It’s NBA All-Star Weekend!
More than just a break for the Toronto Raptors, it’s an opportunity for the organization’s best to represent the franchise on a wide, international stage. It’s not as big as last year, of course, when the city of Toronto hosted a wildly successful instalment of the annual showcase, but it’s a nice opportunity for a few of the Raptors’ best to show their stuff.
Here’s a quick look at each of the weekend’s events, and the Raptors content involved with each.
Celebrity Game, 7, ESPN: Kyle Lowry will be an assistant coach under Jemele Hill for the East celebrities. Opposite Lowry on the West celebrity team will be former Raptor tryout Master P, DeMar DeRozan’s USC legacy mate Romeo Miller, and Candace Parker. You can check out the full rosters here.
Rookie-Sophomore Game, 9, TNT/TSN: The Raptors have no representatives as the best first- and second-year players represent the U.S. and the World.
D-League All-Star Game, 2:30, NBA TV: Raptors 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse and staff will coach the Eastern Conference, led by 905 center Edy Tavares and call-up replacement Axel Toupane. The 3-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest take place at halftime of the game, and while Brady Heslip declined a 3-point invite, John Jordan will defend his dunk title.
All-Star Saturday Night, 8, TNT/TSN: The crown jewel of the weekend was unbelievable last year thanks to the introduction of bigs in the skills challenge and one of the greatest dunk-offs of all-time. It will be tough to replicate that this year, but last year’s runner-up Aaron Gordon will do his best against an exciting field that includes Derrick Jones Jr., Glenn Robinson, and DeAndre Jordan. The skills challenge is kind of just whatever, but the idea of Nikola Jokic taking two hours to complete the course but doing every element perfectly is enticing. And, of course, there’s some Raptors content.
According to My Top Sportsbooks, you can count on Kyle Lowry to be heavy competition for Klay Thompson during the 3-Point Shootout.
Thompson is the favorite at 5:2 odds, but Lowry comes in third at 6:1, and he’d probably be even higher if pull-up 30-footers were allowed in transition. Kyrie Irving, C.J. McCollum, Swaggy P, and more fill out the field
All-Star Game, 8, TNT/Sportsnet: Lowry and DeMar DeRozan suit up for the East, with Lowry threatening to take “17 threes” instead of dunking this year (he also requested his locker be placed far from DeRozan’s). The East squad are a slight underdog, but maybe DeRozan will cook as a starter the way he so often has in the first quarter for Raptors. Carmelo Anthony, not Delon Wright, is replacing Kevin Love on the East squad, by the way.
We’ll have coverage of the Raptors-related events throughout the weekend.