo Ball for the skills challenge, but both players turned down the invite. The league couldn’t even land Alex Caruso for the dunk contest. While some of the excitement for the events that are typically held on All-Star Saturday will be diminished with a compromised field and few fans in the stands, there’s still the potential for some fun moments that are made for TV.

The 2021 NBA All-Star Game is happening on Sunday, March 7 in Atlanta. The skills challenge and three-point contest will be held before the game, beginning around 6:30 p.m. ET. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 8 p.m., with the dunk contest to be held during halftime.

Here’s a preview of the events you’ll see before the during the All-Star Game.

2021 NBA dunk contest predictions, preview, and time

Here’s the field for the 2021 dunk contest, which will start at halftime of the 2021 NBA All-Star Game on TNT.

  • Obi Toppin, F, New York Knicks: Toppin won the Naismith Award as the top player in college basketball last year at Dayton before being drafted No. 8 overall by the Knicks. The 6’9 big man has had a slow start to his rookie year, but was known for his high-flying rim attacks in college.

  • Anfernee Simons, G, Portland Trail Blazers: Simons is in his third season with the Blazers after jumping from high school to the NBA as a fifth-year senior at IMG Academy. The 6’3 guard only has two dunks this season, per Basketball Reference, and has typically been known more as a microwave scorer than as a dunker. Here’s a compilation of some Simons dunks that have been shared on social media. He can get up.

  • Cassius Stanley, G, Indiana Pacers: Stanley was a five-star recruit and one-and-done freshman at Duke last season who was drafted No. 54 overall by the Pacers. He’s spent most of this season in the G League bubble. Here is a compilation of his best dunks at Duke.

2021 NBA dunk contest predictions

Cassius Stanley is our pick to win the dunk contest. The 6’5 guard reportedly broke Williamson’s school record for max vertical jump at Duke, and hit 44 inches at the draft combine.

This man can do some absolutely sick stuff. Stanley might not be a big name yet, but he can put on a show.

2021 NBA three-point contest predictions, preview, and time

The three-point contest will be held on Sunday, March 7 at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT. Here’s a look at the field.

  • Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors: The greatest shooter ever — needs no other introduction. The 32-year-old is making 41 percent of his threes on 11.7 attempts per game this season at time of publication.
  • Jaylen Brown, F, Boston Celtics: Brown was made an All-Star for this first time in his fifth season in the league. The 6’7 wing is making 38 percent of his threes on six attempts per game.
  • Jayson Tatum, F, Boston Celtics: The 23-year-old is making his second All-Star appearance in his fourth season. His three-point numbers have slightly dipped this season, but he’s still making a respectable 37 percent on seven attempts per game.
  • Devin Booker, G, Phoenix Suns: Booker is in the All-Star Game for the second straight year. The 24-year-old guard is shooting 36 precent on more than five attempts per game.
  • Zach LaVine, G, Chicago Bulls: The 26-year-old guard is making his first All-Star appearance in his seventh season. He’s shooting 43.3 percent from three-point range on 8.1 attempts per game.
  • Donovan Mitchell, G, Utah Jazz: The 24-year-old guard is making his second All-Star appearance. He’s making 38 percent of 8.6 attempts per game from three.

What are the three-point contest rules?

Each competitor will have 70 seconds to attempt of maximum of 27 shots on five racks placed around the arc. Every shot is worth one point, unless it’s a “money ball” which is worth two points. Four of the racks have one “money ball” on them, and the fifth rack is only made up of money balls.

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. The maximum score for one round is 40 points.

2021 NBA three-point contest predictions

We’ll pick Devin Booker as the winner. Booker won this event in 2018 and finished second to Buddy Hield last year when the Kings guard made the final shot to win the competition.

2021 NBA skills contest predictions, preview, and time

The skills challenge will also be held before the All-Star Game, starting at approximately 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. Here’s the field:

  • Robert Covington, F, Portland Trail Blazers: The 6’7 forward is usually known for versatile defense and spot-up shooting ability. He’s the only HBCU alumnus (Tennessee State) competing this weekend. The 2021 NBA All-Star Game will raise $3 million HBCUs.
  • Luka Doncic, G, Dallas Mavericks: The 6’7 guard will be a starter in the All-Star Game and is already one of the best players in the league at 22 years old.
  • Chris Paul, G, Phoenix Suns: The 6-foot guard will be making All-Star appearance No. 11 at 35 years old.
  • Julius Randle, F, New York Knicks: The 6’8, 250-pound power forward is making his first All-Star appearance this season.
  • Domantas Sabonis, F, Indiana Pacers: The 6’11 big man made his second straight All-Star team and is quickly becoming one of the league’s toughest interior players.
  • Nikola Vucevic, C, Orlando Magic: A first time All-Star, Vucevic has remade his game from bruising low post center to three-point threat for Orlando.

We’ll pick CP3 to win, but it would be fun to see one of the big men win it.

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