NBA All-Star Weekend 2024: Shai, the king of consistency and possible solutions to the game

Despite not winning the All-Star Game MVP, Shai exploded for 31 points, shooting 7/10 from three and 75% overall. (Darron Cummings/AP Photo)

The 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend wrapped in Indianapolis on Sunday, disappointing many fans with star players’ lack of effort throughout the weekend. 

However, younger players often have something to prove and typically sweat. This year, the NBA’s best rookies and sophomores competed in a Rising Stars tournament consisting of four teams. 

Solutions to the All-Star Game have been suggested, such as: a 1v1 players’ tournament, a cash prize for the winners, winning conference gets home court advantage during the NBA Finals and some X users even joked on the platform, “the only way to fix the All Star game is to leak the losing team’s Instagram DMs.”

Three young Thunder stars, Chet Holmgren, Cason Wallace and Jalen Williams all played in the Rising Stars tournament, including the NBA’s best rookies and sophomores. 

The Thunder’s JDub and Chet started off slow in the first round, trailing 0-9 after a couple turnovers for Team Jalen. They quickly surged back into the game after a timeout and advanced to the finals of the Rising Stars tournament. 

Shockingly in the first round, Team Detlef consisting of only G League players upset Team Pau led by the 7 ‘5 Victor Wembenyama and OKC’s Wallace. 

In the final matchup of the Rising Stars tournament, Team Jalen defeated the G Leaguers on Team Detlef. JDub, Holmgren and the rest of the Team Jalen hoisted up their 2024 Rising Stars trophy. Although two thirds of the Thunder players featured won the game, Indiana Pacers sophomore Benedict Mathurin walked away with the Rising Stars MVP trophy after showing out for the home crowd in Indianapolis.

The Kia Skills Challenge on Saturday night made it the third year in a row where the competition is made up of different teams. Team Pacers took home the victory for their hometown crowd, defeating Wembanyama and Team Top [draft] Picks, as well as Team All-Stars including Oklahoma’s Trae Young, Tyrese Maxey and Scottie Barnes. 

Damian Lillard became the back-to-back 3-Point contest champion on Saturday, defeating Karl Anthony Towns, Trae Young, Tyrese Halliburton and more stars. Thunder fans aren’t happy though, as they believe the 42.7% three point shooter, Thunder guard Isaiah Joe, deserved to participate and have a shot of winning. 

NBA All-Star weekend hosted a new event following the 3-point contest, another 3-point contest between the Warriors’ Stephen Curry and WNBA star for the NY Liberty, Sabrina Ionescu. Steph showed once again that he is still the best shooter of all time, but Sabrina put up more threes than most NBA players in the first round of the 3-point contest. 

“If you can shoot, you can shoot,” Ionescu said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or boy.”

Although the highest paid player in the NBA, Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics entered the dunk contest, fans were once again let down. The only star in the dunk contest had some nice dunks, like jumping over streamer Kai Cenat as a tribute to the late Kentucky hooper, Terrence Clark. It wasn’t enough though, as G Leaguer Mac McClung won the dunk contest again this year. Two years in a row an NBA player hasn’t won the dunk contest now. There must be some way to improve the dunk contest, perhaps NBA dunkers versus YouTube dunkers? 

The final day of All Star Weekend ended with Team LeBron, consisting of the Western Conference all stars, losing despite having one of the most stacked ASG rosters in recent years. The younger Team Giannis Eastern Conference all stars had more fire in the belly and ended up winning 211-186. This is the first time in 73 years of All Star games that a team has scored over 200 points. After finishing with a couple half court shots and 39 points, three-point contest champion Damian Lillard also walked away with the newly-renamed Kobe Bryant MVP Award. Thunder superstar and the  #2 player in the MVP rankings, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the king of consistency, put up 31 points on 75% shooting. 

Although the game was the highest scoring ever, fans were disappointed in the game and the lack of effort put forth by the players. 

Kobe Bryant said before his death, “the All Star Game needs revamping. It used to be competitive, fans want to see the best pickup game in the world, they don’t wanna see you running up and down dunking [with no defense].”

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