Thoughts On The 2022 3-Point Contest Participants, Skills Challenge Participants, and Catching Up on Recent NBA News
February 8th, 2022
By Alan Lu
Today, the Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest and the Taco Bell Skills Challenge participants and teams were released for the 2022 NBA All-Star festivities. Here are my thoughts on the participants for those two events. Also, my thoughts on recent NBA trades and the NBA’s top 15 greatest coaches list are below in the article.
The Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest
This is a pretty well-rounded field that features a really talented group of shooters, headlined by four 2022 NBA All-Stars in Trae Young, Karl-Anthony Towns, Fred VanVleet, and Zach LaVine. Zach LaVine has won the dunk contest before, so he’s hoping to be the first to win both an NBA dunk contest and the three-point contest, but it’s going to be a very competitive, wide-open field, especially since neither Stephen Curry nor Klay Thompson will participate this year.
There are several other sleeper picks, as Luke Kennard helped punctuate the comeback of the year, as the Clippers came back down 35 to defeat the Washington Wizards, and both Patty Mills and Desmond Bane are very good, high-percentage shooters. C.J. McCollum is a former NBA All-Star that can shoot the ball really well when he’s healthy, and he just got traded to the New Orleans Pelicans today. With that said, I’m pretty sure Dame is going to miss C.J. pretty badly.
There is no heavy favorite to bet on, but I’d imagine plenty of people will be betting on Atlanta Hawks’ superstar guard, Trae Young to win this competition, as he’s a superbly talented, shoot-first point guard that may remind NBA fans of a young, Stephen Curry. Then again, Karl-Anthony Towns also may be another favorite to win, as he is one of the best shooting big men of all-time. There are no bad participants in this field, and all of them are talented enough to win the 3-Point contest this year.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
They seemed like they have changed the format, but we don’t exactly know how. It may not be for the better, as we may be not getting a high quality field of participants, but we are getting Giannis to participate as a member of the Antetokounmpos. The big change is that is a team event, as the Antetokounmpos will face off against the Cavs and the Rooks. The Rooks look to be a team of big, tall, ball-handling playmakers, and the Cavs seem like they sent their players to this event.
It is still an interesting group of rookies on the rookies part, as they have Scottie Barnes, Cade Cunningham, and Josh Giddey that will participate. The inclusion of Jarrett Allen for the Cavs in this event is a bit unusual, because although he’s a good NBA player, he’s not really known for shooting, passing, or ball handling. The inclusion of the other two Antetokounmpos (Alex and Thanasis) is also kind of odd, because they haven’t established themselves as skilled or marquee NBA players, and Alex Antetokounmpo is technically not an NBA player right now. That said, it is a fairly even field in terms of betting, with Giannis being clearly the best player in this event, but the Rooks look to be the most balanced team there, and I can see the Rooks edge out the Cavs and the Antetokounmpos to win this event.
Some Thoughts on Trades:
It was surprising to me that C.J. McCollum was traded by the Portland Trail Blazers, considering that he was injured for a good portion of the season and is just coming back. It’s even more surprising that the Portland Trail Blazers did not take back a star player in return, though they will get back a 2022 protected first-round pick. It looks like a salary-dump move on Portland’s end, although perhaps they trying to bottom out so that they can try to get a high draft pick in 2022, and also maybe have cap space for free agency at the end of this season. For New Orleans, they get a shot-creating guard in C.J. McCollum, though it does seem to be a bit of a short-sighted move, because it appears as though they are trying to go all in for a spot in the play-in tournament.
Of all the moves Portland’s made recently, it seems that they will have to hope that Keon Johnson will pay significant dividends for them, especially since they traded away Norman Powell to the Clippers awhile back. In Portland’s trade with the Clippers, it looks to be a good one for the Clippers, since the Clippers didn’t have to give up a whole lot, and the Clippers also managed to get Robert Covington. It still looks to be a salary dump move on Portland’s end though, and the Blazers dealt away several solid players to get a couple of players who haven’t shot the ball well, and that Portland didn’t even take back a first round pick in the Powell trade is even more baffling.
The Indiana Pacers received a great piece by acquiring Tyrese Haliburton, who is a young, do-it all guard that has been very good in his young NBA career. For the Sacramento Kings, though they received a good player in acquiring former All-Star center Domantas Sabonis, it’s a head scratching move, because it is strange that they are seemingly going all in for a spot in the play-in tournament. Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox don’t seem to be a great fit for each other, because although both are very good players, neither one of them is a great shooter, and both of them need the paint to operate and score.
The NBA’s 15 Greatest Coaches List:
The NBA released their greatest coaches list, and it’s hard to argue otherwise for most of the coaches on that list, because they are some of the most iconic coaches in the league. There were some coaches that did get left off. Rudy Tomjanovich won 2 NBA titles back in the mid-‘90s in 1994 and 1995 with Hakeem Olajuwon, and maybe he should’ve obtained a spot on that list, maybe for Doc Rivers. For Doc Rivers, though he’s won one title with the 2008 Boston Celtics as well as many regular season games, he’s also known for blowing a lot of 3-1 and 3-2 series leads in the playoffs. If Rick Carlisle isn’t on the list for having defeated LeBron and Dwyane Wade‘s 2011 Miami Heat team in the 2011 NBA Finals with the 2011 Dallas Mavericks, then maybe Doc Rivers shouldn’t be on the greatest coaches list, either. Also, I’m sure some Philly fans are probably still mad at Doc for having lost their 2nd round series to the Atlanta Hawks, and Rivers’ post-series playoff comments about Ben Simmons may be partly why Simmons is still holding out today.
Well, those are all my thoughts for now, and the 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend should be an exciting one, so I can’t wait for that. Hope you enjoyed the article, and thanks for reading.