Five Things we Learnt from All-Star Weekend 2014

Kyrie Irving All Star

So, the festivities are over, we’ve seen dunks, passes, sharpshooting and half-court shots, the East came out victorious in what was a tight Sunday night All-Star game, but what have we learnt from the weekend as a whole?

We take a look now and give our judgement on whether the All-Star break was a barrage of entertainment or a bit of a so-so couple of days off.

#1 Chris Bosh Should Shoot more Half-Court Shots

We had favoured Kevin Durant’s team in the Sear’s Shooting Stars contest, and we thought we were on to a winner when KD pulled up Chris Bosh’s team in the final.

But Bosh, who won the same event last year went 100% from half-court, nailing two of two through the event, winning his team the top-spot in the challenge, and it got us thinking…

Why doesn’t he just pull up from that distance in games if he’s so damn good at it!? We have to give props to Bosh here, he put up a legit performance to win this event yet again.

#2 Tim Hardaway Jr. can Ball

When most people heard that Tim Hardaway Jr. was going to feature in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars challenge, they shrugged their shoulders and said he won’t amount to much in the game, and that Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard were more likely to show out.

But Hardaway put on a clinic from top to bottom, hitting shots from completely different area codes and going toe to toe with Dion Waiters, who also played extremely well.

It was truly a astonishing game to watch when those to were in the thick of playing what ended up being a pretty impressive game of one-on-one.

He may not have done so well in the Shooting Stars challenge, but if Hardawy Jr. balls like he did in the Rising Stars game at MSG, he could well become a fan favourite in the Big Apple.

#3 Players Should try and Compete more

It was slightly disappointing to see players like Reggie Jackson coast his way through the Taco Bell Skills Challenge on the Saturday night.

Plenty of players would be honoured to be selected for the event, and would do their utmost to win the trophy, we bet some players would be outright upset if they didn’t.

But Jackson, along with some other players through the weekend didn’t seem to try, and just went at 50% through the entire thing, costing himself, and his teammate a shot at the trophy.

Jackson is normally a hard worker, but even if this is a weekend ‘off’ so to speak, he should still be aiming to give the fans a show, instead of trying to look cool in front of a bunch of celebrities.

#4 The Dunk Contest Needs More Energy

We actually quite liked the new Kia Slam Dunk Contest’s format, despite mixed reviews on social media, we liked the way it brought, or aimed to bring more energy into the competition.

We saw some OK dunks, but players like Lillard and Wall were doing their utmost to excite the fans, whilst other players were seemingly struggling.

We saw some pretty interesting tweets and statuses, with some fans going as far as saying ‘I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a dunk contest’. It’s a pretty damning verdict.

Gone are the days of ‘Nique vs Jordan, where we’d see the Hawks legend try and rip the rim down every time he went up, offering genuine entertainment.

The NBA D League contest was arguably better than the NBA’s effort, and has been for the past few years, even YouTube clips offer more astounding efforts nowadays.

Players need to bring that viciousness and animosity that we saw in the past back to the contest, otherwise we’ll continue to have an anti-climatic event each February.

#5 The East Wanted to Win More…

It was an interesting point that the TNT telecasters picked up on toward the end of the All-Star game on Sunday night, every Eastern Conference player was up swinging towels, doing their best Kent Bazemore impressions, toward the end of the game when the East were pulling out the win.

One glance at the Western Conference bench though, and all you could see was players doing their best Chris Kaman impressions from a few weeks ago, looking like they were ready for a nap.

Now although the game doesn’t mean much, surely your competitive spirit and nature kicks in? Even when we play ball, albeit at a low level, we want to win every game we play, be it a one-on-one at the park or a local league game, but the West clearly didn’t have that fire.

This may be down to the coaching or the rotation, but again this weekend is primarily for the fans, and fans don’t want to see players looking bored at the NBA’s staple event.

All in all, we always have, and always will love the NBA All-Star Weekend, but it needs to fix up if it is planning on drawing in more and more fans.

More energy is a necessity, and if we get that energy we could well be looking forward to the weekend more than we have been over the past decade or so…

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Luke Hatfield is the creator and editor of BouncyOrangeBall, with an extensive knowledge of the NBA and basketball in general.

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