If you’re a basketball purist, then the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game may not be for you. For every Arne Duncan, the former United States Secretary of Education who played basketball at Harvard and dominated this game, you have five celebrities who struggle.
But if you just want to sit and be entertained, then perhaps the game is for you. It’s always interesting to see how certain celebrities may fare. Can they actually play, or are they going to go 2-for-14 with six turnovers?
This year’s rosters bring a host of successful returning players as well as some newcomers. Here’s a look at those as well as the top three MVP candidates and a score pick for Friday’s game, which takes place at 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.
The player pool is split into “Team Clippers” and “Team Lakers” this year as the league pays tribute to the two NBA teams that play in Los Angeles (the host of the 2018 All-Star Weekend):
2018 NBA All-Star @NBAAllStar
#TeamClippers in the #NBAAllStar #RufflesCelebGame!
@common (player/coach) https://t.co/08RwqwQerG
A note before beginning: Although current and former WNBA and NBA pros have played in this game (and will take part in this year’s version), none have ever won the MVP trophy.
Ultimately, it’s hard to fathom any of the pros going 100 percent (they seemingly never do). If they did, it would defeat the purpose of the contest, as we would just watch Tracy McGrady or Nate Robinson drive to the lane, score every time and finish with 50 points.
Therefore, any pro primarily known for his or her pro basketball career is eliminated from contention.
3. Drew Scott
The Property Brothers co-star stuffed the stat sheet in a short amount of time in 2016, scoring five points, grabbing six rebounds, forcing two turnovers and dishing two assists in just 8:31.
If he’s given more time, Scott could do well. In a 2016 interview with GQ, Scott talked about his high school-basketball career and practicing four to five hours per day. The 6’4″ Scott also claimed to have a 43-inch vertical at one point.
We’ll see if he gets more playing time this year. If so, he could be the MVP.
2. Brandon Armstrong
Primarily known for his impersonations of NBA players, Brandon Armstrong dominated last year when he scored 16 points and snared 15 rebounds to earn the MVP trophy.
Armstrong has more basketball experience than any player on either Celebrity Game roster who didn’t play in the WNBA or NBA. As Sean Gentille of Sporting News noted, Armstrong played four years of college ball at Lincoln Memorial University before playing professionally in the D-League and Spain.
That certainly showed last year as Armstrong had no problems dominating en route to an easy victory. We could see more of the same this year.
1. Win Butler
The lead singer of Arcade Fire is more or less the Andre Drummond of this game.
His first go-around was in 2015, which led to eight points and 12 rebounds. In 2016, he scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds en route to winning the MVP award. Last year, he had 22 points and 11 boards.
Butler has averaged 15.0 points and 12.3 boards per game in this contest, and his teams are a perfect 3-0. There’s no reason to bet against him having another good night.
Final Score Prediction
The deadly duo of Armstrong and Butler find themselves on the same team (the Clippers) once again. Last time, it resulted in the biggest blowout in Celebrity All-Star Game history, as the East beat the West 88-59.
It’s hard seeing them lose. Butler is a beast on the glass, and Armstrong can drive through the lane and finish with ease.
The case against them winning is simple: Tracy McGrady, the superstar pro on the Lakers’ side. Usually the pros don’t go hard in these games, as they settle for long jumpers and more or less stay passive.
However, T-Mac exerted a bit more energy than the usual pro when he had a near triple-double with 18 points, 14 boards and seven assists to help lead Team Canada to a win in 2016.
On paper, the Clippers’ side clearly has the better celebrity crew, so one has to wonder if McGrady does a little extra to keep the Lakers in the game. It will also be interesting to see if Scott gets more opportunities in this contest.
Expect this game to be much closer than last year, but the edge goes to Butler and Armstrong winning once again.
Pick: Clippers 72, Lakers 66
via Bleacher Report – NBA http://ift.tt/yO6Sgr
February 15, 2018 at 08:58AM